About OzLabs

Introduction

OzLabs is a group of Free Software developers and their associates, originally formed in Canberra, Australia. The original incarnation of the group is notable for being one of the first commercial labs set up to work on Linux and Linux support. OzLabs is the largest and most respected collection of Free Software developers in Australia. Members of this group are responsible for projects including:

A more complete list is available on the home page.

OzLabs History

Linuxcare

In 1999 US-based company Linuxcare employed Andrew Tridgell, founder of the Samba project and author of rsync, and asked him to establish a Free Software research and development group in Canberra, Australia. Tridgell quickly recruited fellow Australian National University (ANU) researcher and rsync coauthor Paul Mackerras, who was responsible for the PowerPC port of Linux and the Linux implementation of PPP, and fellow Canberra Linux User Group (CLUG) founder Stephen Rothwell, who was the Linux APM maintainer.

Also joining OzLabs in late 1999 were Tim Potter, one of Tridgell's fellow Samba team members, Hugh Blemings, author of gnokii, and Paul `Rusty' Russell, author of the Linux ipchains and netfilter firewalling/packet-filtering software, and founder of linux.conf.au, one of the world's major Linux technical conferences.

Blemings was tasked with establishing the Australian section of Linuxcare's global technical support team and, in early 2000, he hired ANU graduate David Gibson and Apache web server developer Martin Pool, who would later author distcc and Bazaar-ng. Sales Manager extraordinaire Martin Nightingale joined the OzLabs team, and former ANU academic and system administrator Martin Schwenke was hired to provide technical support within the Canberra region.

Soon after this, Linuxcare rounded out its development and professional services team by adding Linux Standard Base developer Chris Yeoh, SPARC Linux maintainer Anton Blanchard, later to be a PowerPC64 Linux maintainer, and Samba team member Luke Leighton. OzLabs also gained its first remote members, both working from Adelaide, Australia: FreeBSD/NetBSD hacker Greg Lehey, author of Vinum, and GNU toolchain hacker Alan Modra. The team was patiently watched over by office administrator Tracy Whatman.

In mid-2000 Blemings became manager of the Linuxcare's Australian operation. Later in 2000 Nightingale left to lead VA Linux's Australian division, and Leighton left OzLabs and returned to the United Kingdom.

Several members of OzLabs lectured or guest lecturered at the Australian National University over the years, adding weight to the ANUs already strong UNIX and Linux curriculum.

Prior to the widespread uptake of broadband internet in Canberra, OzLabs provided a Linux CD downloading and burning service, which gave students and members of the public access to Linux distributions such as Debian, Mandrake and Red Hat, without the tedium of sneaker netting thousands of floppy disks. The CDs were provided in exchange for biscuits, Tim Tams were generally favoured and were sometimes used in late night Tim Tam Slam binges.

In early 2001, after instability at Linuxcare, most OzLabs members took jobs elsewhere and Linuxcare closed its Australian division.

VA Linux, Hewlett Packard, Snap, Canonical, Google

After leaving Linuxcare, OzLabs founder Tridgell joined Nightingale at VA Linux, along with Pool and Potter. However, approximately 6 months later VA Linux closed its Australian division. Pool and Potter joined Hewlett Packard, while Tridgell joined Snap. In 2005, Pool took a job with Ubuntu's commercial arm Canonical. In 2012, Pool left Canonical to take a job with Google.

IBM

2001

Within a few months of leaving Linuxcare, most of the OzLabs team (Blanchard, Blemings, Gibson, Lehey, Mackerras, Modra, Rothwell, Russell, Schwenke, Yeoh) had joined IBM's Linux Technology Center to work on PowerPC Linux and associated projects, with Blemings as manager.

The team built up a close relationship with other Linux hackers inside IBM, most notably those working on Linux on PowerPC in Austin, Texas and Rochester, Minnesota. Over the years many of these people have been considered part of the extended OzLabs team, including Ryan Grimm, Olof Johansson, Nathan Lynch, Jake Moilanen, Sonny Rao, Will Schmidt, Joel Schopp, Amos Waterland and Mike Wolf.

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Sponsorship

OzLabs proudly sponsored the OzLabs Operating Systems Prize in 2010 at UNSW.

Et cetera

Text licensed under the GFDL, © Wikipedia and OzLabs.