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2004 USENIX Annual Technical Conference, June 27-July 2, 2004, Boston Marriott Copley Place, Boston, MA
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Open Sessions











Start each conference day listening to an industry luminary. Open to those who are registered for either the technical sessions or a tutorial for that day, the plenary sessions will kick off each day with noteworthy presentations from the following renowned speakers:

Monday: Alan Nugent, VP & CTO, Novell
Tuesday: Eliot Lear, Corporate Irritant, Cisco Systems, Inc.
Wednesday: Bruce Schneier, Counterpane Internet Security, Inc.
Thursday: Rob Pike, Google, Inc.
Friday: Eric Allman, CTO, Sendmail, Inc.


Monday, 9:00 a.m.–10:00 a.m.
Plenary Session
Open Source and Proprietary Software: A Blending of Cultures
Alan Nugent, VP & CTO, Novell
Listen in MP3 format
Linux/Open Source

As a 20-year provider of proprietary software for the enterprise market, Novell has built products and a culture around proprietary (or closed) software. Within the last 18 months, we have embraced open source development and Linux and have injected them into our corporate DNA. While different, the two approaches are not mutually exclusive. In fact, I would argue embracing open source as a proprietary company is more straightforward than an open source company trying to move "up the stack." In this talk I will examine the myths, challenges, and opportunities for companies attempting to understand the best of both worlds.

Alan F. Nugent serves as chief technology officer of Novell. Prior to Novell, Alan was the Managing Partner, Technology, at Palladian Partners. Mr. Nugent has successfully led many different technology organizations. He serves on the Board of Directors and on the Technical Committee for the Object Management Group and is a widely respected writer and speaker on OT, BPR, and Information Management. He sits on the board of directors of several technology startup companies.

Tuesday, 9:00 a.m.–10:00 a.m.
Plenary Session
Network Complexity: How Do I Manage All of This? (PDF)
Eliot Lear, Cisco Systems, Inc.
Listen in MP3 format
Networking Security Sysadmin

In the evolution of computers and networks, we have developed complex mechanisms to manage one, the other, or both. We organize teams based on technology or task, only to find that the tools they use converge at times and then diverge again. I'll discuss the latest convergences in the context of distributed systems management, network management, security, and voice in a world of ISPs, ASPs, Web services. It all boils down to this: why can't we manage the network just like one large UNIX box?

Eliot Lear started his career developing distributed management tools for UNIX in 1987 at Rutgers University. From 1991 through 1998 he was part of a team that ran a large computer manufacturer network. Since 1998, Eliot has been the Corporate Irritant of Cisco Systems, focusing on the area of network management, network applications, and cross-functional integration.

Wednesday, 9:00 a.m.–10:00 a.m.
Plenary Session
Thinking Sensibly About Security in an Uncertain World
Bruce Schneier, Counterpane Internet Security, Inc.
Listen in MP3 format

All security decisions involve trade-offs: how much security you get, and what you give up to get it. When we decide whether to walk down a dimly lit street, purchase a home burglar alarm system, or implement an airline passenger profiling system, we're making a security trade-off. Everyone makes these trade-offs all the time. It's intuitive and natural, and fundamental to being alive. But paradoxically, people are astonishingly bad at making rational decisions about these trade-offs.

Security expert Bruce Schneier discusses this notion of security trade-offs and how we are all "security consumers." He makes use of a five-step process to explicate these intuitive trade-offs and shows how the process can be applied to decisions both small and large. Learn how security works in the real world, and what you can do to get the security you want . . . not the security that is forced upon you.

Internationally renowned security expert Bruce Schneier has written eight books—including Beyond Fear and Secrets and Lies—as well as the Blowfish and Twofish encryption algorithms. Schneier has appeared on numerous television and radio programs, has testified before Congress, and is a frequent writer and lecturer on issues surrounding security and privacy.

Thursday, 9:00 a.m.–10:00 a.m.
Plenary Session
Cheap Hardware + Fault Tolerance = Web Site
Rob Pike, Google, Inc.
Listen in MP3 format
The Web is too large to fit on a single machine, so it's no surprise that searching the Web requires the coordination of many machines, too. A single Google query may touch over a thousand machines before the results are returned to the user, all in a fraction of a second.

With all those machines, the opportunities for parallelism and distributed computation are offset by the likelihood of hardware failure. If one machine breaks on average every few years, a pool of a thousand machines will have machines break on a daily basis. A key part of the Google story is that by designing a system to cope with breakage, we can provide not only robustness, but also parallelizability, efficiency, and economies of scale.

Rob Pike is a member of the Systems Lab at Google, Inc. In 1981, while at Bell Labs, he wrote the first bitmap window system for UNIX. He has since written a dozen more. He is a principal designer and implementer of the Plan 9 and Inferno operating systems and co-author with Brian Kernighan of The UNIX Programming Environment and The Practice of Programming.

Friday, 9:00 a.m.–10:00 a.m.
Plenary Session
The State of the Spam
Eric Allman, Sendmail, Inc.
Listen in MP3 format

No one needs to be told that email spam is a serious problem, but some people don't truly understand how serious it is. The speaker now gets about 900 spams every day, a great many of them in character sets he can't even render, and is seeing a doubling rate of about four months. Many solutions have been proposed, falling primarily into two areas, legislative and technological.

The current state of spam will be reviewed, including some thoughts about the current legislative climate (and whether legislation has any chance of doing any good) and quite a bit about the various technologies that are being discussed and deployed. Although opinions will be offered, no conclusions will (or can) be drawn in an environment changing as quickly as we are seeing with email today.

Eric Allman is the original author of Sendmail, co-founder and CTO of Sendmail, Inc., and co-author of Sendmail, published by O'Reilly. At UC Berkeley, he was the chief programmer on the INGRES database management project, leader of the Mammoth project, and an early contributer to BSD, authoring syslog, tset, the -me troff macros, and trek. Eric designed database user and application interfaces at Britton Lee (later Sharebase) and contributed to the Ring Array Processor project for neural-network-based speech recognition at the International Computer Science Institute. Eric is on the Editorial Review Board of ACM Queue magazine and a former member of the Board of Directors of the USENIX Association.

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Last changed: 19 July 2004 aw