Free Bird - Theo De Raadt


Hier noch eine weiter Beschreibung bei Forbes-Magazine. Wer keine Lust hat, sich erst einmal registrieren zu lassen, dem sei das Lesen dieses Artikels hier empfohlen.

Oder aber, benutzt den angebotenen Cheat-Link auf, um Forbes-Registrierung zu umgehen.

Aber, dies ist jetzt auch nicht mehr notwendig, da der Artikel ja hier sei:

Theo de Raadt makes the world's most hacker-proof operating system. And it costs nothing.
Theo De Raadt can't understand why people pay $50,000 for an antihacker firewall from Cisco Systems or Check Point when they could arguably get better protection using his software. And it's free.

De Raadt, 37, is a blunt-spoken, even obnoxious programmer who works out of his basement in Calgary. He is the chief author of one of the most airtight, hacker-proof operating systems ever created: OpenBSD. Bolstered by advanced cryptography and data-traffic filtering, OpenBSD runs systems at Intel, Oracle and Adobe, secures a gas pipeline in Kurdistan and runs servers at the University of Minnesota. As good as it is, OpenBSD costs nothing; an IT manager can download a free copy from the Web and put it on a server or network gateway.

De Raadt is thus something of a budding cult hero in the open-source-software movement, a not-yet-famous Canadian version of Linus Torvalds, the creator of the open Linux system that sparked the free-code revolution. Yet he derides the Linux movement and says his software blows the doors off that inferior code. "Look at Linux closely and it's heading to be the next Microsoft,"he avers. "It's low-quality software. Their stuff isn't any better."

Like Torvalds, De Raadt doesn't get any royalty from those who use what he created. "People who use it don't advertise it. It's just really silent," he says. He doesn't know--or much care--how many users OpenBSD has, though millions of copies have been downloaded. "All I care about is making high-quality code. If I had to work at a regular job, it would drive me nuts."

So instead of doing the venture capital startup thing--"I don't need to get rich; I don't care"--he lives on C$30,000 dollars a year from the sale of $45 discs, donations from users and the sale of T shirts featuring a mascot (Puffy the Blowfish) and slogans ("So long, and thanks for all the passwords," says one). Often he shares some of the money with others who hack (create) code.

De Raadt moved to Canada from South Africa with his parents when he was 9. He got a computer science degree from the University of Calgary and worked briefly as a developer until joining three friends in 1993 to create a system they called NetBSD (for "Berkeley Software Distribution," a 20-year-old variant of Unix).

But a year later De Raadt got kicked out of the group for rudeness. (His motto:"Shut up and hack.") Things came to a head after he clashed with a programmer. "He was a complete loser. I told him to stop talking and do stuff." The guy later apologized by e-mail, but De Raadt, rather than drop it, replied with a blistering, obscene diatribe so devastating it was forwarded to hundreds of techies for their entertainment. It came to be seen as a founding document for OpenBSD; today, when you Google "theo deraadt," his unkind e-mail shows up near the top of the list.

Undaunted, he started a rival project in 1995, dubbing it OpenBSD. The first release was ready a few months later, updating the old Berkeley Unix system, which also led to variants that run computers made by Sun Microsystems and Apple. A decade later, he says, more people care about his project than NetBSD.

In 2001 De Raadt got a two-year, $2.3 million grant from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to keep working on OpenBSD; the agency was keen on the software's bulletproof security. Then he opened his mouth again, in a Canadian newspaper, criticizing the war in Iraq as a greedy oil play. Darpa pulled his funding soon after, six months early. (Darpa confirms the cancelation.)

He continued on with volunteer help from open-source coders who fly into Calgary once a year from around the world to write new features for OpenBSD. Some of them crash at his home, which he shares with his girlfriend and no children, and stay too long, he says. This year's "hackathon" in May drew 60 programmers from as far away as Australia, Brazil and Japan. They spent a mostly sleepless week in a Hyatt hotel furiously cranking out code. Anyone can contribute ideas, but De Raadt has final say.

The $30,000 cost of this year's hackathon was happily underwritten by InternetSecure, a credit card processor in Ontario. Last year, by installing three Intel-based servers running OpenBSD, the company staved off cyberattackers that had crashed its computers. "Bang, we were back up,"says Roy Morris, a system and security administrator for the company. "OpenBSD is by far the most secure operating system on the planet," says Simon Lok, founder and chief of San Jose, Calif.'s LokTechnology, which sells wireless-network boxes (see FORBES, Nov. 1, 2004). "We would not run anything else."

OpenBSD is painfully difficult to use, but De Raadt says he will leave that problem to someone else. "We spend more time on making our stuff good," he says, ever unapologetic, "than on making it palatable to the masses."