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Anyone who has attended a USENIX conference in a fancy hotel can tell you that a sentence like “You're one of those computer people, aren't you?” is roughly equivalent to “Look, another amazingly mobile form of slime mold!” in the mouth of a hotel cocktail waitress.--
Ken Arnold was part of the group that created the 4BSD Unix releases. He wrote the original curses(3) library and was one of the authors of the original rogue(6) game. He is a co-author of the Java Reference Manual, and one of the leading experts on Java and OO techniques.
Steven M. Bellovin created Usenet (with Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis) while at University of North Carolina in 1979. In 1982 he joined AT&T Bell Laboratories, where he has done pioneering research in security, cryptography, and networking on Unix systems and elsewhere. He is an active member of the Internet Engineering Task Force, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.
Stuart Feldman was a member of the Bell Labs Unix development group. He wrote make(1) and f77(1). He is now the vice-president in charge of computing research at IBM.
Jim Gettys was, with Bob Scheifler and Keith Packard, one of the principal architects of the X windowing system in the late 1980s. He wrote much of the X library, the X license, and articulated the “mechanism, not policy” central credo of the X design.
Steve Johnson wrote yacc(1) and then used it to write the Portable C Compiler, which replaced the original DMR C and became the ancestor of most later Unix C compilers.
Brian Kernighan has been the Unix community's single most articulate exponent of good style. He has authored or coauthored several books that are indispensable classics of the tradition, including The Practice of Programming, The C Programming Language, The Unix Programming Environment. While at Bell Labs, he coauthored the awk(1) language and had a major hand in the development of the troff family of tools, including eqn(1) (co-written with Lorinda Cherry), pic(1), and grap(1) (Jon Bentley).
David Korn wrote the Korn shell, the stylistic ancestor of almost all modern Unix shell designs. He created UWIN, a UNIX emulator for those that are forced to use Windows. David has also done research in the design of file systems and tools for source-code portability.
Mike Lesk was part of the original Unix crew at Bell Labs. Among other contributions, he wrote the ms macro package, the tbl(1) and refer(1) tools for word processing, the lex(1) lexical-analyzer generator, and UUCP (Unix-to-Unix copy program).
Doug McIlroy headed the research group at Bell Labs where Unix was born and invented the Unix pipe. He wrote spell(1), diff(1), sort(1), join(1), tr(1), and other classic Unix tools, and helped define the traditional style of Unix documentation. He has also done pioneering work in storage-allocation algorithms, computer security, and theorem-proving.
Marshall Kirk McKusick implemented the 4.2BSD fast file system and was the Research Computer Scientist at the Berkeley Computer Systems Research Group (CSRG) overseeing the development and release of 4.3BSD and 4.4BSD.
Keith Packard was a major contributor to the original X11 code. During a second phase of involvement beginning in 1999, Keith rewrote the X rendering code, producing a more powerful but dramatically smaller implementation suitable for handheld computers and PDAs.
Eric S. Raymond has been writing Unix software since 1982. In 1991 he edited The New Hacker's Dictionary, and has since been studying the Unix community and the Internet hacker culture from a historical and anthropological perspective. In 1997 that study produced The Cathedral and the Bazaar, that helped (re)define and energize the open-source movement. He presently maintains more than thirty open-source software projects and about a dozen key FAQ documents.
Henry Spencer was a leader among the first wave of programmers to embrace Unix when it escaped from Bell Labs in the mid-1970s. His contributions included the public-domain getopt(3), the first open-source string library, and an open-source regular-expression engine which found use in 4.4BSD and as the reference for the POSIX standard. He is also a noted expert on the arcana of C. He was a coauthor of C News, and has for many years been a voice of reason on Usenet and one of its most respected regulars.
Ken Thompson invented Unix.