On Sunday, I wrote a blog post titled "Distillation" in which I said:
"It's quite difficult to accurately convey the stress and effort required to build and maintain large complex networks to those with no real frame of reference. I've done it for years, building networks for city governments, universities, hospitals, and private companies. At some point, a network moves beyond "straightforward" complexity, and almost becomes a work of art. Whether it's a clever iBGP VPN failover for a large MPLS-based WAN, an OSPF-based ISDN dialback configuration, or a novel method of route injection through a third-party cloud, there are instances where network architects and admins need to color outside the lines to provide a needed service or measure of redundancy. It's at this point that the proverbial wheat is separated from the chaff in terms of network administration."
I've felt this way about several of the networks that I've built in the past -- they transcended the mundane and became basically a work of art. Terry Childs also felt this way, because he applied for and received a copyright in June 2007 on the configuration of the FiberWAN as technical artistry. This would back up my contention that Childs' felt that what he had created couldn't be understood or maintained by anyone else. After all, would Picasso let anyone else work on one of his paintings?
[ Follow the Terry Childs saga with InfoWorld special report: Terry Childs: Admin gone rogue. ]
More information coming to light shows just how in the dark his managers really are. In the arrest warrant, several key details are presented as evidence of malfeasance on the part of Childs. These include a detailed description of an analog modem and a DSL modem that were discovered in a network cabinet that he had built, and another analog modem attached to a desktop PC that he had installed. The description in the arrest warrant introduces these devices as evidence that Childs had added backdoors to the FiberWAN. Further on, the inspector describes an event in which Childs' pager was taken from him, and shortly thereafter, the pager went off with a message described as having come "from one of the routers on the network". This event was presented as evidence that Childs "still had administrative access to the network", and was probably a very important "fact" that helped convince the judge to sign the warrant.