[talk] Something Has Happened to TOOOL

George Rosamond george at ceetonetechnology.com
Thu Dec 30 22:09:58 EST 2021

On 12/30/21 21:44, Isaac (.ike) Levy wrote:
> Hi All,
> Many of you know TOOL from numerous conferences, and as a volunteer nonprofit, they recently fell prey to some complicated fraud scheme, described here:
> https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=QOXdU0j2Kpo
> Anyhow, I’ve met Deviant Olaf numerous times over the years- and TOOOL has certainly taught many of us a lot about fundamental security.  And taught our kids.
> First thing: there’s some real lessons we can all take away from their story- lessons for volunteer orgs, lessons for individuals.
> Second thing: They are passing the hat for end of year tax deductible donations, to keep afloat and continue to clean up their fraud mess.  (I personally want to be sure they exist once the pandemic is over :)
> Apologies if any bit of my post seems spammy, but to many here, I know this news is community interest- (family interest, really!)

Interesting.  I was wondering what they were doing even pre-COVID. I 
know one NYC TOOOL person pretty well from past MakerFaires and HOPE.

Haven't watched video yet, but definitely will.

Some of you know my NYC*BUG philosophy that I've pushed... no assets, no 
privileges. The only thing that has "value" is the domain name. 
"Starfish and the spider"...

Our cabinet at NYI is donated by NYI. All the hardware there has low 
value, outside of ftp4.usa.openbsd.

There would be no reason for anyone to "take over NYC*BUG" since there's 
nothing of value.

Every nickel from NYCBSDCons counted as profit was donated back to the 
BSD projects.

We have been extremely careful in keeping a line between NYC*BUG and 
sponsors. We occasionally bothered sponsors since we wouldn't give up 
sponsor attendee information to them, regardless of how much they 
contributed. We have a strict "no commercial presentations" line for 
meetings and the conferences.

And we've always done very well with sponsors anyways, since they know 
the people attending our cons are people there for the right reasons. We 
have also kept a "quality" audience.

But we could disappear tomorrow and there were be nothing to fight over.

We looked at creating a non-profit for NYC*BUG a long time ago. Five of 
the six of us walked into the meeting interested in doing that. Five of 
the six of us walked out convinced it was a bad idea.

It would have created a level of segmentation between admin@ and the 
broader layer of those on mailing lists, etc. There would be a reason to 
"aspire" to being on admin@, besides the usual drudgery of 
administrative idiocies dealt with. Or at least there would have been 
that perception. We saw that with some NYC groups having LLCs or 

No thanks.

And to run as a democracy would raise the issue of "membership" which 
means more formalism. We just want to hang out and do things and not 
feel like there's any "angle" to what we're doing. Would people have to 
pay? Would you have to attend N meetings in a year? It was a disastrous 
road to pursue.

The point is, we're still here 18 years after our first planning meeting 
in December 2003, and we've accomplished some pretty impressive feats.. 
from the persistence of dmesgd.nycbug.org to wildly successfuly and 
often innovative conferences, all despite the very real difficulties of 
operating in a viciously gentrified NYC. We've been a gateway for people 
to contribute on all levels to the BSD projects, and been an accelerator 
for some to get their commit bits.

We all recognize that operating systems aren't as hip as they were 18 
years ago, and that the newer generations are often lost in the cloud 
and full of high-level programming language abstractions. But we also 
know we continue to maintain function as a useful forum for a lot of 
people, including on this mailing list, IRC and again someday our 
monthly meetings. And maybe another NYCBSDCon... hint hint.

Apologies if anyone takes this as a rambling rant, but we continually 
chose a different path than the obvious, and our continued existence is 
proof we chose wisely.

And I too hope for the best for the TOOOL folks.


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