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The Architects of Halloween. (Updated)

Nov 06, 1998, 13:00 (68 Talkback[s])

Here's an in-depth look at the personalities behind the Halloween documents.

By Dave Whitinger

Many people have written in with new information (isn't cooperative development great?), hence I have updated this page with the latest word.

Vinod Valloppillil, a Microsoft employee, has recently become famous for writing an internal Microsoft memorandum outlining (in incredible detail) Linux, Perl, Apache, Sendmail, and other Open Source projects.

Vinod is obviously versed in the open HTTP protocol, as evidenced by his various posts to the ircache and HTTP-wg lists. He is also known to lurk on other lists, including the NETSYS Firewall list.

Vinod received a BSEcon Degree and a BS Systems Engineering Degree from the University of Pennsylvania before accepting his position with Microsoft. He originally started work at Microsoft as an intern working on the MS SNA Server and is currently on the Microsoft Proxy Server team. It appears that he is known internally as an expert in Open Standards and protocols.

He has authored the following Internet Drafts:

This in-depth knowledge of protocols could by useful to a company interested in embracing and extending (read: de-commoditizing) Internet protocols.

But what of the incredible insight into Linux and other Open Source projects? How involved is Vinod in all of this? Who else is involved?

Could David Dawson (Texan--CS degree from UT Austin) and Randy Chapman (rumoured to have worked on the original port of Java to Linux) have been involved? (With their exposure to Linux dating back to 1993, I'm surprised to see that they are not mentioned in the Halloween document).

Among the people listed at the bottom of the document:

  • Nat Brown: (MS Lead Program Mgr--OLE/COM) has given a presentation to the W3 organization.. He is also considered a CORBA expert, as evidenced by this Usenix Windows NT Workshop. He has also defended Microsoft's ActiveX in this posting to the advanced-java mailing list. In 1996, he spoke at ISPCon about ActiveX and Internet Protocols.
  • Josh Cohen: Has posted an encouraging note to the linux-kernel list. Rumor has it that he was previously a Netscape employee, regularly attends IETF meetings and is active in the HTTP and web-related groups.
  • George Spix: An Altavista search shows this page describing an internal Microsoft page, but the link is dead. From this we know that at one point, there was an internal MS page that mentioned Linux and this fellow's name together.
  • Michael Nelson: Altavista finds 67 webpages, many leading to posts made to linux-kernel and Big-Linux. In addition there are several web pages that suggest he is involved with Windows NT, OLE, BSD UNIX, and Linux Development. His name is common, however, so the possibility exists that there are different Michael Nelsons.
  • David Treadwell: Has co-authored the book Windows Sockets: An Open Interface for Network Programming under Microsoft Windows, January 1993. (Link)
  • Oshoma Momoh: A graduate in mathematics at the University of Waterloo, is now a Program Manager with Microsoft.
  • David Gunter: Appears to have written the QUE book, Special Edition: Using Linux. He appears to have once been an enormous advocate of Linux.
  • Bernard Aboba: Appears to be interested in the MBONEd mailing list, has written the FAQ for the comp.protocols.tcp-ip.ibmpc newsgroup, and previously held an MS position of shepherding the porting of various products to OS/2. Used to be an active member of BMUG (Berkeley Macintosh Users Group) and thus was a serious Macintosh advocate for many years.
  • Jim Allchin: Microsoft's "Senior Vice President, Personal and Business Systems Group". He's the executive responsible for all the various flavors of Windows, including WinNT.
  • Ben Slivka: According to a deposition in late 1997, he is "Project Leader at Microsoft with responsibility for designing the next-generation user interfaces for Windows... employed by Microsoft as a software developer since June 1985. From the summer of 1994 until August 1996,... Project Leader in Microsoft's development of the Internet Explorer feature of Windows 95. "
  • Stephanie Ferguson: Previously a Product Manager for the Proxy Server, was promoted to NT 5.0, and is now in a position with the Server Systems group. She's a manager, rather than an engineer.
  • Charlie Kindel: Co-authored the DCOM specification and makes frequent posts to comp.os.ms-windows.programming.ole.
  • Dwight Krossa: Internet product manager in the desktop and business systems division at Microsoft Corp. Was quoted as saying, "By using ISAPI, WebMaster is providing our customers with a NNTP solution which is tightly integrated with Internet Information Server, enabling customers to seamlessly access news groups."

The memo makes mention of "Printed copies for PaulMa review". PaulMa would be Paul Maritz, one of the eight members of the Microsoft Executive Committee, along with Gates, Ballmer, Herbold, Higgins, Myhrvold, Allchin, and Raikes.

Thanks to all for the feedback we've received to help make this research more complete. We feel that in competing with Microsoft, we must be knowledgable of their talent.