back to article From humble Unix sysadmin to brutal separatist suppressor to president of Sri Lanka

A former Unix sysadmin has been elected the new president of Sri Lanka, giving hope to all those IT workers who fear they are trapped in a role where the smallest of decisions can have catastrophic consequences if it goes wrong. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, younger brother of former president Mahindra, won the popular vote in an …

  1. 9Rune5

    Wait... That sounds a lot like our BOFH, doesn't it?

    "The BBC also linked Gotabaya with the abduction, torture and murder of journalists who criticised the 2005-2015 Rajapaksa government."

    Any rolled up carpets involved?

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Re: Wait... That sounds a lot like our BOFH, doesn't it?

      Nah, he would be the type of person who would replace your job with a script.

      1. chivo243 Silver badge

        Re: Wait... That sounds a lot like our BOFH, doesn't it?

        A 12 line script with mostly remarks?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Because you forgot the. /s

    At least I hope you forgot the /s, because if you did not, that means you think that the possible abduction, torture and murder of journalists who criticised the 2005-2015 Rajapaksa" is somehow worthy of quip.


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Downvoted

      This is the Register.

      Being charitable, we've all been walking around with /sarc tags so long we forget we're wearing them.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Downvoted

      You aren't capable of identifying sarcasm when a JOURNALIST jokes about abduction, torture, and murder of JOURNALISTS?

  3. Chris King

    There's hope for me yet then...

    Does this mean I can keep the uniform and carry on referring to myself as "Generalissimo" ?

    (Sent from the Napoleon Bonaparte Ward of the local loony bin)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: There's hope for me yet then...

      Sure, but you might want to change your title from "Generalissimo" to the more warm & cuddly "Dear Leader".

  4. SVV

    kill -9 2019

    When the sysadmins take charge, it'll be the ones who can only say no to everything and take away everyone's rights as a way of covering up the fact that they bullshitted their way in to the job and are incompetent, rather than the intelligent ones who know how to solve problems and make life better for people.

    1. Chris King

      Re: kill -9 2019

      Sounds pretty much like what happens now.

      1. asdf

        Re: kill -9 2019

        init must die.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Everybody with a father/brother/etc as a former president/governor/etc. has usually good chances...

    After all even in US you got many sons, an attempt from a former wife, and next there will the attempt of Trump's daughter. It will interesting to see what Putin will do.

    Past occupations are totally irrelevant.

    1. Claverhouse Silver badge

      Re: Everybody with a father/brother/etc etc.

      For some weird psychological reason, many Americans not only want wives to be given their fair chance as Dear Leader of the Free World, mesdames Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama, despite not showing the slightest aptitude; they also pine for the daughters of those 2 ladies to be pressies in some future time. I think that started with the generation of Kennedys after JFK's siblings.

      The USA was crippled with daddy issues from the start, but it's almost a sexual pleasure for them to imagine the old man overthrown and the daughters taking over.

      Like Regan and Goneril.

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: Everybody with a father/brother/etc etc.

        It's a cry for help, I think they just want the monarchy back.

        Seriously, you can have 'em for nowt.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Everybody with a father/brother/etc etc.

        Downvoted because the jibe at Clinton and Obama was irrelevant and unnecessary. Mrs. Clinton demonstrated all the typical abilities of a US politician when Secretary of State and is far more qualified by the usual metrics than the present incumbent. As for Mrs. Obama, she at least has some political history as a community organiser and people have seen her, at least on TV. Saying she has shown "not the slightest aptitude" is rubbish; in fact it's probably fair to say that until they do the job, the only one like it in the world, nobody actually shows aptitude.

        I agree that the US seems secretly to desire a monarchy, but your childish and unsupported dig suggests that it is you rather than the Americans who have issues with women in positions of authority.

        1. hmv

          Re: Everybody with a father/brother/etc etc.

          "more qualified ... than the present incumbent"

          Hell, there are deranged rats with lead poisoning that are more qualified than the present incumbent.

      3. Apocryphon

        Re: Everybody with a father/brother/etc etc.

        In the U.S., there has been a tradition of widow's succession, both for legislative roles but also for the position of state governor.

    2. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      You seem to have forgotten the old joke

      The one that ends with "No dear he would have been the POTUS and you would have been running the gas station".

  6. Blockchain commentard

    Wow, Lt Col in the army, 'promoted' to sysadmin when in the USA (with a Master's as well). Green card holders will take any job to get to work there.

    1. Brian Miller

      I wondered about that, too. Why does a university require a sysadmin to have a master's degree?

      1. Nunyabiznes

        Because HR is as HR does.

        1. Is It Me

          Nothing in the article said the Masters was required, or even in a relevant subject.

          Where I am now we have at least one sysadmin with a masters, and I have a friend who is a sysadmin and has just completed his masters part time.

  7. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "From humble Unix sysadmin to brutal separatist suppressor to president of Sri Lanka"

    via Microsoft booster according to TFA.

  8. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
  9. Imhotep

    Interesting HR Interviews

    So, if we hire you as an admin: where do you see yourself in five years?

    1. Rich 11

      Re: Interesting HR Interviews

      "Ordering the summary execution of terrorists and lusers."

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unix sysadmin elected the president of Sri Lanka

    We were diverse long before it became fashionable.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Higher minds

    IN the western world, Rajapaksa was simply a system administrator and prior to that stacking shelves at 7/11. In the Singhalese world, he tops the the Singhala IQ rankings :) Good luck to the country. After struggling for 25 years to fight a group of teenage girls, they finally did it with the help of China and India. They are now indebted for life and have sold the farm to the Chinese. For years they blames the war for their troubles, however, even after the war they remain a economic and political basket case and look to blame others for their incompetence.

    1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Re: Higher minds

      Some of the best fighters are teenage girls. Just ask the remnants of ISIS.

      1. phuzz Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Higher minds

        See also, the 'Night Witches'

        (Ok, some of them were early twenties)

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Re: Higher minds

          Can only upvote once.

          War is hell yes, but German troops being reduced to nervous wrecks by young women in radar-proof, near silent wooden biplanes is almost funny.

          Also, they were bloody heroic. Like those Dutch women that lured German officers into the woods and shot them.

          For, as Kipling said, when he meets the she-bear it will rend him tooth and nail, for the female of the species is much deadlier than the male.

  12. DJ Smiley

    That escalated quickly!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      man renice ?

  13. KapriSun

    Well, at least he’s got some sort of engineering skill

    I’m to understand that he hails from a political family and opted to stay out of politics. Which is seen in how he decided to live a civilian life away from politics by becoming a system admin and migrating to the USA like many other folks from the area with enough skill also do.

    That shows he’s a different sort of politician compared to the usual. How is that not in parallel to what’s going on in other parts of the world today? It’s easy to misinform people and misdirect information so that they form narratives, either ones based on some agenda or just outdated prejudice. Thank god for social media, or else we wouldn’t even be considering there are alternative narratives with only seeing subtle sarcastic hit pieces like this article here or the ones on the bbc. I’m not a Trump or brexit fan, but now I can understand why there might be some people who are for these things in the west.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well, at least he’s got some sort of engineering skill

      Assad tried that (he worked in this country as an opthalmologist).

      So far despite all the hate and attacks from the West he's still there - embarrassing the governments of the US and the UK on a daily basis.

      Perhaps we need more STEM people in politics. Classics, PPE and Wharton Business School are not exactly proving successful almae matres.

      1. Long John Brass
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Well, at least he’s got some sort of engineering skill

        Wasn't Maggie (Thatcher) a Chemist?

        Wikipedia suggests that she was a research chemist, before going dark side and becoming a barrister

        1. Imhotep

          Re: Well, at least he’s got some sort of engineering skill

          In the US, the lawyer is the larval stage of the politician. In the old testament, they were referred to by the euphemism "locust", and they are still a plague upon the land.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Surely this guy deserves some sort of award as the near-ultimate BOFH?

  15. Swarthy Silver badge

    Working your way up

    With nothing more than Hard Work, Dedication, family connections, a family fortune, and Ruthless Drive to "See the job done", you too could be come President!

  16. asdf

    There but for the grace not so much

    Whenever I hear how important it is to be a Great Man I remember yeah maybe I lead a pretty pedestrian life really, but kind of nice to not have war crimes on the resume. I am good with comfortable mediocrity thank you.

    1. Rich 11

      Re: There but for the grace not so much

      I'm sure Den Haag is a wonderful city but I only ever want to visit it as a tourist.

      1. Wicked Witch

        Re: There but for the grace not so much

        You just have to make sure you're American, then you'll get a good view of whatever's still standing when they rescue you.

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