Andrew S. Tanenbaum

American-Dutch computer scientist
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Andrew Stuart "Andy" Tanenbaum (born March 16, 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.

Andrew S. Tanenbaum in 2008


  • 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, 3rd ed., p. 83. (paraphrasing Dr. Warren Jackson, Director, University of Toronto Computing Services (UTCS) circa 1985)
  • 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].
  • Many security texts decompose the security of an information system in three components: confidentiality, integrity, and availability. Together, they are often referred to as "CIA". [They] constitute the core security properties that we must protect against attackers and eavesdroppers—such as the (other) CIA.
    • Modern Operating Systems (with co-author Herbert Bos), 4th ed, p. 596
  • 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.
  • "He" should be read as "he or she" throughout the book.
    • Modern Operating Systems, 3rd ed., p. 2.
  • UNIX does not allow path names to be prefixed by a drive name or number; that would be precisely the kind of device dependence that operating systems ought to eliminate.
    • Modern Operating Systems, 3rd ed., p. 40.
  • System designers who do not allow users to type far ahead ought to be tarred and feathered, or worse yet, be forced to use their own system.
    • Operating Systems Design and Implementation, 3rd ed., p. 310.

The "Linux is Obsolete" Debate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.
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