Warren Toomey writes:
> Hi all, I've just heard that the Usenix board of directors do not want
> to explicitly celebrate the 50th anniversary of Unix.
Before I reply to the list, I also know some people on this list have a distaste for some of the USENIX folks. There were some problems in the past with at least one important employee. That has been corrected, but the 'institutional memory' was also some what sacrificed as people such as my self got a little burned out dealing with the issues. That said, they are good people and they have changed which is good. But they are primarily a more academic focused lot and as such, few of the people that understand the value (much less were there) are activity involved.
That said, I made a proposal at the last BOD meeting in June that we do something 'special' at the next USENIX. I had a vetted the proposal with Warren as well as a with a number of previous BOD members, including a couple of past presidents. I thought it made a lot of sense as did others.
Unfortunately, while it may be here, history for the sake of history is not all that interesting to them. So, the basic pitch is that until UNIX came about, OSses were all over the map and everything was a different. Except for UNIX nothing from those days really is left except maybe Fortran and that only for HPC. Yet, today in most days, you (computer person or mortal) can hardly not be using a UNIX system, from your cell phone, IoT devices, car, to search and Internet services. No other part of computing has had such an effect and been as pervasive and lastest. We need to celebrate how that happened and try to remember some of the important things and people that made it so.
The boards response has been: "... agrees that we should acknowledge this milestone appropriately. After much discussion, they concluded that USENIX will do so throughout the course of its regularly scheduled and budgeted activities.'' Basically they want to say something at opening session and maybe acknowledge a few people that come to ACT next summer, but nothing like what we talked about.
I wanted to have a party at the History Museum in Seattle (ACT will be in Renton). The problem is that ACT no longer has a big party mid week, so they don't have an event for this to occur. Plus much of the board did a little bit of a huh? which in my translation is - "if it does not help us academically, tell me why we need to do this again?"
BTW: One of the other thing that I socialized was how this community was always open and inviting to people regardless of sexual orientation, race, creed etc. There have been disagreements (which Larry can regale you on a few as I know he holds a certain people responsible for bad things, ushc as how the Linux community was handled). But I wanted to try to see if we could get some of the important women, not just the men (i.e. the Systers) as well as some of the folks from the LGBQ community that were a part. It's an interesting social history as well as technical one.
My reply to the official email from Casey and Carolyn was: "I do think you should do something over and above. As I said, I know a lot of people are 'up' for it and what to do we be apart and keep asking what can they do/what is going to be done. There has been a bit of discussion on the TUHS mailing list. As I said, I've been in contract with Lou Katz, the first USENIX President, and Debbie S (who was an early President) and Andrew Hume (also ex-President). All have expressed interest in helping and think it would be a great idea to do something 'special' both to recognize but also because it should be fun."
I believe the BOD will support a BOF, but they are not going to fund bring people back or anything over and beyond or an external party (although I'm not opposed to asking a few people like Rich Adams who made $s with UNIX to help us fund something). So my comment to Warren was basically this thought: if we try to make sure people are there and we set something up, I know we can have BOF. But if we plan it and arrange it and maybe we hit email@example.com with email we can do something. I've been looking for a good intro to the folks in Seattle, as I still think a party there would be the best - but we need permission and then we need to find a way to fund it.