Ok, ok. I'm Lady Arwen. Enough already.

-- Andy Tannenbaum

An interesting admission from the inventor of Minix, but is it true? I'm far from convinced after going back over the Lady Arwin kerfluffle.

One of her first messages, on net.philosophy about fear of death stuck in my head. But I barely noticed the "Arwen" signature, it was simply well written, and its followup too. And it resonated interestingly across 30 years; I wondered if the author's flame had guttered out.

Maybe if I'd noticed the "Lady Arwian of U.C.S.D." signature on some of her other posts, I'd have been more stuck by the name, but I doubt it. Just someone in the SCA surely? Anyhow, she's posted a lot, in the top ten by volume in February. A random sampling across the groups:

So, the reaction from the net to this poster, in the "Unmask Lady Arwin" thread makes me a bit uncomfortable (due to probably some sexism), but is also rather interesting. Some wonder if this person is really female. Others seem struck by what's apparently some form of pseudonym, which is a bit uncommon on Usenet in 1983. Others seem to want to form a fan club for this somethat prolific and interesting poster, which has not really happened on Usenet before either, but surely will happen again.

This post is perhaps the most amusing reaction:

1. It is a well-known fact that there are many AI projects running on the net, one of them being floyd!trb. Floyd!trb has just claimed to be Lady Arwen. 2. There is an expert system called R1 produced at CMU which configures Vaxen. Clearly, Arwen is a punning form of R1. My conclusion (and conclusions differing from mine may be directed to /dev/null) is that Lady Arwen is a cloned version of the TRB program which is being developed at UCB and which bears the same relationship (better) to TRB that Berkely Un*x bears to Bell Un*x. The "Lady" nomenclature merely indicates that the gender bit has been toggled from 0 to 1 (or 1 to 0, let's not quibble about which).

.. Nah, that's not right. I figured it all out!


In other news, punch card services discontinued at BTL...