Jan Wolter
UnixPapa.com: A Ma & Pa Unix Shop
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+Orville Write

Tech Publi­cations
+Unix Notes
+PBN Solvers
+Grex Notes


Other Publi­cations
+Great Green Room
+Solitaire Solvability

+Forty and Eight
+Right Side Up

Confer­ence Links
+Starting Grid

Et Cetera
+Rx Burns
+World Tour
+Campus Towers
+SUV Rant
+Zealot Quote

E-Mail Me
+Send Mail

Jan Wolter died on January 1, 2015, from complications of influenza.

• His obituary is here and here.
• His online guestbook is here.
• His Facebook page is here.
• There are paint-by-number puzzles in memory of Jan that can be found by going to webpbn.com and searching for puzzles with the number 162 in the title.
• There is a bench in memory of Jan, located in Gallup Park in Ann Arbor, in the sandbox next to the canoe livery. Mark Conger organized a group of people who planned it and put it there. Jan's next of kin are happy that the bench gets a lot of use.

You can reach Valerie Mates, Jan's life-partner, by using this form to send a message.

Contract Programming

I work as a freelance software developer. Mostly I do Unix systems programming, complex integrated web systems, and communications systems. Look me up if you need some high-quality Unix software development done. My partner at UnixMama.com does similar work.


Web Paint by Number is an on-line puzzle community where people create and solve a type of Japanese logic puzzle known as nonograms, griddlers, or paint by number puzzles. It's been very successful both as a sophisticated programming project and as a vibrant on-line community.

Politaire is a a solitaire card game site that allows you to modify game rules extensively. It's written entirely in Javascript and thus runs entirely in the user's browser, with virtually nothing done on the server side.

The Great Green Room is a blog / essay site where I publish non-technical articles on any topic that captures my interest, including global warming, gay marriage, Thomas the Tank Engine, religion, hot water heaters, and physics.

The Pro-Both site promotes an approach to the abortion issue that is both pro-choice and pro-life and epitomizes my tendancy to argue both sides of any issue.

Open Source Software

Mod_auth_external is an Apache module for using external programs to do authentication. I am the current maintainer of this, and the author of the related pwauth program for doing web authentication out of Unix shadow password files, as well as mod_authz_unixgroup, a module for doing access control based on unix group membership.

Pbnsolve is a high performance AI program for solving paint-by-number puzzles. It was originally designed to validate puzzles for my webpbn site.

Backtalk is a sophisticated open-source web-based computer conferencing system developed by Steve Weiss and I. Backtalk is used on several systems. It's spinoffs include Booktalk, a conferencing system for schools and libraries, and Fronttalk, a command-line interface cloning Picospan.

Orville Write is a much enhanced freeware version of the Unix write as used on Grex and M-Net.

Party is the fine old Unix chat program used on Grex and M-Net.

Gate is a text-gatherer, sort of a light-weight text editor typically used with Picospan, Yapp or Fronttalk conferencing systems.

Cursive is a program I wrote in 1987 to generate ASCII text banners in a rough cursive font.

Technical Publications

My Javascript Madness pages discuss various topics relating to the joy and agony of Javascript programming. There is lots of discussion of browser incompatibilities in mouse and key event handling, and a smat