Process accounting - did anyone ever use it?

Glen Slick glen.slick at
Fri May 31 00:39:00 CDT 2019

re: the last paragraph about "Cliff Stole" (actually Clifford Stoll)
and accounting discrepancies:

“It was a 75-cent accounting error in the computer usage accounts,”
says Stoll, who looked—and still looks—like he stepped straight off
the pages of The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers. “I traced the error to
an unauthorized user who had used about nine seconds and not paid for
it.” Stoll assumed the trespasser was a Cal undergraduate doing it on
a lark, “just some kid on campus who was yanking my chain.”

Fascinated by the challenge of identifying the intruder, he spent the
next ten months trying to solve the puzzle, often sleeping on a cot at
the lab instead of going home, because whoever it was tended to log on
late at night. “It was like a piece of yarn dangling from a sweater,”
he says. “You keep pulling on it and discovering that the yarn never
ends. The sweater keeps unraveling until all you end up with is a
mountain of tangles.”

On Thu, May 30, 2019 at 9:55 PM bobh--- via cctalk
<cctalk at> wrote:
> Not sure of the reference in the last paragraph, but I know a company that processes seafood; clams, lobster, scallops, etc. They track every process so they know exactly what it cost to produce each product that they sell. The General Ledger had over 1,000 accounts.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Grant Taylor via cctalk" <cctalk at>
> To: "cctalk mailing list" <cctalk at>
> Sent: Thursday, May 30, 2019 1:30:51 PM
> Subject: Process accounting - did anyone ever use it?
> (Credit the Quotas thread for prompting this.)
> Did anyone ever use process accounting?  Did they actually bill
> departments (funny money)?
> I was always intrigued by process accounting, but never had a use for it
> myself.
> I guess I can thank process accounting for causing the discrepancy that
> Cliff Stole tracked down that became The Cuckoo's Egg.  :-)
> --
> Grant. . . .
> unix || die

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