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GNU Project and Kerberos Developers Receive USENIX Achievement Awards

Jun 29, 2001, 15:15 (4 Talkback[s])

Press Release -- Boston, MA -- The USENIX Association today named the GNU Project and its contributors as recipients of its prestigious USENIX Lifetime Achievement Award. The announcement was made just before the keynote address at the USENIX Annual Technical Conference where the developers of Kerberos were also awarded the Software Tools User Group (STUG) award.

"The contributions of these two groups to the technical community have been incredible. The Lifetime Achievement and STUG awards are simply a way for the technical community to thank them for the invaluable tools and resources they have given us," said Andrew Hume, Vice President of the USENIX Association. "It's difficult to imagine how most of us could do systems work without using GNU Project derived tools."

The GNU Project was started in 1984 by Richard M. Stallman, taking up the challenge of developing a UNIX-like operating system that is completely Free Software -- freely redistributable, and modifiable by all of its users. Today, the GNU system is widely used as part of the GNU/Linux system. GNU/Linux is the integrated combination of the GNU operating system with the kernel, Linux, written by Linus Torvalds in 1991. Now that the core operating system is completed, the GNU Project continues to develop user-space software for GNU/Linux users.

"Software freedom succeeds. Without freedom, no one could have written the many utilities and other applications in GNU/Linux," said Robert J. Chassell, who accepted the award for the GNU Project. "But freedom needs to be defended; and the defense of freedom is expensive. There are those who want to limit what students may study, limit what programmers may write, and limit what you and others may share or purchase. We must continue to preserve and advance freedom for users and programmers."

Kerberos was developed in much the same fashion as the GNU system. Created by a team of contributors from Project Athena at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), it was made freely available and has since been incorporated into many operating system products, both commercial and non-commercial. Kerberos was the first widely deployed network authentication system to assume that security risks were higher from people inside a network rather than outside. The Kerberos authentication system uses cryptography to authenticate users to a server and exchanges encryption keys that can be used to encrypt subsequent communication, providing privacy and data integrity during the course of business.

"We made a decision very early on in the development of Kerberos to make the source code freely available and to allow royalty free integration with commercial and non-commercial systems," said Clifford Newman, who accepted the award for the Kerberos contributors. "This decision contributed significantly to the success of Kerberos. It's ironic that most users of Kerberos don't even know they are using it."

The awards kicked off USENIX Annual Technical Conference, now in its 26th consecutive year, included four best paper acknowledgments:

-- "Virtualizing I/O Devices on VMware Workstation's Hosted Virtual Machine Monitor" by Jeremy Sugerman, Ganesh Venkitachalam, Beng-Hong Lim

-- "A Toolkit for User-level Filesystems" by David Mazieres

-- "Nickle: Language Principles and Pragmatics" by Bart Massey and Keith Packard

-- "MEF: Malicious Email Filter" by Student Authors: Matthew G. Schultz and Eleazar Eskin, together with Erez Zadok and Manasi Bhattacharyya

"This is a conference that selected 48 excellent papers out of 138 submissions. Our program reflects the newest technology as well as the luminaries in the industry," said Yoonho Park, USENIX 2001 Program Chair. "Winning a best paper award amid such competition means your work is going to move technology forward. And that's what this conference is all about."

The USENIX Annual Technical Conference continues in Boston, Massachusetts from June 28 - 30, 2001. Information about USENIX Awards and Recipients is available online at www.usenix.org/directory/awards.html and www.usenix.org/directory/stug.html.

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About the USENIX Association
USENIX is the Advanced Computing Systems Association. For over 25 years, it has been the leading community for engineers, system administrators, scientists, and technician working on the cutting edge of the computing world. USENIX conferences are the essential meeting grounds for the presentation and discussion of technical advances in all aspects of computing systems. For more information about the USENIX Association, visit http://www.usenix.org