Evi Nemeth

 evi-nemeth

Thanks to Sam Kome, who passed along this story from The Register (photo from Telluride Tech Festival Site):

SHE LITERALLY WROTE THE BOOK
ON UNIX

Evi Nemeth was born in 1940 and earned her PhD in mathematics in 1971 before entering computer science in 1980. Her math skills were proven when she found problems with the “Diffie–Hellman problem” used for cryptography, but for systems administrators she is best known for her seminal handbooks on network management.

In 1989 she wrote the 1989 Unix System Administration Handbook, which she revised in 1995 and 2000. She also published the Linux Administration Handbook in 2002 (revised in 2006) and in 2010 authored the combined Unix and Linux System Administration Handbook.

All are best-sellers and explain the basics of network topology and administration simply and without recourse to hype. Nemeth saw the need to simplify the arcane language of the IT industry, a language that sometimes did more harm than good.

“Many people equate the word ‘daemon’ with the word ‘demon,’ implying some kind of Satanic connection between Unix and the underworld,” she wrote. “This is an egregious misunderstanding. ‘Daemon’ is actually a much older form of ‘demon’; daemons have no particular bias towards good or evil, but rather serve to help define a person’s character or personality.”

“The ancient Greeks’ concept of a ‘personal daemon’ was similar to the modern concept of a ‘guardian angel’ – ‘eudaemonia’ is the state of being helped or protected by a kindly spirit. As a rule, Unix systems seem to be infested with both daemons and demons.”

In later years, Nemeth worked with the Cooperative Association for Internet Data Analysis (CAIDA), measuring internet traffic. She also organized the Internet Engineering Curriculum (IEC), a repository of IT training tools for the academic world, and worked with Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak to set up academic scholarships in the industry.

From Wikipedia:  Since her retirement, Nemeth has been sailing her 40-foot sailboat Wonderland around various parts of the world, including a circuit of the Atlantic, Panama Canal, and across the Pacific to New Zealand. She, along with the other crew aboard the vintage yacht Nina, disappeared en route between New Zealand and Australia, on 4 June 2013.

This article has more information about the Nina.

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One Response to Evi Nemeth

  1. BMGM says:

    Her book gave such level-headed advice in as jargon-free a manner (as you can make a UNIX book). She was a legend and a godmother to a generation of UNIX sysadmins.

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