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GNU Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett artwork in an alley off Brick Lane.

March 12 was a very sad day. Sir Terry finally met one of his Discworld characters, the one from the artwork.

I was speechless. I read almost all his books in the last 15 years and I’m a big fan. I tried to write something when I heard the news, but nothing came out. One reddit user accurately described how I felt:

I don’t feel I have the right to mourn.. that by rights should be his family’s but I can’t help but shed tears for the man who wrote a universe for me to grow up in and kindly companions to keep a growing boy company. Even now I dive into his books and it’s like meeting old friends. Thank you sir for giving us that. Your loss is felt far and wide.

A few days ago I stumbled upon an interesting way to commemorate Terry. It’s a nerdy, non-obvious and technical—perfect for the task at hand. It’s called GNU Terry Pratchett and its mission is:

Keeping the legacy of Sir Terry Pratchett alive forever.
For as long as his name is still passed along the Clacks,
Death can’t have him.

Clacks are like telegraph nodes in Discworld, similar to servers in our world. The proposed solution is injecting a custom HTTP header with Terry’s name into every response from a server. If you check under the hood of this website with developer tools, you will see:

Response Headers
  X-Clacks-Overhead: GNU Terry Pratchett

If you didn’t read his books and this doesn’t make any sense, don’t worry, it’s meant to be obscure and for fans only. Everyone interested in more context should read a longer excerpt from Terry’s book available on reddit.

Don’t miss this one:
Sketching personas

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