2 Giugio 2005
Vincenzo Ciaglia

A good morning with: Theo de Raadt

1) Hi Theo, thank you for your availability. Can you tell us something about you? How are you? What's your work? What do you do in your life and your sparetime? What are your hobbies?

I work on OpenBSD fulltime, as the project leader.  I set some directions, increase communication between the developers, and try to be involved in nearly every aspect of the base system.  I have some
hobbies, mostly to do with getting away from the computers entirely.

2) Everybody know that you're the OpenBSD and OpenSSH GURU and creator, one of most famous and used secure operating system nowaday. Why you created them? What did you need many years ago from os world when you created OpenBSD? What inspired you to write from scratch OpenBSD and OpenSSH?

I started working on OpenBSD, and many earlier projects, because I have always felt that vendor systems were not designed for quality. The primary goal of a vendor is to make money.  In some industry markets, high quality can be tied to making more money, but I am sure by now all of us know the computer industry is not like that.

I guess it was later on that I came to realize that most security issues are simply a result of low quality.  In OpenBSD and OpenSSH, and everything else, we therefore work very much on quality.

(informazione pubblicitaria)

3) Why a person could move to OpenBSD? What are the advantages? What could he do with OpenBSD? And what he couldn't ?

Having not used any operating systems outside OpenBSD for nearly 10 years, that is basically impossible for me to answer.

4) Can you tell us something about the kernel architecture of OpenBSD?

Our source code is entirely free and available to people so that they can perform their own study of it.

5) You told me that you will release in few days the OpenBSD 3.7 version, can you tell us what are the main advantages in?

http://www.openbsd.org/37.html : lists the major new changes in OpenBSD in this release.

We make a release every 6 months.

The list of new developments is impressive, but in my view not nearly as impressive as the small little details that continue to be fixed during each development cycle.

Development of OpenBSD is not a milestone-driven series of revolutions. It is a series of small evolutionary steps headed which continue to become cleaner, tiny step by tiny step.

6) What do you think made OpenBSD this successful?

The passion of the developers, and the wide experience they bring into their development efforts.  By amazing coincidence, our users typically have the same needs as we do.

7) Are there some problems to porting OpenBSD on others architecture?

Each architecture we port to is easier than the previous one.  The machine independent code that we share between different architectures almost never needs adjustment for a new architecture.  The problem now is new device drivers, often without documentation.

8) What are your favourite programming languages? Why do you use them?

OpenBSD is written mostly in C.

9) How many hours do you code in your daily life ?

During the hackathons we work almost without sleep for a week.  The rest of the year, things are a bit more relaxed.

10) What's your role in the OpenBSD Developing Team? Are you still working on some projects or you just coordinate your guys?

I do many things.  But my most important role is to ensure that the various developers always communicate with the right people.

11) What's your personal point of view about Security?

Almost all security problems are simply a result of poor quality.

12) Do you think that OpenBSD could really help to improve security?

Definately.  This has been proven time and time again.

13) Could OpenBSD become a home-user and desktop operating system?

If it cannot, then Linux cannot either.

14) Are you scared from the latest SSH-1 security problems for your OpenSSH ? In which way could worry the security of your package?

Since I understand the actual problems that exist in the SSH-1 protocol, at a technical level, and do not simply pander to ridiculous fears, no, I am entirely unafraid of the CRC issues.  I would be far more worried about any other unknown issue than something which is known, but boring, and very difficult to exploit.

15) In which way we could improve the concept of network security?

Many people overbuild their solutions because they do not understand the actual problems.

16) Is sometime your work related to NetBSD and FreeBSD? Have you ever worked with the last two OS or improved something there ?

Sometimes they take changes from us.  Sometimes we take changes from them. That is about the limit of it.

17) Do you like GNU/Linux ? Yes/No, why? Do you use it sometimes?

I have never used it.

18) Our interview seems to be completed. Congratulations for your work and thank you for your time!


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