What are Hermes Sysops? November 1, 2001 ................................................. Several years ago, Oliver Katigbak posted a message on HERMES_SYSOPS in which he asked "What are Hermes sysops?" Although I've updated my response just a tad for this reposting, it went something like this: It's interesting that you should ask this in the HERMES_SYSOPS echo, Oliver, but not surprising since the "Hermes sysop" is rarely sighted these days. Such a creature is a member of a vanishing, but tenacious breed known more generically as a "Mac sysop," itself an obscure offshoot the larger, but also diminishing family that is most commonly labeled "sysop." Probably one of the most distinguishing qualities of any of these creatures is their elusiveness. Rarely sighted, they exist mainly as phantoms, lurking and perhaps even smirking, somewhere in the pre-virtual community of the command line interface and occasionally in a domain known as FidoNet. Even as their numbers have dwindled, a feisty few still persist, but their existance becomes increasingly barren with each passing day. So few outworlders today even possess the knowledge of how to pass through the terminal gateway into their pre-virtual universe that their eventual obscurity is more than virtually assured, it is a certainty. These shapeless, genderless and most often faceless creatures will soon vanish altogether, but perhaps fate has smiled on them nonetheless. Their passing will be a silent and painless one, for even as they wander, their terminals are shrouded in darkness and they still seem unable to read the handwriting on the walls that surround them. So they continue lurking, smirking and occasionally emerging, still mercifully oblivious that reality is encroaching, that it has already enveloped them, and will ultimately swallow completely their shrinking pre-virtual, terminal universe with the elusive command line interface. One day soon as the last one succumbs to time and slips peacefully into the void of the nothing, only their legacy will remain. Believe me, that day is nearer than ever, but the story is not yet over. If you look hard enough you may still detect a few flickering candles in the night. If you're really, really lucky, one of our smiley faces might even yet peer back at you. But hurry. Time is short. Walter Bowen :-)
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