RFC 1: Remembering A Dear Friend Forever

Author: Robert Miles <khuxkm@tilde.team>


tilde.town member abraxas passed away in a motorcycle accident recently. He shall be missed.


In Sir Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, the clacks are a series of semaphore towers loosely based on the concept of the telegraph. Invented by an artificer named Robert Dearheart, the towers could send messages "at the speed of light" using standardized codes. When Dearheart's son John died due to an accident while working on a clacks tower, Dearheart inserted John's name into the overhead of the clacks with a "GNU" in front of it (meaning, basically, to send it on, unlogged, and turning around at the end of the line) as a way to memorialize his son forever (or for at least as long as the clacks are standing.) (explanation paraphrased and plagiarized from GNU Terry Pratchett)

Sir Terry Pratchett himself passed away a few years ago. To commemorate him on the web, the users of the DiscWorld subreddit came up with the idea of a non-standard HTTP header, X-Clacks-Overhead, which, much like the overhead it simulates, is virtually invisible unless you're working with HTTP and looking at headers.

In this spirit, I propose that we honor our dear friend abraxas, a true townie, through putting GNU ~abraxas in the X-Clacks-Overhead header.

'We keep that name moving in the Overhead,' he said, and it seemed to Princess that the wind in the shutter arrays above her blew more forlornly, and the everlasting clicking of the shutters grew more urgent. 'He'd never have wanted to go home. He was a real linesman. His name is in the code, in the wind in the rigging and the shutters. Haven't you ever heard the saying "A man's not dead while his name is still spoken"?'

-- Sir Terry Pratchett, Going Postal

Procedural Information

Security Considerations

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Configuration Considerations

Conforming tildes must add a configuration block to their web server to serve the message. Examples for most servers can be found here.