Andrew S. Tanenbaum

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Welcome, O life! I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.
James Joyce
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Andrew Stuart "Andy" Tanenbaum (born 1944) is an American computer scientist living in the Netherlands. He is best known as the author of Minix, a free Unix-like operating system for teaching purposes, and for his computer science textbooks.


  • I had never engaged in remote multishrink psychoanalysis on this scale before, so it was a fascinating experience.
    • Ken Brown's Motivation, Release 1.2 [1]
  • Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes hurtling down the highway.
    • Computer Networks, 4th Ed. p. 91
  • Fight Features. ...the only way to make software secure, reliable, and fast is to make it small.
    • Some Notes on the "Who wrote Linux" Kerfuffle, Release 1.5 [2]
  • However, as every parent of a small child knows, converting a large object into small fragments is considerably easier than the reverse process.
    • Computer Networks, 4th ed. p. 428
  • The nice thing about standards is that you have so many to choose from.
    • Computer Networks, 2nd ed, p.254

The "Linux is Obsolete" Debate

  • "Linux is a leprosy; ..." This statement is not grammatically, politically, or factually correct.
    • Rebuttal to Ken Brown [3]
  • A lot of other people wanted a free production UNIX with lots of bells and whistles and wanted to convert MINIX into that. I was dragged along in the maelstrom for a while, but when Linux came along, I was actually relieved that I could go back to professoring.
    • Ken Brown's Motivation, Release 1.2 [4]
  • I REALLY am not angry with Linus. HONEST. He's not angry with me either.
    • Ken Brown's Motivation, Release 1.2 [5]
  • LINUX is obsolete
    • In a Usenet message, 29 Jan 1992 [6]
  • The only real argument for monolithic systems was performance, and there is now enough evidence showing that microkernel systems can be just as fast as monolithic systems.
    • In a Usenet message, 29 Jan 1992
  • But in all honesty, I would suggest that people who want a **MODERN** "free" OS look around for a microkernel-based, portable OS, like maybe GNU or something like that.
    • In a Usenet message, 29 Jan 1992
  • Be thankful you are not my student. You would not get a high grade for such a design :-) […] Writing a new OS only for the 386 in 1991 gets you your second 'F' for this term.
  • A multithreaded file system is only a performance hack.
  • Writing a portable OS is not much harder than a nonportable one, and all systems should be written with portability in mind these days.
    • In a Usenet message, 3 Feb 1992
  • While most people can talk rationally about kernel design and portability, the issue of free-ness is 100% emotional.
    • In a Usenet message, 3 Feb 1992
  • Will we soon see President Bush coming to Europe with Richard Stallman and Rick Rashid in tow, demanding that Europe import more American free software?
    • In a Usenet message, 3 Feb 1992
  • If you just want to USE the system, instead of hacking on its internals, you don't need source code.
    • In a Usenet message, 5 Feb 1992
  • Microkernels are not a pipe dream. They represent proven technology.
    • In a Usenet message, 5 Feb 1992


  • Security, like correctness, is not an add-on feature.
  • Unfortunately, the current generation of mail programs do not have checkers to see if the sender knows what he is talking about.
  • If anyone had realized that within 10 years this tiny system that was picked up almost by accident was going to be controlling 50 million computers, considerably more thought might have gone into it.
    • talking about MS-DOS

External links

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