Why did we do this?

Well, I can't speak for Paul...I don't even know him....but I did it because - well - it seemed like a good idea at the time, and I didn't want some luser getting to it first and messing the whole thing up!

I may at some point nicely html-ize all of this - hey wait! Someone beat me to it!! HERE is a more nicely formatted version, but without the attributions of who wrote which part. Meanwhile, my original, which does have the attributions, is here:

From hillary@netaxs.com 
Tue Apr  9 07:12:15 1996 Date: Fri, 5 Apr 1996 15:00:09 -0500 (EST)
From: Hillary Gorman 
To: Paul Havemann 
Cc: hillary@izzy.com
Newsgroups: alt.fan.mailer-daemon, alt.sysadmin.recovery
Subject: Re: (fwd) Re: Poe,a Tree

On Fri, 5 Apr 1996, Paul Havemann wrote:
> Hillary Gorman (hillary@netaxs.com) wrote:
> : In article , paul@hshuna.hsh.com (Paul
> : Havemann) wrote:
> : *Once upon a mailer-daemon, while I pondered, like a shaman
> : *Over many a quaint and curious user's guide I'd read before -
> : *Suddenly it was announcing that my email all was bouncing
> : *Messages and files a-bouncing back from foreign and domestic shore.
> : *"Tis some network mess," I muttered, "screwing up that simple chore.
> : *Only this and nothing more."
> : *
> : *Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December...
> : to which i(hillary) am adding:
> : And each separate dying router left its packets on the floor
> : Eagerly I wished the morrow; vainly I had sought to borrow
> : From my books surcease of sorrow, sorrow for the dumping core,
> : For the automated daemon which has started dumping core,
> : Running here forevermore.
> : And the broken sad uncertain sending of each user's message
> : Thrilled me---filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
> : "Tis some network mess obscuring packets from the gateway by the shore,
> : some big network mess obscuring packets from the gateway by the shore,
> : This it is, and nothing more."
> : Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
> : "Mailer-Daemon" said I, "daemon, truly your forgiveness I implore;
> : But the fact is I was napping, and then everything was crapping
> : And so fucked-up was your process that it started dumping core,
> : and I simply couldn't face it," Here I laid down on the floor;---
> : Sendmail crashed, and nothing more.
> (so Paul shot back)
> Deep into that source code peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing,
> Cursing, mouthing words no s.a. ever dared to speak before;
> But the errors were unbroken, and the coding gave no token,
> And the only bug there spoken was the cryptic word, "Lenore!"
> This I debugged, but an ECHO sent me back the word "Lenore!"
> 	Merely this, and nothing more.
> Back into the tech shack turning, all my soul within me burning,
> Soon again I saw mail bouncing, somewhat worse than was before.
> "Surely," said I, "surely that is something in the backbone lattice;
> Let me see then what this '@' is, and this mystery explore -
> Let the goddamned email wait while this damn mystery I explore;
>         'Tis a bug, and nothing more!"

(with SERIOUS liberties taken, I, hillary, continue)

Open here I ripped the casing, when, with many a message racing
In there came a MAILER-DAEMON, bearing munged headers galore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
Just continued bouncing email and then also dumped the core.
Bounced all my debugging test mail and just kept on dumping core.
Bounced, and dumped, and nothing more.

Then this MAILER-D beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of those messages galore,
"Though thy bounces have some reason, surely this is not the season
for some ghastly grim and ancient daemon to be dumping all the core.
Tell me when you will no longer bounce the mail and dump the core."
Quoth the DAEMON, "nevermore."

Much I marvelled this ungainly DAEMON to respond to me so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning, little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing MAILER-DAEMON dumping core,
That he could not stop by hacking sendmail or a little more,
only running "nevermore."

But the DAEMON, bouncing email left and right, spoke only
That one work, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he output; not a packet did he bounce;
Till I scarcely more than typed in: mail -v root@poe.org
Subject: testing
will this work or cause bounce messages galore?
Then the DAEMON said "nevermore."

Startled at the quick return of mail so newly sent
"doubtless," said I "what it utters is its only stock and store,
written by some lamer hacker, who unmercifully attacked here
and has caused the problems I see with the bounces and the core,
and he's amused by saying that the problem with the dumping core
will be solved "nevermore."

(and then jim joined in:)
But the MAILER-D still beguiling all my fancy into smiling
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of console, gdb and and core;
Then upon the vinyl sinking, I betook myself to linking,
Version after version, thinking what this ominous dumping core-
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly gaunt and ominous dumping core
Had to do with that echoed 'Nevermore'

Thus I sat engaged in coding, despite my grim forboding
About the daemon whose cryptic coding still yielded dumping core;
Long I sat debugging, while my coffee I was chugging
O'Reilly tomes I was lugging, reading them with the phosphor gloating o'er
Wondering if these tomes I'd be reading, with the phosphor gloating o'er,
From this day onward, now and evermore!

Then methought the air grew denser, as acrid smoke from an unseen sensor  
Curled up from the CPU, whose fans gently blew it across the floor
Yes, I cried, thy god hath sent thee, hardware problems plenty 
Respite - blessed respite from this daemon's dumping core!
Call service and forget that dumping core!
Still my pager read, 'Nevermore'

Who's next?
me again...

"fsck it!" said I, "thing of evil! --fscking MAILER-D
Whether hacker sent or whether sendmail broke you doesn't matter anymore,
Desolate, yet all undaunted, in this machine room you have landed--
In this hole by horror haunted--tell me truly, I implore:
Is there--is there a patch for sendmail? --tell me--tell me I implore!"
Quoth the DAEMON, "Nevermore."

"AARGH" said I, "thing of evil! --fscking MAILER-D!
By that router upstream of us--by that backbone we adore--
Tell this soul with LARTS aplenty, if, by chance, you will be friendly,
And if you will send my packets soon, or simply dump forevermore,
will you send the fscking mail or will you dump forevermore?
Quoth the DAEMON, "Nevermore."

"You're asking for a LARTING, MAILER-D!" I shrieked,
"Get the goddamned email sent and stop the dumping of the core!
Leave no bounced email as token of the errors you have spoken!
Leave the sendmail.cf unbroken! --quit the dumping of the core!!
Take thy bounces from my inbox, 'cause I can't take anymore!
Quoth the DAEMON, "Nevermore."

And the DAEMON, never stopping, still is dropping, still is dropping
All my email into /dev/null and is STILL dumping the core;
And my eyes have all the seeming of a maniac who's dreaming.
And the m4 scripts I gave it didn't even seem to faze it;
And my login banner says "I know that email has been broken
it will be fixed---nevermore!"
HERE is someone else's take on The Raven.

HERE is hillary's habitrail.