Blaze of Glory

Why funny? They had no idea who I was, and therefore could never understand my value.

tar snicker snicker 2020

An intern and a hardware guy were trying to install a package – a tar.gz

They laughed and snickered about how no one knows tar commands. As they were at the peak of enjoyment, I happened to be walking past to my office a few inches from them and turned, said:

tar space -xzvf file

Marcia Wilbur – Linux elitist


When writing documentation that included dd instructions where the drive was explicitly declared, I tried to tactfully to explain my changing this to sdx and asked:

I’m new here. Is the standard sdx or sdX?

Marcia, the polite tech writer

“Linux developers know this.”

Author who plagiarized half the article

I then held nothing back on this technical review of her document. Instead of fixing, she nixed it. Feedback is a gift!

Python developers know this

I was in a UX meeting at a startup. I noticed Notion conversion to markdown left extra characters in the command line. This was unnecessary and I mentioned if the dev used the copy feature, it copied the extra characters.

We need to remove these extra characters. It would be quick with a simple script.

Me – in a User Experience meeting

We don’t need to. Python developers know this. They can just copy the command and delete the characters.

Uh. I’m sorry, I thought I was in the UX meeting. What is the purpose of this meeting?

Me – when product owner said it’s okay to inconvenience developers

Later in the meeting there was an issue where she suggested hide the actual work from the user and basically vaporware results. Someone else called her on that. This is what you get when good Linux projects let someone in from Meta.

They put the contract on hold for me (shocker) shortly thereafter and before departure asked me to write a conference talk for VY. Too bad I was too busy to do so… I’m a technical writer, I don’t write conference talks for others. Been there, done that. Once – for Microchip Masters, then, refused. Another time, I was told it was a test exercise for a job… and realized the truth after almost completing the doc and testing. Nope. It was a conference talk.

I write my personal conference presentations. You write yours.

Linux is Hard! 2004 recruiter

I can’t put you in front of the client.

Recruiter in Phoenix

Why not?

me after signing a non compete for training and as a single unemployed mom of 4….

Linux is hard! I can’t do it.

Recruiter logic

You don’t have a degree in computer science. I just wrote Linux Essentials! Call anyone. Test me… You’re not putting me in front of the client?!


Do you want a job as a recruiter? 2000

Went to a headhunter office for a C job. Guy in front of me says,

I’ve never coded. I think I would be good at it.

Guy they send on a dev gig

I have development experience and a degree in computer science. I can use Linux, Mac or Windows

me as a single mom of 3 trying to get work

OMG! These are great skills. Have you ever thought about being a tech recruiter!

Recruiter 1

I was stunned. Any job at this point. No money coming in, lights to keep on.

Let me ask you this… You have a degree in Computer Science. You worked hard for that degree, no? Spent time, did assignments. Why would ever want to be a recruiter. This job sucks…

Recruiter 2

vlog? 2019

A few interns came over to the department to borrow our camera in IOT. They wanted to video tape a project in the lab! No one was around so they asked me. The one intern said to me, “You know a vlog. Do you even know what that is?”

I was at the EFF in 2003 where we encouraged blogs and I wrote the DMCA faq blog under the direction of Cory Doctorow. I created video posts on my forum before YouTube…

“I don’t have the authority to lend you the camera. You need to ask J or K”.

J let these interns use the camera. The SD card was misplaced and when K found out how rude they were to me, no more camera from us.

Recused myself

The same interns discussed how N showed them how to add a display to a pi (something I showed him how to do), I told them I worked with N… They dismissed me when they mentioned they were working on a project for a contest at work and I made recommendations – they ignored my suggestions.

Later, I was asked to be a judge for this very contest. While this may have been highly amusing, I did not think I could be a non-bias judge and declined.

2020 Virtual Machine?!

Do you know how to create a virtual machine?

Manager who knew nothing of Linux

Was the lead dev of Linux Respin – used hundreds of VMs and I started with VMWare in 2003 on the job.

Kernel build – simple

I was working on the prototype for an Industrial AIOT machine. They brought me back from New England with the machine. So, remember, I was using Linux before graphical installers…

The one person on the project, a manager, asked me to upgrade to another kernel version.

“It’s not as easy as you think.”

Manager guy who doesn’t know Linux


Well, actually Backports now make it easy. I’ll tell you what.. I’ll make a backup off prem using Linux respin before install.

I was lead developer of respin, a backup utility and distro customization tool at the time and was having meetings with a group of open source people on the job that included Alan Cox…


The group hired a Sr. Software Engineer who claimed to use zsh. When we were in a meeting, he had an issue installing Ubuntu. On chat audio, I walked him through the process to install Ubuntu. The software he needed to use was in a tar.gz file. After install he asked me:

How do I extract the files, nano?

Sr. Software Engineer – Linux new hire




“This call… is over! Sr. Software Engineer…” I thought to myself.

I found out later, he was transferred to another role.

Curl this

I was asked to review documentation for a small board division. I tore it up. When I saw they were instructing people to curl some windows repo, I told the group in feedback:

You need to donate to the curl project just for using it this way!


More Community Focused Stuff – WikiMedia Foundation

When I applied as a tech writer at WikiMedia Foundation and was told they didn’t think I had any development background.

Oh Yea. I remember. We were going to keep you in mind for more community work, less code intensive.

Wikimedia hiring manager

Less code intensive! So, the degree in computer science doesn’t indicate I code too!

Me – losing all professionalism with hiring manager at WikiMedia

Then, they said it was a mistake to reject my application and offered me to work there, at that point I was like. I don’t think so… And to think I encourage contributions to Nupedia and then Wikipedia… as an intern at the FSF with the directive to encourage GFDL…

Google test

I suppose the name Wilbur threw them off. I was denied an interview as a technical writer.

I said, ” Give me the developer’s test. I’ll code circles around it.” Nope.

Flying Monkeys

I was contracting at the Department of Education. The Learning Management systems were in IT where… they belonged.

The business wanted the dollars and oversight. I was told to go to Central where my boss had her team. Turned out there had been a reorg and she wasn’t even my boss.

I called my project manager. Why do I have to go to Central? ** called and said I have to work there now.

He said – There was a reorg. She’s not even our manager anymore.

LOL. Ultimately, when asked why I wouldn’t bring the LMS to the business, I told people because they don’t know what they’re doing and it belongs in IT. Also, I’m not going to be one of her flying monkeys. It got back to her my last day… I made sure of it.

She tried several ways to get me to bring the LMS to the business and when I didn’t, I was replaced. Funny thing was, I was called about my own job.

I did have the skills… hahahahaha

Technical Writer NSA recruiter

After Snowden, they updated the processes and procedures documentation and approached me?

You’re barking up the wrong tree

Marcia – after searching for years for docs about M$

Stirring the Pot – License violation

A project that was MIT in github was used at a company and a lot was added. When I pointed out this was a community effort to contribute back to… and pointed out several GPL violations in the project… I was told I was stirring the pot. The product owner got the manager and told him to delete the github repo!

That isn’t our repo. I can’t remove that.

Manager’s response

On people taking credit for my work

well, you know… They only take credit for my work because it’s so awesome. They wouldn’t steal it if it was garbage.

mkw in a conversation with the Society of Technical Communicators Phoenix chapter president. He was laughing his ass off.

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