[clug] [NEWS] Chair in Open Source/Operating Systems established in a Major University

Stephen Jenkin sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au
Tue Nov 15 02:37:55 GMT 2005

Whilst this is not about CBR, it should be of interest to Open Source
people here :-)  [And the ex-UNSW students hiding out here]
[If you want to contribute to this effort, personally or via your company,
[contact me & I will make it all happen :-) ]


UNSW will be creating a Chair, initially in Operating Systems, in the
memory of John Lions.  John's work - the Unix Commentary - was
instrumental in catapulting Unix into promenience and creating the Open
Source movement.  John was also a cornerstone of AUUG and recognised there
with an annual prize.

This Chair is one of only 'funded chairs' 10 within UNSW, the first there
funded by ex-students and (we believe) the first 'funded' chair in IT in
Australia [feedback needed on that].

Qualcomm, via Technology VP Greg Rose, is currently the major sponsor with
a US$514,000 gift.  Other major donations are still required to reach the
$5M needed to permanently fund the chair.

The Engineering Faculty of UNSW was recently been rated as #1 in
Australia, and #16 globally by the London Times.
Media release
Former students honour computing pioneer
14 November 2005

The University of New South Wales in Australia (UNSW), today announced
that a seven-year campaign by alumni to establish a chair in the name of
their former mentor finally has paid off. With the help of a generous
$500,000 donation from U.S.-based QUALCOMM Incorporated, former students
have succeeded in establishing the John Lions Chair in Operating Systems

Former students John O'Brien, Greg Rose, Steve Jenkin, Chris Maltby and
others have worked over the years to raise the money in honour of the
former professor and author of a controversial book on UNIX systems.

Greg Rose, vice president of technology for QUALCOMM and John O'Brien,
managing director of Whitesmiths Ltd, donated substantial sums of their
own money in a bid to raise the funds for the Chair.

"This is the first time that a group of alumni have established a Chair
through their own efforts and I applaud their dedication and
tenacity," said UNSW's Vice-Chancellor Professor Mark Wainwright.

John Lions graduated from Sydney University in 1959 with an honours degree
in Applied Mathematics. He received a doctorate from Cambridge University
in 1963 and worked in Canada and the U.S.

In 1972 John moved back to Australia with his wife and family to take up
the position of senior lecturer with then University of New South Wales'
Department of Computing. He became associate professor in 1980 and
lectured until 1995, when he retired due to poor health. John Lions later
died in 1998.

During the mid 70s, in order to better teach his students, John wrote
commentary on the UNIX code. His book was regarded as a threat to
intellectual property and became the world's most illegally copied book.

"The manuscript was a revelation to students," recalls Greg Rose. "The
book quickly gained a reputation among the programming community and
became a technical bible for students, hackers and qualified professionals
throughout the world."

In 1996, two years before John's death, the book was finally legally
published. It continues to be used today and is regarded as a classic.

Professor Paul Compton, the head of the School of Computer Science and
Engineering at UNSW said that: "It can be argued that John's Lions book
was a key factor in developing the Open Source movement, which is based on
studying and building on code that others have written. For many years
photocopies of his commentary on Unix provided the only access to the Unix
kernel source code outside Bell Laboratories.

"The University is very grateful to John's students and others in the Open
Source community for honouring his memory in this way. UNSW has a very
strong research reputation in Open Source; the chair will further
strengthen this as well as honour John's memory."

The University of New South Wales has over 40,000 students and has awarded
more than 180,000 degrees and diplomas since its foundation in 1949. It is
one of the world's leading international universities with a strong
background in science, engineering and technology.

Contact details: Luciano Ferracin, Development Officer Engineering, ph 02
9385 1516, email l.ferracin at unsw.edu.au
Media contact: Mary O'Malley, ph 02 9385 2873, mob 043 888 1124,
m.omalley at unsw.edu.au

Date issued: November 11 2005

Steve Jenkin, Unix Sys Admin
0412 786 915 (+61 412 786 915)
PO Box 48, Kippax ACT 2615, AUSTRALIA

sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au http://www.tip.net.au/~sjenkin

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