on the edge

computers & technology, books & writing, civilisation & society, cars & stuff

Greg Black

gjb at gbch dot net
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If you’re not living life on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.

FQE30 at Qld Raceway 25 May 2003


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Worthy organisations

Amnesty International Australia — global defenders of human rights

global defenders of human rights

Médecins Sans Frontières — help us save lives around the world

Médecins Sans Frontières - help us save lives around the world

Electronic Frontiers Australia — protecting and promoting on-line civil liberties in Australia

Electronic Frontiers Australia


(Coming soon…)


(Coming soon…)


(Coming soon…)

Software resources

GNU Emacs


The FreeBSD Project

Sat, 26 Jun 2004

Usenix snuggles up to the dark side

I’ve been a member of Usenix for ages and continue to find value in its publications and some of its other services. Being a believer in the idea that democracy only works if people participate, I am conscientious about voting in the elections for the Usenix board.

But this year, when the election was announced, I was quite irritated to discover that the sole candidate offered to us for the position of president was Michael B. Jones from Microsoft Research. We could vote for him or abstain. (In case it’s unfamiliar to you, the Usenix method is to appoint a “Nominating Committee” whose job is to propose “a slate of board members for the membership’s consideration.”)

As is my way, I whined about this at the time, but my letter was neither acknowledged nor printed in any Usenix documents that I could find. And, not surprisingly, when the election results were announced recently, Mike Jones was elected as the next president.

In past elections, when we had candidates such as Kirk McKusick—the outgoing president—I was prepared to put up with this peculiar system. But when it allows somebody whose professional life is bound up with an organisation which wants to destroy Unix and Linux and the Open Source and Free Software world, then I think it just stinks.

Since Usenix would not let me express these thoughts inside their fora, I’ll just have to do it here. Hardly anybody will read it, but it’s the best I can do for now.

Footnote: I have nothing against Mike Jones personally. I don’t know him; I don’t know anything about his work beyond what I just discovered via Google. I don’t think he should be president of Usenix. He’s written lots of papers and worked on a variety of stuff, mostly uninteresting. He was “one of the primary technical reviewers for the POSIX threads (pthreads) standard (ISO/IEC 9945-1:1996 a.k.a. P1003.1c)” which seems like another reason to dislike him. He was a joint author of a paper that got the “best student paper award” at the Second USENIX Windows NT Symposium. This was in August 1998. So he was still a student about five minutes ago; and he’s worked at Microsoft forever. It looks worse, now that I know more. I think I’ll stop my research now. Oh, and he also … No, really, I won’t go there.

And, before anybody sets me straight, I know he’s not quite as young as I painted him above, but this is the place where I get to say what I want.