Computer security pioneer and original Unix hacker Robert Morris has passed away at age 78. My favorite part of his obituary is the first sentence:
Robert Morris, a cryptographer who helped developed the Unix computer operating system, which controls an increasing number of the world’s computers and touches almost every aspect of modern life, died on Sunday in Lebanon, N.H.
It’s amazing and delightful to think that after all of these years that no operating system has surpassed Unix as a network server. It seems like a long time ago now, but it was widely believed that eventually Windows NT would kill off Unix. I’m glad that didn’t happen.
Most people recognize his name thanks to his son’s worm that essentially crashed the Internet back in 1988:
As chief scientist of the National Security Agency’s National Computer Security Center, Mr. Morris gained unwanted national attention in 1988 after his son, Robert Tappan Morris, a graduate student in computer science at Cornell University, wrote a computer worm — a software program — that was able to propel itself through the Internet, then a brand-new entity.