Many people ask why I (DonovanBaarda) use "abo" as my username. There is a long history behind it :-)

ABO first appeared in computer-land on the ICE message system running on the "cyber" at RMIT (NOS-2 anyone?) in 1986 with the message "ABO leaves tracks on ICE", along with a suitably geeky bit of ascii art. I have been using "abo" as my username ever since, and have had the email address abo@minkirri.apana.org.au since 1995.

I grew up on an Aboriginal reserve in Central Australia (Yuendumu) where I learned to speak Warlpiri. In 1980 I went to a posh boarding school in Victoria, I was immediately nick-named "Abo", which is a derogatory abbreviation of Aboriginal. After 6 years of being called "Abo", (along with many other even worse racist names for Aboriginals), the name stuck. The racist origin of the name doesn't bother me any more. For me the name has its own history.

I remember being introduced to a new student as "Abo" by one of my school mates. The new student commented "he doesn't look very dark, in fact I think I have a darker tan than he does", to which my mate laughed and said "it's not because he looks like one, it's because he is one". This is not true, but it does show that my mate, despite being the heaviest user of racial slurs and jokes, understood something critical that even many "non-racists" don't; culture is a more important part of identity than race.

Through my high-school years, I played a few arcade games (battlezone, galaga, etc). These games allowed you to enter your three letter "initials" when you got a high score. I took to entering "ABO", because it identified me and was pretty unique. Even now, the use of "ABO" on arcade games and the internet is pretty rare. If you find an "ABO", it is probably me (abo@sf.net, abo@freshmeat.net, etc). Probably the negative origins help here :-)

Because arcade games only allowed capitals, I used the capitalised form "ABO" most of the time. Unix usernames and email have a convention of being lowercase, so I use "abo". I still favour the uppercase "ABO" whenever I can. If I need to use a name where "ABO" has been taken or more than three letters are required, I use the variants "ABO2" or "ABO_2".




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