Law and Software

Mr. Protocol

[May, 2013] By Andy Bartlett. Filed under: software

Remember Sun Microsystems? I’ll always have fond memories. But not for Solaris, graphics workstations, Java and all the other wonderful work done at Garcia Ave, and then at SunQuentin by the bridge. The fondness comes from the Mr Protocol column in the old Sun Expert magazine. You can find a sample here .

What I loved most about Mike O’Brien’s pseudonymous column is the sheer lack of pretentiousness in his writing. And the line he always ended the author bio with:

Mr. Protocol refuses to divulge his qualifications and may, in fact, have none whatsoever.

And that was what computer science was all about in those days. People came in from all other fields. It was all new. Archaeologists worked with biologists worked with english lit majors worked with young kids not out of high school. You were what you did. Mr Protocol’s column stood on its own. These truths are self-evident. He didn’t need any external reputation, only the reputation of Mr. Protocol. That was the egalitarian dream of the internet and the power of pseudonymity.

Thank you Mr. Protocol.

3 Responses to “Mr. Protocol”

  1. Steven Roberts Says:

    Hi! Followed the trail here from someone who clicked on your link to the Mr. Protocol story about my bike… and I agree! Mike’s writing was delightful, and your characterization is spot-on. It was fun sharing my Unixcycle with him.

    Cheers from way down the road….

  2. Tom Tengdin Says:

    I really enjoyed Mr Protocol in Sun Expert and it was a special treat to host Mr P in DSV2 Alvin.

    Anyone know what Mike is up to these days?

    Tom Tengdin
    Former Alvin Pilot

  3. Craig Anderson Says:

    I come to you from the future, where Mr. Protocol is still venerated.

    I loved Mike O’Brien’s articles. They were always my first stop whenever my copy of SunExpert arrived. I still miss them in this age of vapid click-bait blog “writers”.

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