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USENIX History
2005: 30 Years of USENIX

Since 1975, the USENIX Association has brought together the community of engineers, system administrators, scientists, and technicians working on the cutting edge of the computing world. 2005 marked its 30th anniversary.

Check out highlights from the past 30 years:
Industry Firsts | Internationalization | Community Service

Thirtieth Anniversary, USENIX Association
by Peter H. Salus

June 18, 1975. CUNY in Manhattan. Mel Ferentz runs the first USENIX conference. Of course, it wasn't called USENIX then, it was a UNIX users' group, until the lawyers at AT&T got tough about that (tm). And it wasn't the first meeting, either, as Lou Katz had run a small meeting in a conference room at Columbia in May 1974.

But there were "about 40 people from 20 institutions" at the 1975 meeting.

Look around at any USENIX conference, workshop, symposium. There'll be many times 40 folks. Yes, it has been 30 years, but the growth has come because USENIX has been where it's happening. And still is.

USENIX is where Kirk McKusick talked about memory management.

USENIX is where Tom Ferrin told us how to "cut this foil etch" and "insert this jumper wire."

USENIX is where we first heard about Tcl and OAK (= Java) and Perl and GNOME.

USENIX is where, in 1980 in Boulder, Colorado, Jim Ellis announced USENET.

USENIX is where UUNET began.

USENIX is where portability has been supported for 30 years.

USENIX has been sponsoring redistributable software since 1976.

USENIX held its first security workshop in 1988.

USENIX held a POSIX workshop in 1987.


1st Graphics Workshop, 1985

1st C++ Workshop, 1987

1st Supercomputing Conference, 1987

1st Security Workshop, 1988

1st Mobile Computing Workshop, 1993

1st OSDI, 1996

1st Electronic Commerce Workshop, 1998

1st Embedded Systems Workshop, 1999

SAGE became a Special Technical Group of USENIX in 1992.

USENIX has brought together the core of the Linux Kernel development team in the Linux Kernel Developers Summit, held annually since 2001. USENIX is where Ken Thompson spoke in 1974; where Steve Jobs spoke in 1987; where Stu Feldman lectured us on architecture; where we learned how Google works.

Oh, yeah. And how to fix your PDP-11 with this 98-cent resistor.

In 1966 BU (Before UNIX), Crispian St. Peters sang, "Follow me, I'm the Pied Piper . . ." It made it to #4 on Billboard's list.

But if you follow USENIX, you'll really know where it's at.

This article originally appeared in the April 2005 issue of ;login:.

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Last changed: 25 April 2008 mn
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