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[ba-unrev-talk] Fwd: OpenBSD founder loses DARPA grant...

>From: "Brian J. Fox" <bfox@ua.com>
>To: fsb@crynwr.com
>New York Times
>April 24, 2003
>Canadian Programmer Says U.S. Cut Funding After Comments
>by Jennifer Lee
>WASHINGTON - A respected Canadian computer programmer says the United
>States government severed research financing for a computer security
>project he was working on after he made remarks in the Canadian press
>critical of the American military.
>The programmer, Theo de Raadt, the 35-year-old founder of an
>international collaborative software project known as OpenBSD, had been
>receiving support from the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, or
>Darpa, a research arm of the American military that is closely tied to
>the founding of the Internet.
>The money, part of a $2.3 million grant given to the University of
>Pennsylvania, was part of a military effort to create computer systems
>more resilient to hacking, viruses and other attacks. The American
>military estimates that it experiences 250,000 cyberattacks each year.
>The controversy highlights the delicate balance between the military and
>the anti-establishment bent of some in the technology community. It also
>shows that the international pool of computer programmers and hackers,
>possessing vast technological expertise, is not entirely sympathetic to
>the American military's current role in world affairs.
>A recent interview with Mr. de Raadt, published by The Globe and Mail of
>Toronto, portrayed him as being uneasy about the military source of the
>financing. He was quoted as saying, "I try to convince myself that our
>grant means a half of a cruise missile doesn't get built." The article
>also said he considered the war in Iraq a grab for oil.
>Mr. de Raadt said that a few days after the interview was published,
>Jonathan Smith, the Penn professor who heads the military grant project,
>told him people had "expressed discomfort with what I had said." Then
>last Friday Professor Smith sent out an e-mail message saying that work
>had to cease immediately because the military stopped the financing and
>the project was "over."
>Mr. de Raadt said this left the OpenBSD project in crisis because it had
>already committed tens of thousands of dollars to bringing together 60
>programmers from around the world for a four-day "hackathon" in Calgary
>in May. Darpa money has supported other hackathons for this project.
>Some cautioned about reading too much into the military's decision.
>"These kinds of `stop works' happen all the time," said Fernando
>Pereira, the head of Penn's computer science department. "Federal
>budgets and priorities change all the time."
>Nevertheless, some computer specialists saw the incident as a rebuke.
>People quickly voiced their displeasure on Web sites, over e-mail lists
>and to the organizations involved.
>On Monday, Darpa said it had not cut off all financing for the project,
>just money for the hackathon. Jan Walker, a spokeswoman for Darpa, said
>the agency was reviewing the rest of the project, which has three months
>left in its two-year contract. Decisions about financing had been made
>because of "recent world events and specifically the evolving threat
>posed by increasingly capable nation-states," Ms. Walker said.
>Mr. de Raadt said the decision extended beyond the hackathon because the
>project's staff members had been notified this week that their salaries
>would no longer be paid by the military financing. He said the hackathon
>would go on, financed by modest online donations of $50 or $100. He
>noted that even while he was on the phone with a reporter, $65 in
>donations had come in.
>"We are free people, we are hobbyists," he said. "We do this for fun."    (01)

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