Free Software Hacker Name Chains

OK, this is entirely random. At FOSDEM this year, I was sitting in front of Jeremy Allison and Allison Randal. I mentally placed Randal Schwartz on the end to make a 3-person free software hacker name chain. How many more are there, I wondered?

Here’s what I have so far, thanks to a little help from Wikipedia. The first one is a perfect 10, as all the names match exactly and they are all free software people. In order of decreasing quality, then:

  • Jeremy Allison (Samba) -> Allison Randal (Perl) -> Randal Schwartz (Perl)
  • Rusty Russell (ipchains/netfilter) -> Russ(ell) Nelson (OSI) -> Nelson Bolyard (NSS)
  • Kristoffer Ericson (jlime Linux) -> Eric Raymond (fetchmail) -> Raymond Chen (Er… Microsoft; never mind)
  • Brian Paul (Mesa) -> Paul Vixie (cron)
  • George Williams (FontForge) -> William Jolitz (386BSD)

Also, a guy called Rick Adams founded UUNet, and I’m sure there are plenty of free software programmers beginning with “Adam”.

Can anyone improve on my chains, or produce ones of their own?

9 thoughts on “Free Software Hacker Name Chains

  1. Wouldn’t a perfect 10 be a closed chain, where the last name loops back to the first one?

    Anyway, for your name I only have this so far:

    Gervase Markham -> Markham Asylum (where they used to keep open source hackers back when everyone thought we were crazy)

  2. Free Software Hacker Name Chains

    ALL the Links *
    * � Most popular software
    * � All mobile software
    * � All PC games

    HECAKR All Software

  3. It should be possible to get chains larger than three, by avoiding people with names that (like Vixie or Bolyard) are hard to match. For instance:
    Brian Paul (mentioned above) => Paul Graham (ibid) => Graham Nelson (Inform)
    I suspect it ought to be possible to lengthen both ends of that chain in several different ways, though I don’t know the answers off the top of my head. Good candidates for these kinds of chains are people whose first and last names both can be either a first or a last name, e.g., Phillip(s), David(s), Robert(s), Daniel(s) Walter(s), Morgan, James, and so on and so forth. Welsh names are particularly good, but anything that regularly gets used as both surname and given name is a candidate.

    Going in the other direction, I’d really like to see a chain with Jarkko Hietaniemi in it.

  4. I’d be a good candidate, if I had contributed significantly anywhere. So far I’m just getting involved in offering code, though I’ve tried to help out in various ways in several projects over the last few years. Stephen Christopher – that ought to be matchable on both ends.