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GNU Terry Pratchett

We were very sad to hear the news of Sir Terry Pratchett’s death. As part of the ongoing ‘GNU Terry Pratchett‘ project, we are offering to add the ‘X-Clacks-Overhead’ header to any of our clients’ websites as a free update.

In the Discworld novel Going Postal, Sir Terry wrote about the death of John Dearheart, an operator of a ‘Clacks’ semaphore tower, and how it was marked by fellow Clacks workers. Dearheart’s name was added to an admin message and sent around the network prefixed with three characters, GNU.

G: send the message on
N: do not log the message
U: turn the message around at the end of the line and send it back again

In this manner the legacy of Dearheart was kept alive by the belief “A man is not dead while his name is still spoken“. Whilst the name of a highly popular author who wrote more than seventy books is unlikely to be forgotten in the immediate future, the GNU project is a light-hearted and fitting tribute.

A free Chrome browser-plugin is available through the Google Webstore which adds a notification icon to the address bar whenever a GNU-supporting website is visited. As well as a large number of personal and small business sites (including our own), many large companies have also joined in and are now using the X-Clacks-Overhead header. These include;

The Guardian
The Register

Further information about the project can be found on the website.

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