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John P. Willis

Opinions presented here are held in all of my roles and capacities, both personal and professional.


Politics: Leftist (AnCom)
Religion: Militantly Atheist
Occupation: Software Engineer
Preferences: View

Social Networking



The GNU Project
The Free Software Foundation
American Civil Liberties Union

Computers & Programming

Programming Languages I Know
Greatest Common Divisor in 19 Languages
Microcomputer OS History
UNIX Tricks
The Datashed (personal datacenter)
Computer Collection
ChivaNet Internet Services
The VAX Pirate's Lair (my old website, ca. 2002)
YOUNGMUMPSTER (my tech blog)
GCC OS Test Macros


Genealogy Home
English Notable Kin
Scottish Notable Kin


Telephones & PBX

Other Sites


Geek Code

Version: 3.1
GCS/E/G/H/IT/L/MU/P/SS d-- s+: a+ C++++ UBLAVHS++++$ P+ L++ E++ W+++$ N+ o? 
K- w++ O+++ M V+++>$ PS+++ PE-- Y+ !PGP t+++ !5 !X R tv b+++ DI++ D--- G e 
h---- r+++ x++++

Site Info

This site is hosted on a Sun SPARCserver 20 running Apache 2.2, Perl 5, and a home-built CMS.

RSS feed generation is done with a BASH script I have implemented, called Syndicator.

This site contains no JavaScript, no CSS, and should render in any HTML 2.0-compliant browser.

Project: Working on the FreeM MUMPS implementation, building worker/tenant cooperatives around free software. Plan: The best-laid plans...
Meaningful and lasting social equity can only be expected when the output of a society's economic production, under democratic institutional systems of unassailable moral pulchritude, is rendered subordinate to the needs of a classless people. For where the excesses of private production are lavished upon its indolent masters, the game is pitched, its winners, predestined, and its outcome, oppression.


Minor Site Facelift

3 Sep 2019

This site has undergone a minor facelift, with the addition of a sidebar that should be accessible from any page. Please contact me if it misbehaves, or is missing from any page you might access.

RSS Feed Now Available

30 Aug 2019

We now have an RSS feed to which you may subscribe with any feed aggregator or reader application. I recommend Akgregator, part of the Trinity Desktop Environment, which itself is a fork of KDE 3.5.

New Content Added

10 Sep 2019

Also, a section on U.S.-backed regime change has been added to the Politics page.


Italian Cuisine & Trailer Parks

30 Aug 2021

Q: What kind of food is preferred by Italian trailer park residents?
A: NASCARpone.

In The News

The mainstream news media is owned and financed by the same plutocrats who run the U.S. to suit their own private agenda of greed and wealth hoarding. They engineer the consent of the masses by organizing false debates between two sides that represent their party-line interests. I recommend Democracy Now! for an honest view of current events.

Democracy Under Threat

9 Sep 2019

Four states have moved to cancel the Republican primaries in order to solidify Trump's power base. Warren and Clinton's private meetings are escalating, and Biden is leading in the polls.

Anyone who thinks our democratic institutions are any safer than Europe was in the late 1930s is fooling themselves.

FBI Monitors Non-Violent Immigration Protesters

5 Sep 2019

The FBI is apparently monitoring the social media accounts of nonviolent immigration protesters at the U.S. border, with false claims of the protesters being armed and using "lethal force".

This is just one more instance of civil liberties coming under threat by the Gold-Plated Orange Ego. This should encourage folks to get volunteering, or at least to donate to organizations that are standing up for civil rights. If enough people exert pressure on Washington, they'll have no choice but to assent to their demands.

Remember, the U.S. Consitution guarantees the right to petition the government for redress of grievances.

Greta Thunberg

30 Aug 2019

Greta Thunberg, a young environmental activist, has joined a massive climate protest outside of the United Nations building. It is truly encouraging to see young people organizing for meaningful change.

Emergency Items

Witch Hunt Against RMS

30 Mar 2021

Because the Free Software Foundation has announced Richard M. Stallman's reinstatement to its board, a mob of keyboard warriors has once again resumed and elevated the ill-informed, misguided witch hunt against him and and the foundation, built around baseless and non-factual accusations. I firmly believe that the FSF's voice--as the sole organization effectively articulating the moral and ethical implications of predatory proprietary software licensing practices--is sorely and critically needed, now more than ever. If the foundation is "canceled" as these vile attackers wish, the vacuum left will be filled by self-serving corporate actors whose sole interest in what they call "open source" is to enhance their short-term profits.

We cannot afford this, especially as oppressive corporations are gaining more and more political clout. It is also my belief that Mr. Stallman is being unfairly targeted, and one of my core beliefs is standing in support of the oppressed and fighting even for those whom I don't know.

I have signed the open letter in support of the Free Software Foundation's reinstatement of Mr. Stallman, and if you value free software as more than just a free ride, you should too.

The Amazon is Burning!

03 Sep 2019

As the ongoing climate crisis worsens, far-right Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, supporter of the U.S.-backed 1964-1985 Brazilian military dictatorship, has rolled back environmental protections for the benefit of corporate interests in mass deforestation, generally achieved by immolating large swaths of rainforest.

Indigenous peoples of Brazil who live in affected areas are suffering, as per the usual U.S. foreign policy in Latin America.

I am unsure as to the best course of action for organizing against this atrocity, so if anyone has any ideas, please contact me, and I will post it to this page.

Current Projects

Tech Projects

29 Aug 2021
  • FreeM MUMPS Database and Language
  • Geodigraph Hub (cooperative collaboration tool)
  • The Datashed (Personal Datacenter)
  • RetroNet (secure WAN for retrocomputing enthusiasts)
  • CFMumps (MUMPS binding and database driver for ColdFusion)
  • LorikeeM (GNU Emacs major-mode for MUMPS programming)

I am very interested in building a statement of principles for a new, community-driven Internet. Something along the lines of the GNU philosophy but for interconnected, public-access networks.

Retrocomputing Wishlist

29 Nov 2020

Digital Equipment Corporation

For DEC stuff, I'm mostly on the lookout for a deskside form-factor VAX.

  • MicroVAX II
  • VAX 4000
  • MicroPDP of some variety
  • AlphaServer DS10L

Sun Microsystems

Here, I'm mostly looking for smaller enterprise-level servers.

  • Enterprise 450
  • Sun Fire 3800
  • Sun Fire T2000
  • Sun Blade 2000

Silicon Graphics Inc.

Here, I'm mostly looking for any MIPS-based SGI box to run IRIX 6.5 on.

  • O2
  • Origin 200
  • Indy


14 Jun 2020
  • Building The Technocratican as a multi-media social and political platform
  • Volunteering for left-wing political causes
  • Removing myself from participation in regressive anti-social networks
  • Maintaining this site

Projects I Endorse

Updated As-Needed

30 Aug 2021

Projects/Products To Avoid

Software and Hardware Platforms

6 Sep 2019
  • systemd
  • PulseAudio
  • Wayland
  • Mir
  • InterSystems Cache (or any InterSystems products whatsoever)
  • All Google/Alphabet products (GMail, Maps, Android, etc.), noting that YouTube may be unavoidable as a platform for spreading our message
  • Chiquita produce, as the current incarnation of United Fruit Company, the fascist exploiters of Latin American labor
  • Facebook

Biographical Summary

I am a largely a self-taught computer programmer and systems administrator/systems engineer. My interest in computers began at the age of three, when my father acquired an original IBM PC 5150, on which I spent way too much time playing DONKEY.BAS and MUSIC.BAS. This machine started out with 256KB of RAM and 2x 360KB DSDD floppy drives, and a green-phosphor Zenith composite monitor connected to an original IBM CGA adapter. It was ultimately upgraded to 512KB of RAM and a 30MB Fuji (not Fujitsu) MFM HDD, with a Plantronics-compatible ATi Graphics Solution board. At one point, a few years later, my dad ended up at the Mayo Clinic for an operation. Stuck at home, and trying to cope with the stress and worry, I began reading the PC-DOS 3.21, IBM BASIC, and Technical Reference manuals voraciously.

In 1986, I met L.D. "Gus" Landis, who was a seasoned UNIX and programming guru. His mentoring and influence would, years later, prove instrumental in the development of my career. But, more on that later.

In 1988, my mom's employer, New Mexico State University, opened up Internet access to faculty by way of offering accounts on their IBM mainframe running VM/ESA. Being seven years old, I had no idea what a 3270 terminal emulator was, and used it with ProComm Plus in VT-100 mode. A terrible user experience, but it somehow managed to give me access to e-mail, and, years later, text-mode web access through the Charlotte web browser.

In 1990, my dad replaced his 5150 PC with an NEC PowerMate SX Plus, which was a 16MHz 386SX with 1MB of RAM, an external 1X SCSI CD-ROM drive, a 60MB HardCard, VGA, running MS-DOS 5 and Windows 3.0 (but no mouse until much later). The PC 5150 was given to me, and I began to learn programming in earnest, beginning with DOS batch files, and slowly building enough skills to build BASIC programs in varying degrees of complexity, some having sections of assembly language code produced with DEBUG.COM. WordStar 5.5 (and later 6.0) were my editors of choice.

During this period, I also became involved in the BBS scene. Art Pike's Waterfront West Wildcat BBS was my main hangout.

In 1994, I acquired a machine that was a beast for its era. It was a 90MHz Pentium boasting 16MB of RAM, an NCR 53C810 SCSI HBA, a 1GB Fujitsu M2694ES-512 hard drive, a Toshiba XM3401TA 4X CD-ROM drive, SoundBlaster 16 audio, and a 2MB Diamond Stealth 64 DRAM video board, running first MS-DOS 6.22 and Windows 3.1, later to be upgraded to Windows 95 during the Win95 Public Preview. This machine had Visual Basic 3.0 Pro for Windows and Visual Basic 1.00 Pro for MS-DOS, as well as Visual C++ 1.0 and later 2.0, Borland Delphi, and a host of other tools. During this time, Microsoft employee Chuck Sphar supported my programming ambitions by sending me boxloads of Microsoft dev tools at employee prices. Chuck was heavily involved in the Visual C++ documentation team, as well as writing many books for Microsoft Press on topics including Object Pascal programming on the Macintosh.

In 1996, the 90MHz Pentium box (built by Don Knapp of Zia Computer Systems), was replaced with an IBM Aptiva 2144-A12. Thanks to L.D. Landis, this machine had Slackware Linux 2.3 loaded on it, running the Linux kernel 1.2.8/1.2.13. It also had a partition containing OS/2 Warp v3, and one with Windows 95 (and eventually Windows 98, and then NT Workstation 4.0).

To be continued...

Revision History

$Log: index.shtml,v $
Revision 1.41  2021/08/30 17:17:02  jpw
Performance improvements

Revision 1.40  2021/08/30 16:42:17  jpw
Add humor section

Revision 1.39  2019/09/26 20:20:04  jpw
Fix endorsements section

Revision 1.38  2019/09/14 02:00:02  jpw
Add personal statement

Revision 1.37  2019/09/06 14:01:32  jpw
Complete CMS transition

Revision 1.36  2019/09/05 21:14:02  jpw
begin conversion to CGI scripts for article sections

Revision 1.35  2019/09/05 15:01:56  jpw
Add news about FBI monitoring of immigration protesters

Revision 1.34  2019/09/05 14:15:20  jpw
Fix typos

Revision 1.33  2019/09/05 03:59:37  jpw
Move plan and project below quote

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add plan and project script

Revision 1.31  2019/09/05 03:47:53  jpw
Add quote

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Revision 1.29  2019/09/05 03:44:26  jpw
Minor updates, including non-corporate licensing/OS idea and adding to projects/products to avoid section

Revision 1.28  2019/09/05 00:44:16  jpw
Add license

Revision 1.27  2019/09/03 21:10:05  jpw
Add announcements, emergency items, current projects, etc.

Revision 1.26  2019/09/03 02:56:17  jpw
Re-format home page; implement sidebar

Revision 1.25  2019/08/29 16:14:26  jpw
Add RSS feed

Revision 1.24  2019/08/29 16:03:03  jpw
Fix TITLE tag

Revision 1.23  2019/08/28 22:51:13  jpw
Add link to GCD; add closing tag for HTML

Revision 1.22  2019/07/25 16:51:36  jpw
Add Further Information heading

Revision 1.21  2019/07/25 16:50:09  jpw
Begin work on bio; add Geek Code block.

Revision 1.20  2019/05/29 15:02:49  jpw
Update links

Revision 1.19  2019/05/28 16:53:00  jpw
Add music link

Revision 1.18  2018/05/19 04:22:00  jpw
Fix unclosed PRE tags

Revision 1.17  2018/05/17 14:24:33  jpw
Add revision history

Copyright © 2015 John P. Willis
Last modified $Date: 2021/08/30 17:17:02 $

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.