Not sure how many of you read NANOG. We hosted Bill at NZNOG 2009 in Auckland, and Dunedin
2008. May he rest in peace.
-------- Original Message --------
From: Brett Watson <brett(a)the-watsons.org>
Sent: 28 January 2020 9:34:44 AM NZDT
Subject: RIP: Bill Manning
I was saddened to see this yesterday, that Bill Manning had passed. I was surprised this
morning that it hadn’t hit NANOG yet but thought I’d post something because I have a ton
of respect for Bill as I’m sure many here do.
I met Bill as a very young, thought-I-knew-everything network engineer around ’92 when I
was starting my internet life at a small ISP in Houston. Bill was visiting Stan Barber @
Sesquinet, which was my upstream provider at the time via T1, if I remember it all
I was young, fresh out of college with a CS degree, and learning this “internet thing.” I
met with Bill on campus at Rice University to discuss networking/routing, and Bill taught
me CIDR, which I had no f-ing idea at that time what it was. Bill was always gracious and
willing to share/teach. We always chatted and stayed in touch at NANOG and IETF
conferences and through his relationship with Los Nettos over the years. Most notable, to
me, was 2007 when my youngest daughter was diagnosed with cancer, and I believe Bill’s
wife had (or previously battled) cancer as well. I hadn’t seen Bill for a few years, but
he immediately reached out, shared his positive thoughts/prayers, and kept in touch during
the battle we went through. Bill cared about people, and as noted below, he was smart as
hell, and always had a crazy idea for how to solve a problem. Also as noted in Rod’s note
below, Bill had a wealth of music knowledge and could always recommend something new and
interesting to listen to.
I’ll definitely miss Bill, and his passing makes me feel the years, and the mileage, but
in a good way.
> This morning I talked to Julie Manning, Bill's
wife. Bill died early
> Saturday morning, at home in Oregon. Most of you know Bill was
> waiting for a new heart. He would perhaps have gotten one next
> month. I guess the old one just wouldn't hold out long enough.
> I first met Bill in about 1995, when I
returned to ISI after my first
> stint in Japan. He had taken a position in the Los Nettos project at
> ISI, a regional network project in the days when Internet service and
> operations work was still heavily shared between business and
> academia. Bill brought an operator's eye to the project, often seeing
> things differently from the researchers in the group.
> Bill kept the most erratic hours of any
non-student I've ever met. He
> might be in the office at 2am or at 2pm, either was equally likely.
> I'd ask, "Bill, what time did you come in?" He'd reply,
> was here before that, and you were already here, it must have been
> earlier." "Greenwich Mean Time."
> And in one phase of life, "Bill,
where do you live?" "Seat 4A." He
> would speculate about his average altitude and speed over the previous
> And, like any good geek, Bill had a
spectacular collection of tie-dye
> t-shirts. He came by the look honestly: growing up in the Bay Area,
> he had actually snuck into Grateful Dead rehearsals held in a barn,
> and had traveled as a deadhead for a while.
> At ISI, we called Bill "the bad idea
fairy". He always brought a
> slightly-off-kilter view of technical problems, which triggered
> endless discussions of fascinating, if usually implausible,
> He had the most broad-ranging musical
tastes of anyone I knew, and
> would eat almost anything (though, like me, he didn't drink alcohol).
> I was often envious of his eating and musical experiences. He
> certainly lived life to its fullest.
> On one occasion, I recall, we were eating
lunch in a Thai restaurant
> for the first time. Bill called for the food "the way you'd make it
> in Thailand". The waiter went back into the kitchen and came out with
> a few raw Thai chiles. Bill ate one whole, without even breaking a
> sweat. The owner of the restaurant immediately came out to see who
> was eating them. Pam became a friend to our group.
> On other occasions, when the waiter asked
for his order, Bill would
> point to another person at the table, and say, "I'll have what she's
> having." "Well, what is she having?" "I don't know, I
> her say." Once in a while, he would point to someone else in the
> restaurant and say, "I'll have what they are having." It was funny
> and sometimes disconcerting, which was very Bill, and it was also his
> way of making sure he himself was eating (and thinking and doing) as
> broadly as possible, without getting stale.
> Bill worked in a bakery before joining
Texas Instruments and
> accidentally falling into computer networking. (When we first met, he
> was commuting between Houston and L.A.; Julie and the kids were still
> in Houston.) I believe he attended a series of colleges but never
> finished his bachelor's degree. Just a few years ago, however, Jun
> Murai convinced him to get a Ph.D.; this took clearing administrative
> hoops to demonstrate that Bill's life experience matched that of a
> bachelor's degree, which it certainly did. I was honored to be on his
> Ph.D. committee. I literally created a "trouble ticket" accounting
> scheme to track change requests for his thesis.
> Bill was a valued member of the WIDE
Project here in Japan. He worked
> with the DNS root operations group here, and participated in as many
> WIDE meetings as he could. He also came to Keio University's Shonan
> Fujisawa Campus when he was in Japan, and one of the best things about
> Bill was how seriously he took the students and their work, treating
> them like adult colleagues.
> Bill had friends on all seven continents,
and for all I know on the
> International Space Station, as well. He was loved by us all.
> Julie does not plan to have a funeral
immediately, so there is no need
> for flowers or the like. The family may do a memorial service in Utah
> in the spring.
> He was a unique and wonderful human being.
And a good friend.
> Rest in peace, Bill.