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Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution

Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution

1st Edition January 1999
1-56592-582-3, Order Number: 5823
280 pages, $24.95



Brian Behlendorf is not the normal person's idea of a hacker. He is a co-founder and a core member of the Apache Group. Apache is the open-source web server that runs a 53% of the web servers on the publicly accessible Internet. This means that this free program enjoys greater market share than offerings from Microsoft, Netscape, and all other vendors combined.

Brian has worked on Apache for four years, helping to guide the growth of the project along with other members of the Apache team. What began as an interesting experiment is now a finely crafted, full-featured web server.

He is not alone in this book in his dedication to music, but he is probably the only one who has organized raves or DJ'd for parties. His web site,, is a marvelous music, rave, and club resource site. He likes to read, lately reading outside of the computing field and enjoying the Capra's Tao of Physics and Chomsky's Secrets, Lies and Democracy.

In late 1998, IBM announced support for Apache on its high-end AS/400 line, a true watershed event for the Apache Project. Brian commented on IBM's move by saying he was "Happy that I wasn't the only one who thought there might be a business case for this. Not just fun to work on, but a model for business. People are coming around do see that Open Source is in fact a better way to do things on the computer, that it is healthy and can be profitable."

Scott Bradner has been involved in the design, operation, and use of data networks at Harvard University since the early days of the ARPAnet. He was involved in the design of the Harvard High-Speed Data Network (HSDN), the Longwood Medical Area network (LMAnet), and NEARNET. He was founding chair of the technical committees of LMAnet, NEARNET, and CoREN.

Scott is the codirector of the Transport Area in the IETF, a member of the IESG, and an elected trustee of the Internet Society where he serves as the Vice President for Standards. He was also codirector of the IETF IP next generation effort and is coeditor of IPng: Internet Protocol Next Generation from Addison-Wesley.

Scott is a senior technical consultant at the Harvard Office of the Provost, where he provides technical advice and guidance on issues relating to the Harvard data networks and new technologies. He also manages the Harvard Network Device Test Lab, is a frequent speaker at technical conferences, a weekly columnist for Network World, an instructor for Interop, and does a bit of independent consulting on the side.

Jim Hamerly is a Vice President in the Client Products Division of Netscape Communications Corporation. In June of 1997 Netscape acquired DigitalStyle Corporation, where Jim was a co-founder, president, and CEO.

Prior to founding DigitalStyle, he was Vice President, Engineering, of Pages Software, Inc. where he managed the development of Pages, a desktop publishing tool, and WebPages, the first WYSIWYG web authoring tool.

Jim spent 15 years with Xerox in various R&D and product development activities, most recently as Deputy Chief Engineer of XSoft, a software division of Xerox Corporation, where he was responsible for four software product lines.

Jim holds B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT, UC Berkeley, and Carnegie Mellon University.

Kirk McKusick writes books and articles, consults, and teaches classes on Unix- and BSD-related subjects. While at the University of California at Berkeley, he implemented the 4.2BSD fast file system, and was the Research Computer Scientist at the Berkeley Computer Systems Research Group (CSRG) overseeing the development and release of 4.3BSD and 4.4BSD. His particular areas of interest are the virtual-memory system and the filesystem. One day, he hopes to see them merged seamlessly. He earned his undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University, and did his graduate work at the University of California at Berkeley, where he received Masters degrees in Computer Science and Business Administration, and a doctoral degree in Computer Science. He is a past president of the Usenix Association, and is a member of ACM and IEEE.

In his spare time, he enjoys swimming, scuba diving, and wine collecting. The wine is stored in a specially constructed wine cellar (accessible from the Web at in the basement of the house that he shares with Eric Allman, his domestic partner of 19-and-some-odd years.

Tim O'Reilly is the founder and CEO of O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., the publisher whose books are considered the definitive works on Open Source technologies such as Perl, Linux, Apache, and the Internet infrastructure. Tim convened the first "Open Source Summit" to bring together the leaders of major Open Source communities, and has been active in promoting the Open Source movement through writing, speaking, and conferences. He is also a trustee of the Internet Society.


Tom Paquin first joined IBM Research to work on a project involving parallel processors, but ended up doing a bitmapped graphics accelerator (AMD 29116-based) for the then-new PC. After tinkering on X6 and X9 at MIT and Brown University, he was part of the effort to ship the first-ever commercial X11 with Carnegie Mellon University.

Tom joined Silicon Graphics, Inc. (SGI) in May 1989, where he had the unlucky task of integrating the GL and X. He joined Jim Clark and Marc Andreesson at Netscape in April 1994. He was the very first engineering manager, guiding his team through the 1.0 and 2.0 releases of Mozilla. Now a Netscape fellow, he works on as the manager, problem arbitrator, and mysterious political leader.

Bruce Perens has been a long-time advocate for Linux and open-source software. Until 1997 Bruce headed the Debian Project, an all- volunteer effort to create a distribution of Linux based entirely on open-source software.

While working on the Debian Project, Bruce helped craft the Debian Social Contract, a statement of conditions under which software could be considered sufficiently freely licensed to be included in the Debian distribution. The Debian Social Contract is a direct ancestor of today's Open Source Definition.

After stepping down from the stewardship of Debian, Bruce continued his efforts at Open Source evangelism by creating and leading Software in the Public Interest, and by creating, with Eric Raymond, the Open Source Initiative.

When not actively evangelizing Open Source software, Bruce works at Pixar Animation Studios.

Eric Steven Raymond is a long-time hacker who has been observing and taking part in the Internet and hacker culture with wonder and fascination since the ARPAnet days in the late 1970s. He had lived on three continents and forgotten two languages before he turned fourteen, and he likes to think that this fostered his anthropological way of viewing the world.

He studied mathematics and philosophy before being seduced by computers, and has also enjoyed some success as a musician (playing flute on two albums). Several of his open-source projects are carried by all major Linux distributions. The best known of these is probably fetchmail, but he also contributed extensively to GNU Emacs and ncurses and is currently the termcap maintainer, one of those truly thankless jobs that is important to do well. Eric also holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and shoots pistols for relaxation. His favorite gun is the classic 1911-pattern .45 semiautomatic.

Among his writing credits, he has written/compiled The New Hackers Dictionary and co-authored the O'Reilly book Learning GNU Emacs. In 1997, he posted an essay on the Web titled "The Cathedral and the Bazaar," which is considered a key catalyst in leading Netscape to open the source code up for their browser.

Since then Eric has been deftly surfing the Open Source software wave. Recently, he broke the story on a series of internal Microsoft memos regarding Linux and the threat Microsoft perceives in open-source software. These so-called Halloween Documents (dubbed so because of their date of initial discovery, October 31st) were both a source of humor and the first confirmed reaction that the large software conglomerate has shown to the Open Source phenomenon.

Every person in this in book one way or another owes a debt to Richard Stallman (RMS) . 15 years ago, he started the GNU project, to protect and foster the development of free software. A stated goal of the project was to develop an entire operating system and complete sets of utilities under a free and open license so that no one would ever have to pay for software again.

In 1991, Stallman received the prestigious Grace Hopper Award from the Association for Computing Machinery for his development of the Emacs editor. In 1990 he was awarded a MacArthur Foundation fellowship. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden in 1996. In 1998 he shared with Linus Torvalds the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Pioneer award.

He is now more widely known for his evangelism of free software than the code he helped create.

Like anyone utterly devoted to a cause, Stallman has stirred controversy in the community he is a part of. His insistence that the term "Open Source software" is specifically designed to quash the freedom-related aspects of free software is only one of the many stances that he has taken of late that has caused some to label him an extremist. He takes it all in stride, as anyone can testify who as seen him don the garb of his alter ego, Saint GNUtias of the Church of Emacs.

Many have said, "If Richard did not exist, it would have been necessary to invent him." This praise is an honest acknowledgment of the fact that the Open Source movement could not have happened without the Free Software movement that Richard popularizes and evangelizes even today.

In addition to his political stance, Richard is known for a number of software projects. The two most prominent projects are the GNU C compiler (GCC) and the Emacs editor. GCC is by far the most ported, most popular compiler in the world. But far and wide, RMS is known for the Emacs editor. Calling Emacs editor an editor is like calling the Earth a nice hunk of dirt. Emacs is an editor, a web browser, a news reader, a mail reader, a personal information manager, a typesetting program, a programming editor, a hex editor, a word processor, and a number of video games. Many programmers use a kitchen sink as an icon for their copy of Emacs. There are many programmers who enter Emacs and don't leave to do anything else on the computer. Emacs, you'll find, isn't just a program, but a religion, and RMS is its saint.

Michael Tiemann is a founder of Cygnus Solutions. Michael began making contributions to the software development community through his work on the GNU C compiler (which he ported to the SPARC and several other RISC architectures), the GNU C++ compiler (which he authored), and the GDB debugger (which he enhanced to support the C++ programming language and ported to run on the SPARC). Unable to convince any existing companies to offer commercial support for this new "Open Source" software, he co-founded Cygnus Solutions in 1989. Today, Michael is a frequent speaker and panelist on open-source software and open-source business models, and he continues to look for technical and business solutions that will make the next ten years as exciting and rewarding as the last ten years.

Michael earned a B.S. degree in CSE in 1986 from the Moore School of Engineering, University of Pennsylvania. From 1986 to 1988, he worked at MCC in Austin Texas. In 1988, he entered the Stanford Graduate School (EE) and became a candidate for a Ph.D. in the spring of 1989. Michael withdrew from the Ph.D. program in the fall of 1989 to start Cygnus.

Who is Linus Torvalds ?

He created Linux, of course. This is like saying "Engelbart invented the mouse." I'm sure the long-term implications of the following email:

From: torvalds@klaava.Helsinki.FI (Linus Benedict Torvalds) Newsgroups: comp.os.minix Subject: Gcc-1.40 and a posix-question Message-ID: <1991Jul3.100050.9886@klaava.Helsinki.FI> Date: 3 Jul 91 10:00:50 GMT Hello netlanders, Due to a project I'm working on (in minix), I'm interested in the posix standard definition. Could somebody please point me to a (preferably) machine-readable format of the latest posix rules? Ftp-sites would be nice.

Never occurred to him.

Linus could not have foreseen that his project would go from being a small hobby to a major OS with from 7 million to 10 million adherents and a major competitor to the enterprise aspirations of the world's largest software company.

Since the mass adoption of Linux and its wildfire growth through the Internet--26% of the Internet's servers run Linux (the closest competitor is Microsoft with 23%)--Linus Torvalds' life has changed. He has moved from his native Finland to Silicon Valley, where he works for Transmeta Corporation. About his work at Transmeta, he will say only that it does not involve Linux, and that it is "very cool."

He has had two children and one patent (Memory Controller for a Microprocessor for Detecting a Failure of Speculation on the Physical Nature of a Component being Addressed), and has been a guest at the most prestigious event in Finland, the President's Independence Day Ball.

His personality won't let him take credit for something as his own when in fact it is not, and Linus is quick to point out that without the help of others, Linux would not be what it is today. Talented programmers like David Miller, Alan Cox, and others have all had instrumental roles in the success of Linux. Without their help and the help of countless others, the Linux OS would not have vaulted to the lofty heights it now occupies.

Paul Vixie is the head of Vixie Enterprises. He is also the President and Founder of the Internet Software Consortium, the home of bind, inn, and the dhcp server. Paul is the head architect of bind, which is the most popular implementation of DNS. Inn is the Internet news server package, and dhcp allows dynamic configuration of networking information.

He is the author of Vixie cron, which is the default cron daemon for Linux, and much of the rest of the world. This means he is probably responsible for the strange noises your computer makes at 1 a.m. every night.

Paul is the author of the book Sendmail: Theory and Practice. Paul's company also manages a network for the Commercial Internet Exchange, and leads the fight against spam with MAPS, the Mail Abuse Protection System, which is made up of a real-time blackhole list (where spammers have their email jettisoned into the almighty bit bucket), and a transport security initiative.

Larry Wall has authored some of the most popular open-source programs available for Unix, including the rn news reader, the ubiquitous patch program, and the Perl programming language. He's also known for metaconfig, a program that writes Configure scripts, and for the warp space-war game, the first version of which was written in BASIC/PLUS at Seattle Pacific University. By training Larry is actually a linguist, having wandered about both U.C. Berkeley and UCLA as a grad student. (Oddly enough, while at Berkeley, he had nothing to do with the Unix development going on there.)

Larry has been a programmer at JPL. He has also spent time at Unisys, playing with everything from discrete event simulators to software development methodologies. It was there, while trying to glue together a bicoastal configuration management system over a 1200-baud encrypted link using a hacked over version of Netnews, that Perl was born.

Presently Larry's services are retained by O'Reilly, where he consults on matters relating to Perl.

Bob Young has always been a something of an enigma and a legend in the Open Source community. He's a businessman, not a hacker, and has long been talked about in Linux circles as the mythical adult who kept those North Carolina kids at Red Hat in line.

Bob spent the first twenty years of his professional life in the computer leasing business, heading up two different firms before getting into the Linux world. He was the original publisher of Linux Journal before Phil Hughes and SSC took it over. Bob joined Red Hat with the promise that the then-members, led by Marc Ewing, wouldn't have to worry about managing the money side of the company. He applied the rules of branding more commonly associated with the Gap or Harley-Davidson to the world of free software, which is exactly what was needed for a company that packaged what is essentially a commodity: Open Source software.

Red Hat was originally going to build OEM Linux versions that they would supply to commercial OS companies, rather than directly marketing or retailing its own products. Only after these commercial partners failed to get their products to market on time did Red Hat retail its own distribution, so that the employees of Red Hat (so the story goes) would be assured enough money to eat.

Red Hat recently received funding from the venture capital world, and from Netscape and Intel. There's a nice irony to this confirmation of Red Hat's success, since it was never supposed to have its own retail products.

Chris DiBona has been using Linux since early 1995. He is very active in the Linux community. He volunteers as the Linux International webmaster and is also the Linux International grant development fund coordinator. He is proud to work as the Director of Linux Marketing for VA Research Linux systems ( and is the Vice President of the Silicon Valley Linux Users Group (the world's largest at

In addition to his Linux activities, his writings and book reviews have been featured in The Vienna Times, Linux Journal, Tech Week, Boot Magazine (now Maximum PC), and a number of online publications. Additionally, he was the editor for two years of the Terrorist Profile Weekly, a geopolitcal weekly with a subscriber base numbered at 20,000.

His personal web site can be found at and he can be reached via email at

Sam Ockman is the President of Penguin Computing, a company specializing in custom-built Linux systems. He's the chairman of LINC, the International Linux Conference and Exposition, which has merged with LinuxWorld. Sam is an expert on Linux system installation and configuration, and on Perl, which he has taught at the University of California, Berkeley Extension School. He also coordinates speakers for the Silicon Valley and Bay Area Linux User Groups. Sam has edited books on Unix and Perl, and writes a monthly column on Linux. He graduated from Stanford with degrees in Computer Systems Engineering and Political Science. Sam is very proud that while at Stanford he won the Ram's Head Dorthea Award for Best Actor in a Drama.

Mark Stone has been using Linux as his mainstay operating system since the 1.0.8 version of the kernel. He wrote his first large-scale program in the late 70s: an Algol compiler for the PDP-1170. These day he prefers scripting to compiling; his favorite language is Tcl.

Currently Mark is the Open Source editor for O'Reilly. Prior to joining the world of publishing he was a professor of philosophy, and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Rochester. During his tenure in academia, he studied chaos theory and philosophy of science. So in many ways, his work hasn't changed all that much.


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