What’s in a name

Sys admins are like Witchers
Wen nennst du Gormless?

The origin of the naming scheme was a Dilbert cartoon from the year 2000 which you can still see here :


We actually do have a “pointy”, too!

Anyway, once we had a “clueless”, we needed names for other machines.

And sometimes words ending ~less did lend themselves nicely to some purposes; for example “nameless” worked well in a DNS server role, and “aimless” worked well for BGP routers. There are also nice ones like “timeless” (a time server) and of course, “wireless”! Oh, and “voiceless” also for voice-over-IP stuff.

But some names were just picked as they were another ~less word.

“gormless” is in that latter group; it doesn’t really make any specific sense and was just picked as another ~less word.

And what the pool of gormless machines does is to act as L2TP Network Servers (LNS). This is to say, they handle the incoming connections from our wholesale carriers (BT Wholesale, TalkTalk Business, and others), operating L2TP tunnels for each customer’s line. We have an awful lot of gormless machines, these days, which means we prefix the gormless name with a letter from a-z. So “a.gormless”, “b.gormless” etc. They now go all the way up to “w.gormless”!

Gradually these will be phased out and replaced by a smaller number of more performant LNS under the name “witless”. We currently only have three machines under the “witless” name, though.

Hopefully that gives you a bit of insight into how we do (and have done) things!

Kind regards,



under construction

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