Zen and the art of generosity

Roy Smith roy at alanine.phri.nyu.edu
Fri Mar 6 09:40:25 EST 1992

Carl Fink <CF427620 at LIUVAX.bitnet> writes:
> I'd like to thank the following people for sending me copies of ZEN [...]
> I greatly appreciate it - unlike my sysops, who found some twenty times my
> file allocation sitting on their disk drive last night!

	Which leads me to point out that just sending somebody a large file
by email without discussing it with them first is *extremely* poor form,
for exactly that reason.  We're talking about a file that's about 1/2
Mbyte.  That's rather a lot to be emailing around to begin with, but more
importantly, it would appear that Carl got about a half dozen copies of
this file, only one of which he could use.  The others just wasted network
bandwidth, CPU time, and overloaded mail queue disk space.

	If somebody asks for a file on the net, the proper way to respond
is to write and say "I've got the file, tell me if you want me to send it
to you".  That way, the person looking for the file can sort out the offers
and ask *one* person to send a copy.

	I speak from experience.  Many years ago, I inocently asked
something like "does anybody know where I can get the rn sources" and
discovered the next day that some clown had emailed the whole damn thing to
me without asking.  We ran out of space, and my mailer bounced each of the
many parts back to the sender.  Unfortunately, the return address was bad,
so some other mailer along the return path started bouncing things back the
other way.  This was in the days of UUCP when all this stuff we being
shipped back in forth via long-distance phone calls at 1200 bps.  There
were a lot of angry system administrators up and down the line the next day
as we tried to straighten it all out.
roy at alanine.phri.nyu.edu (Roy Smith)
Public Health Research Institute
455 First Avenue, New York, NY 10016, USA
"Arcane?  Did you say arcane?  It wouldn't be Unix if it wasn't arcane!"

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