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V.235, 2013-03-09 (Being based on the Code Duello of the Clonmel Summer Assizes, 1777, and updated by Evariste Gallous, Gottfried Liebniz, Edward Waller Stoney, and various three-letter-acronymed fellows from academe, now sadly passed on).


Being that Hackers are a proud and gentle group, yet prone to disagreements of fact and of taste and of text editor, we find that it is better to resolve breaches and disputes of honor with the following code, rather than to escalate to cross-platform vendettas, elemental poisonings and unfortunate radioactive "accidents" as has been the case in the past.

The nature of the Hacker Duel:

The challenger will proclaim a public and personal grievance, based on an insult, directly to the single person who offended the challenger. This might take place on the public grounds or place of the insult, be it IRC channel, listserv or discussion forum.

The challenged person has the choice of public apology in the same location, or proceed by choosing the weapons for the duel. The duel itself is a co-operative competition of wits or assiduousness, an attempt to obtain the admiration of the assembled crowd (unlike traditional duels, hacker duels are for public consumption) by providing a tool of use or an ingenious and pleasing artwork for their fellow hackers. Neither parties are deemed to have "won" by besting the other. By contrast, each each may choose to co-operate to provide the best experience. Often such enemies might combine forces to make a better device, or otherwise work in complement, so that both creations improve the other. The competition in a Hacker Duel is to demonstrate that one is working just as hard as one's opponent to achieve the intended aim.

The challenger may propose a place for the "field of honor". This is traditionally a local hackerspace. The challenged may accept this, or propose another. If no field was satisfactory to either, then a coin toss or other fair boolean random number generator to select between both proposals would determine the locale.

At the field of honor, at the appointed time (in deference to hacker sleeping habits, this is traditionally late evening), each side would bring Seconds. The Seconds are to try to reconcile the parties and settle the dispute with an apology or restitution. If reconciliation succeeded, all parties considered the dispute to be honorably settled, and go home.

If a party fails to appear or rise to a duel, that hacker is accounted a coward. If the hacker has a hacker nym by which he is known, this nym is tainted and the challenger may choose another for the disgraced hacker.

When the challenge is accepted, and both creations of the hackers deemed acceptable by bystanders, the matter was considered settled, with the winner proving his point, and the loser keeping his reputation for hackerliness over drama.

Devices ("Weapons") of Choice:

1. A Server of the Hackerspace, in which it is expected that both might co-operate or pair-program to provide a hack or service of use to the public or membership.

10. A Cleaning device, such as a washcloth or swiffer or broom or scourer, in which it is expected that both might combine forces to clean an uncleanly area of the Hackerspace in competition.

11. A Robot, such as an MC Hawking or a Cocktailbot, in which it is expected that each might work to provide a new feature or accoutrement or limb or sensor, for the better use of the Hackerspace.

100. An assemblage of Cooking Devices, such as a bowl or microwave or souffle pan or any multiple, together with Ingredients to be determined by the seconds, so that both may work in an act of Iron Chefingship, competing to provide food for an assembled collection of bystanders.

101. A Crafting center, whereby both might create the most beautious and enhanced article of clothing, to be modelled by the other combatant.

110. A selection of Flowers, that might be competitive compiled to create two or more flower-arrangings, the beauty of which will be determined by the assembly.

111. A Wall or Surface or Window, to be filled with moving or animated lighting or LCD display or shadows or drawerbots on it, to display something of use or artistry for the benefaction of the Hackerspace.

1000. Another device, to be proposed by others on the listserv in which the insult or affront is waged, and which is amenable to both Challenger and Challenged.

Degrees of Insult, with examples:

1. Slight causes: a disagreement over development environments, escalated.

   - A minor improvement, perhaps of thirty minutes devising, is

2. Gross Cases: personal degredation, accusations of trollery, etc.

   - A significant improvement, of one hour or more.

Kinds of Insult:

1. The Offence and Retort: an exchange of anti-pleasantries on a public forum.

2. The Lie Direct - An unprovoked and untrue insult. A retort to a lie only serves to dignify it.

3. The Third Party Insult -- An insult directed at a third party, for instance, RMS or the Apple Corporation.

4. The Blow or the Crunch -- A physical blow to another hacker, or the deletion or treading-upon of their work in progress.

5. Undivulged Causes -- Usually the honor of a NDA.

6. An Issue of Contention -- Almost anything else a hacker ever says.


1. Apology -- Requires an admission of wrong-doing.

2. Beg Pardon -- Reconciliation without admission of wrong-doing.

3. Explanation -- A justification for the position taken.

4. Withdrawal -- Removal of the challenge.


Primaries, male -- in all cases they must wear the following:

Appropriate footwear of personal choice Black trousers (a kilt may be substituted for those of appropriate ancestry) Stripped to the waist (to forestall the use of body armor)

Primaries, female -- in all cases they must wear the following:

Appropriate footwear of personal choice Black trousers or skirt by personal choice Danskin or other skin-tight upper garment, or else personal choice of upper garment, and a suitable hat.

Seconds and Officers

Appropriate solemn dress. Choice must be made with the remembrance that all seconds can become primaries at any time.

Rule 1. The first offense requires the first apology, though the retort may have been more offensive than the insult.

Rule 2. Seconds are bound to attempt a reconciliation before the meeting takes place, or after sufficient hacking or imagining, as specified.

Rule 3. Seconds to be of equal rank in society with the principals they attend, inasmuch as a second may either choose or chance to become a principal, and equality is indispensible.

Rule 4. Where seconds disagree, and resolve to engage each other, it must be at the same time as their Primaries. cf. Rules 21 and 31.

Rule 5. If a doubt exists concerning who gave the first offense, the decision rests with the Seconds; if they won't decide, or can't agree, the matter must be decided by the Presiding Officer and the Officer Seconds.

Rule 6. When the first offense is of the Gross Degree, the aggressor must either beg pardon in express terms or hack on till the audience accord the duel as done.

Rule 7. As a blow is strictly prohibited under any circumstances among Gentry, no verbal apology can be received for such an insult. The alternatives, therefore --

The offender handing a cane to the injured party, to be used on their own back, at the same time begging pardon.

Rule 8. If A gives B the lie, and B retorts by a blow (being the two grossest offenses), no reconciliation can take place till after a ingenious hack has been furnished; after which B may beg A's pardon humbly for the blow and then A may explain simply for the lie; because a blow is never allowable, and the offense of the lie, therefore, merges in it. (See preceding rules.)

Rule 9. But no apology can be received, in any case, after the parties have begun to hack.

Rule 10. All imputations of dishonest or shoddy professionalism are considered equivalent to a blow; but may be reconciled after one wound, on the aggressor admitting their falsehood and begging pardon publicly.

Rule 11. Challenges are never to be delivered at night, unless the party to be challenged intends leaving the place of offense before morning; for it is desirable to avoid all hot-headed proceedings.

Rule 12. The challenged has the right to choose the device, unless the challenger gives his/her honor she/he is not skilled with the server; after which, however, there is no right to decline the second species of device.

Rule 13. All matters and doubts not herein mentioned will be explained and cleared up by application to the Hackerspace weekly meeting, or the board, or the moderator of the listserv.

Server Rules

Rule 14. As specified elsewhere, the server shall in all cases be the default weapon of choice, and Debian GNU/ Linuxserver is the default among servers unless otherwise specified.

Rule 15. Any other server -- such as BSD, Plan 9, Minix, etc. -- must be by mutual agreement among the Seconds.

Rule 16. Any additional devices -- such as a USB output, GPA, or JTAG output -- must be by mutual agreement among the Primaries.

Rule 17. For cases where the degree of insult is slight, a disable is sufficient to satisfy honor, and the Seconds are duty-bound to attempt reconciliation at this point; although it is not mandated and the Primaries may continue.

Rule 18. A fine mutual project determined, but not executed is considered the same as a competitive hack executed within time.

Rule 19. In the case the Challenged is competitive and refuses to work with the Challenger, they must not necessarily be utterly outwitted to restore honor if the degree be slight, but the challenger may, in mercy, lay his own fine hack at the aggressor's feet , then accept the acclaim of the audience and say "I spare your life!" The challenged can never revive the quarrel -- the challenger may.

Rule 20. Both parties are responsible for sharing costs of development, and of resources that they might use. If they cannot declare on an even division, the President of the hackerspace shall determine it by choosing a fixed amount, to be divided evenly between both and which shall inconvenience neither.

Rule 21. If the Seconds find cause to engage each other upon the Field, it must be contemporaneous to and on a line parallel to the Primaries, and at a distance sufficient to spare the chance of interference with their hacking.