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Theo de Raadt gets 2004 FSF Award 233

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the big-fancy-awards dept.
Caligari writes "Richard Stallman, presents this year's award to Theo de Raadt. "For recognition as founder and project leader of the OpenBSD and OpenSSH projects. Theo de Raadt's work has also led to significant contributions to GNU/Linux and other BSD distributions. Of particular note is Theo's work on OpenSSH. Theo's leadership of OpenBSD, his selfless commitment to Free Software and his advancement of network security, were cited by this year's award committee.""
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Theo de Raadt gets 2004 FSF Award

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  • Linus Torvalds? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 27, 2005 @10:42AM (#11793766)
    Looking at past winners, no doubt they all deserve it .. but what about Linus Torvalds?
    Is there a reason he didnt get this award?

    That said .. OpenSSH rocks. Theo de Raadt and everyone else who contributes to OpenSSH should be proud.
    • Re:Linus Torvalds? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Hope Thelps (322083) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @10:54AM (#11793816)
      Looking at past winners, no doubt they all deserve it .. but what about Linus Torvalds?
      Is there a reason he didnt get this award?


      I don't know whether this is still the policy, but from memory they originally aimed for this award to go to people who hadn't already received other awards for their work on free software. Linus has so wouldn't be eligible.
      • Re:Linus Torvalds? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Pflipp (130638)
        Another reason could be that Linus is an a-political OSS writer, while the FS Award seems to be oriented at ideology. Last year's winner, IIRC, was Lawrence Lessig. I've never used a line of software he's written, but he's going all the way for FS ideology.

        Nevertheless, there's no such thing as a perfect match for an award winner (prove the Nobel Prices for Peace :p), and it cannot be denied that Linus has done his share.
        • Re:Linus Torvalds? (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Hope Thelps (322083)
          Another reason could be that Linus is an a-political OSS writer, while the FS Award seems to be oriented at ideology. Last year's winner, IIRC, was Lawrence Lessig. I've never used a line of software he's written, but he's going all the way for FS ideology.

          I'd say that Theo is much further from the FSF's ideology than Linus is. Linus at least likes the GPL.
          • Re:Linus Torvalds? (Score:5, Informative)

            by 808140 (808140) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @11:40AM (#11793998)
            Hardly. Theo wouldn't give a free software award to RMS, perhaps, because he considers GPL licensed code to be less than Free, but RMS considers BSD-licensed code to be Free, and he's the one giving the award.

            Despite their differing views on what constitutes Free Software, though, both men are largely motivated by ideology. Consider Theo's reaction to the ipf debacle, his response to the XFree86 license change, and his appeal to the community to help fight the good fight against wlan cards that require non-freely redistributable binary firmware to function. This man is every bit as committed to software freedom as RMS is.

            Linus, on the other hand, has stated publically on many occasions that he sees nothing wrong with proprietary software, and uses BitKeeper (a proprietary version control solution) to manage the Linux kernel tree (rather than say, CVS or Subversion) because, in his words, "it's better".

            Without passing judgement, it is very clear that Linus values convenience above principle. This is part of the reason so many Slashbots like him: he is, in their minds, "refreshingly" a-political.

            Whatever their differences, RMS and Theo are both idealistic. They are primarily motivated by their desire for Freedom, not because they want to produce the best system ever (although that may be true as well).

            To me, RMS giving TdR this award is absolutely appropriate, and while I didn't expect it, I'm very pleased. I would be very surprised if Linus were named, and to be honest, I would be a little disappointed.

            Not that I have anything against Linus, mind you -- he's a brilliant guy -- but at the core, he's an engineer, and so awarding him for his commitment to the ideology of Free Software would go rather against the grain, imho.
            • Re:Linus Torvalds? (Score:5, Insightful)

              by epine (68316) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @01:41PM (#11794852)

              I've been personally involved with all these technologies. In my shop, we run two OpenBSD firewalls, one on each available broadband service. Our automated build system is based on SCons, and our scripts make heavy use of rsync internally. Our embedded surveillance project runs Linux which we compile in a chroot build environment along the lines of scratchbox (but scratchbox didn't exist when we started). We also have an ARM7 microcontroller in our product running on top of the GNU tools compilation environment, with some structural similarities to eCos/Redboot. Have I missed anyone?

              I have a coworker here educated at the U. of Calgary (where I grew up myself) who knows (but does not enjoy) Theo through overlapping social circles. We had a short debate just a few weeks ago over a spicy Sichuan lunch special about where the boundaries between competence and personality belong. My coworker suggested "couldn't he accomplish as much without pissing people off?" I countered, "for someone with a knack for pissing people off, he retains some of the smartest out there within his circle. How does he do that?" There's a line I once read in Drucker that I've taken to heart "you're not in business to win friends". For me, the bottom line is that Theo delivers, and I admire the end results of his zealous rigour (regardless of where one might choose to draw the line between those qualities).

              Before I became involved in this shop, I studied computational linguistics, which brought me into contact with just about everything in the area from which rsync originated. I was depressed that Tridge had to lose the award he deserves as much (well, almost as much, although it pains me to say it).

              I've read all the benchmarks over the past year that show how OpenBSD is as slow as a senile dog. Whatever. For the purpose we employ those boxes, we've never had an iota of concern over performance level except for the negotiation phase on https. Guess what? Once Via/IBM finally coughs up the C7 Esther, OpenBSD running on a steroid enhanced 486 will crush the most expensive present day Pentium IV on our most essential performance metric.

              The odd thing about OpenBSD, which many people never manage to assimilate, is that you have to look at that project through a very narrow gun turret to realize just how much they accomplish by entirely ignoring the whingings from everyone else.

              It's an odd day in my personal universe to see RMS pat Theo on the back. I guess it takes one to know one after all.
            • Re:Linus Torvalds? (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Santana (103744)

              Whatever their differences, RMS and Theo are both idealistic. They are primarily motivated by their desire for Freedom, not because they want to produce the best system ever (although that may be true as well).

              I agree on everything else but that paragraph. BSD (and so TdR) is all about making ALL software BETTER. That is the importance of free sofware in the BSD cosmovision.

            • Without passing judgement, it is very clear that Linus values convenience above principle. This is part of the reason so many Slashbots like him: he is, in their minds, "refreshingly" a-political.

              I forgot to include this in my previous follow-up: it seems quite a political statement to me to favor convenience above software freedom. I'd hardly call Torvalds apolitical, I'd say that his views are the views people have been taught to value--use what helps you get jobs done, push aside any other concern

    • Re:Linus Torvalds? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by HanB (774214)
      I don't agree with modding down the parent.

      You get a reward to be put in the spotlight. To introduce someone you didn't really know or did not yet see the full quality of his work.

      Linus is already fully in the spotlight.

    • by fanatic (86657) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @11:12AM (#11793889)
      Not until he changes his name to GNU/Linus.

      JUST KIDDING!

  • He deserves it ! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rainer_d (115765) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @10:42AM (#11793768) Homepage
    Whatever you think about his personality - I think most people vastly underestimate the contributions OpenBSD makes to the Free Software World.
    Not only from a pure lines-of-code point-of-view, but also by the way the OpenBSD-project scrutinizes licenses and pushes security and cryptography forward every day.

    Congratulations, Theo - keep on fighting !

    • i was just about say something along these lines. Theo can turn folks who encounter him for the first time, but i gotta tell ya, i sleep better at night with a stripped, clean, secure OpenBSD firewall. i give money to the FSF, i think OpenBSD is deserving of my monetary support as well. Glad to see this type of recognition for his work :)
    • But as far as I've read, it doesn't seem like any upstream providers (ipf, Apache, Bind, etc...) accept their packages. OpenBSD is making extremely secure software and an extremely secure system, but few people seem to be accepting their help.
      • Everyone and their cousin includes OpenSSH in the base install these days.

        pf is now available for FreeBSD and NetBSD, so some of this work benefits other people.

      • by OttoM (467655)
        Not true. A lot of upstream providers (sendmail, bind and more) have taken diffs submitted by OpenBSD developers. Apache is an exception.
  • by Mr Ambersand (862402) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @10:42AM (#11793769)
    ..by refusing the award on the grounds that the GNU license "isn't free enough". ;-)
  • He killed telnet! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ftoomch (700184) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @10:47AM (#11793791)

    Imagine a world without the networking Swiss Army knife that is ssh.

    OpenBSD is a totally underrated OS too. Even if it is a bit slow, its packet filter actually works.

    • Re:He killed telnet! (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Err, the Swiss army knife of networking is netcat, not ssh. And besides, Theo has nothing to do with the creation of ssh. He (and dozens others, of course) implemented a free version of it. So, if anyone, it was Tatu Ylonen who killed telnet.
      • by ftoomch (700184)
        I didn't realize that the netcat people had trademarked that name. Seriously though, I just used this metaphor to show that ssh is not just a secure way to log in to some server (and I have heard it referred to as a Swiss Army knife before, by the O'Reilly people no less).

        I didn't say he did invent ssh, but I believe he has been the main popularizer of it by giving all and sundry a free version of it.

        • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Sunday February 27, 2005 @02:49PM (#11795289) Homepage Journal
          ssh is a sort of Unix remote swiss army knife, whereas netcat is the TCP/IP swiss army knife. (Maybe UDP too, I have to admit I've never used netcat and only read the manpage once or twice.) ssh does everything rsh did, plus what rlogin does, plus it lets you create encrypted tunnels. That's pretty amazing. You can use ssh to move files from one system to another like so:

          tar cvfz - files | ssh user@host '( cd /where/I/want/files ; tar xvfz - )'

          In other words, the same thing as rsh, except it's encrypted which means you can safely use it over the internet. rsh brought computers on a given network together, and ssh brings computers cross WANs together. Sure you can do the same stuff with rsh, and then get rooted.

          • Why not just use the scp (secure copy) command?
            • Piping a tar through ssh is much faster than scp when copying multiple files. Granted, you could tar the files, then scp the tar, but this avoids that necessity. Also, if the copy fails in the middle, you can do a find on the target location, put the results in a file, and ship that off to gnu tar as a list of files to exclude so you can pick up where you left off.
              • rsync (Score:3, Interesting)

                by ansible (9585)

                Or you could just use rsync over ssh instead:

                rsync -av -e ssh local_directory/ user@remote_host:remote_directory/

                And if the rsync dies, you just run the same command again.

                Much less typing. :-)

                • Yeah, I think my brain is full because I can never remember the switches I want for rsync and consequently it's faster to just tar. I just made an alias, though, maybe I'll remember to use it next time I want to copy a bunch of files.
          • netcat is the TCP/IP swiss army knife. (Maybe UDP too, I have to admit I've never used netcat and only read the manpage once or twice.)

            Yes, netcat does UDP too. It's funny that you are promoting it here, having never used it... Says a lot about /. doesn't it?

            Netcat is a great tool, and has many uses. However, SSH is every bit as useful, if not moreso. SSH can forward every network protocol around, and it's uses are just as many as netcat. Infact, I know of numerous circumstances where you might use n

      • Err, the Swiss army knife of networking is netcat.

        While netcat describes itself as a swiss-army knife, ssh has a nice set of tools.

        Lets say I bring my laptop to a cybercafe, and I realize I want to check my email at home. I can ssh to my server (all ports blocked except 22), and forward ports 25 and 143 to my laptop.

        After I'm done reading my email, I may want to launch an X client from my desktop. 'ssh -X -C server', then on the server, 'ssh -X desktop' and launch my client.

        What about doing

      • He (and dozens others, of course) implemented a free version of it.

        It's not even his implementation originally. OpenSSH is a fork of the original ssh.com code before it went closed source. I do imagine many parts of it have been rewritten though.
      • by evilviper (135110)

        Theo has nothing to do with the creation of ssh. He (and dozens others, of course) implemented a free version of it. So, if anyone, it was Tatu Ylonen who killed telnet.

        They (Theo isn't the only one developing it) based OpenSSH on the free original, which implimented only SSH-1. They've implimented SSH2 functionality on their own, and in many cases added functionality not found in the SSH.com version.

        Now, I think the OpenSSH team has earned the title of killers of telnet, because few people were adopting

  • Watch out! (Score:3, Funny)

    by JM (18663) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @10:48AM (#11793796) Homepage
    Eventually, Stallman is going to ask us to call it Gnu/OpenBSD ;-)
    • Re:Watch out! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by slavemowgli (585321) * on Sunday February 27, 2005 @11:03AM (#11793858) Homepage
      Unlikely. The BSD people are actively working to replace every GNU utility still in the system with a BSD-licensed version - look at the changelogs for OpenBSD, for example, and you'll occasionally see an entry mentioning that this or that has been replaced.
      • Good luck with that BSD-licensed C compiler. GCC's had/has issues, but that's a big lump of code to replace.

        • Good luck with that BSD-licensed C compiler. GCC's had/has issues, but that's a big lump of code to replace.

          I'm not quite sure how you meant that to sound, but it does seem like you don't realize a BSD C compiler has been in the works for quite some time, and has been recieving more and more attention/support lately...

          Specifically http://www.tendra.org/
    • Only on slashdot does a post like parent not get modded down as troll.

      Have some fucking gratitude.
  • Previous winners of the Free Software Award * 2003 Alan Cox * 2002 Lawrence Lessig * 2001 Guido van Rossum * 2000 Brian Paul * 1999 Miguel de Icaza * 1998 Larry Wall Why he is no yet on the list?. May be because his public use of some proprietary software
    • by Mr Ambersand (862402) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @10:59AM (#11793835)
      Why he is no yet on the list?. May be because his public use of some proprietary software

      From the beginning, Linus has held the posistion of "eh, whatever" with regards to software freedom. He'll take advantage of it, but he's been very clear on where exactly software freedom is in his list of priorties (which is: below convience).

      In contrast Theo has re-written whole parts of his operating system (pf and OpenSSH) for the sake of being able to give away an entirely free-for-any-use operating system.

      While Linus has made an invaluble contribution to Open Source, Theo has proven time and time again to be a strong and active advocate for Free Software (with a capital 'F').
      • by Anonymous Coward
        In contrast Theo has re-written whole parts of his operating system (pf and OpenSSH) ...

        OpenSSH, hardly. In README in OpenSSH 3.9 source code:

        OpenSSH is a derivative of the original and free ssh 1.2.12 release
        by Tatu Ylonen. Aaron Campbell, Bob Beck, Markus Friedl, Niels
        Provos, Theo de Raadt and Dug Song removed many bugs, re-added newer
        features and created OpenSSH. Markus Friedl contributed the support
        for SSH protocol versions 1.5 and 2.0.

    • Yes, I agree. Bill Gates definitely deserves an award, too! :)
  • Theo is a good candidate for this award. He is dedicated to creating a free, secure operating system that includes only truly Free software.

    Of course, Theo can be acrimonious, but that doesn't change if contribution to Free software.
  • Congrads Theo! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WillRobinson (159226) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @10:57AM (#11793827) Journal
    I use Linux every day, and appreciate the fact that I have a good method to connect to my servers in a secure manner, thanks to Theo.

    And I want to thank him for his other contributions, as it has made me some good cash, installing BSD boxes in front of Windows email servers with packet filtering!

    Again Thanks Theo. I wish this type of stuff could reach more mainstream news, but we can all know just like other major happenings in the world, there is a army of unsung heros who make things happen.
  • by Mr Ambersand (862402) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @11:12AM (#11793892)
    Reading this FAQ entry [gnu.org] should shed some light on why linus has never been, and probably will never be up for this award.
    • That FAQ entry has nothing to do with Linus. As others have pointed out, people like Linus (and RMS himself), who have already received other awards for their contributions, are not eligible [gnu.org].

      I don't know how they decide that Theo or Guido or whoever is eligible (I'm sure they've received awards, though possibly of much less significance).

  • ...that the FSF honors a developer who releases his work under a non-copyleft (=the BSD) license and whose main project is an operating system alternative to GNU and Linux.
    • The two clause BSD license is GPL compatible.

      The split between GNU and BSD is largely historical; BSD wasn't a full OS, rather just enhancements atop Unix (which you needed an AT&T license to run, and couldn't modify). By the time the BSD lawsuit was fleshed out and the BSD license made free, the GNU project was already well underway.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 27, 2005 @11:19AM (#11793920)
    If you want to learn more about the great work these guys do in networking and security, check out the OpenBSD Events [openbsd.org] page for upcoming talks by the developers themselves.

    There will be a number of talks this week in Dublin, Ireland from Theo de Raadt, Henning Brauer and Ryan McBride which are open to the public and completely free of charge!

  • I find this entirely ironic. I'd love to see de Raadt accept the award from Stallman personally. I would bet de Raadt's reaction would be memorable.

    That said, this is awesome. de Raadt definitely deserves the award for all the hard work he's given to the community.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 27, 2005 @12:56PM (#11794467)

    Richard: "We have gathered here to honor another Free Software giant. Ladies (hello you two geeky, but quite cute girls in the back) and gentlemen, I hereby present this award to Theo de -"
    Theo: "What?! An award??? I thought we were going to discuss you ditching GNU/Hurd and adopting OpenBSD as its replacement?! You got me here under false pretense, I can't fucking believe this!!!"
    Richard: "Well, we knew you wouldn't have come otherwise, so I -"
    Theo: "Do you realize you robbed me out of a whole day of code auditing?! Do you?! That's it, I'm suing!"
    Richard: "What do you mean, you don't even have an account and I don't give out root - "
    Theo: "Ohhh, veeery funny! I'm taking you to the bank for everything you've got, buddy!"
    Richard: "Well, then I should just give you the $2.49 because that's all I got."
    Theo: "No, here's $10, now go and have that beard trimmed for the love of everything you GNU! You look like a damned hobo!"
    Richard: "Well, actually, purely technically speaking, I am as free as a hobo, except that I smell nice."

    • From every person that I know that got the "privilege" to meet RMS in person the expression "smelling nice" usually is not in their description...

      Neither is "smelling like the wino down the street" but still...

      • From every person that I know that got the "privilege" to meet RMS in person the expression "smelling nice" usually is not in their description...

        A few years ago, RMS was in Oxford, UK for some talks he was doing. His accomodation fell through, so I offered to put him up in my flat for a few days. My abiding memories of his stay are that he drank gallons of herbal tea and took really long showers. In fact he was quite bemused by how small the typical British hot water tank is, as it meant he couldn't sh

  • Theo deserves a lot of recognition for his technical achievements and his commitment to freedom. Getting this award proves that you can blow off everyone in the world except your personal fanboys and still be a success.

    My company based a commercial product on O-BSD, then converted to Linux when it became clear that Theo doesn't know how to anchor a diverse community. We even tried to fund his project but never got past being personally abused.
  • by xmp_phrack (795665) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @07:42PM (#11797699)
    i'm going to release an OpenBSD remote root

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