OpenBSD Journal

Darpa Funding Pulled

Contributed by jose on from the help! dept.

Jim writes:
"From Theo:

It has come to my attention that DARPA has cancelled the POSSE program
with UPENN, (sub OpenBSD & a bit for OpenSSL) for undisclosed reasons,
effective today, without any warning.

My suspicion is this happened because I made anti-war statements in a
Canadian newspaper article in the Globe & Mail, but I am not an
American citizen so I cannot claim to have free speech there (even
made "quote of the day")."
OK, this sucks. Now is the time to make your donations and help fund the project, now is the time to buy CDs and ensure that the project, which gave a lot of great, secure code back to the world's software community, can continue.

Please help. Buy something or just donate what you can to help the project continue.

(Comments are closed)

  1. By Anonymous Coward () on

    The DARPA still gives money to support ReiserFS. This is enough to have a secure encrypted filesystem.
    The DARPA doesn't need to give money for anything else in Linux. Linux already has everything from ACL to non-executable pages. And also a powerful packet filter.
    So why fund OpenBSD to reach what Linux already has 5 years after?

  2. By Anonymous Coward () on

    The cry has been that when war is declared, all opposition should
    therefore be hushed. A sentiment more unworthy of a free country could
    hardly be propagated. If the doctrine be admitted, rulers have only to
    declare war and they are screened at once from scrutiny ... In war,
    then, as in peace, assert the freedom of speech and of the press.
    Cling to this as the bulwark of all our rights and privileges.
    -- William Ellery Channing

  3. By Anonymous Coward () on

    List: openbsd-misc
    Subject: Re: DARPA cancellation
    From: Theo de Raadt
    Date: 2003-04-17 22:08:00

    > Where shall we send checks, and how should be specify it for the Hackathon?

    Wait a little bit, let me cope with all the changes this brings.
    There's suddenly a lot of new logistics and politics.

    I'm trying to figure out what we are doing. The hackathon *will happen*
    through. I don't yet know exactly how, but it will. We get too much
    done at the things to waste ~60 plane tickets bought by developers.

    Some of the richer developers even contacted me asking which others
    were needy, so they could buy their tickets for them...

    I am not sorry for having said my anti-war stuff, in fact if anything,
    this comes to something I said to Ty a few nights ago at the bar: "If
    they take the money away, then it was blood money, and I don't want it".

    I actually feel redeemed :-)

  4. By jolan () on

    Or maybe it was because OilWar was committed to ports:

  5. By Anonymous Coward () on

    for the Americans to get a grip on the actual state of their country.
    It's amazing that an ignorant, racist and moronic bastard has come to power ("Howdy, Mr. President? Maybe we should go back to fucking cows and forget about this Oil thing..."). But it's even more amazing that he has such approval from his people.
    Most of the American people has been brainwashed ("No, it's not for oil we are murdering children in Iraq -- it's to save them from being murdered by their own president!") and are now thinking and acting like slurps.
    I am ashamed to say where I come from, how my fellow contrymen are murdering so many people just to steal oil.
    When I first read the article, what Theo said about the war, I was danmed sure DARPA would pull off the grant. OF COURSE they would. They are spending bilions of dollars just to say "Hey, here is Mr. President, the Cowboy, and if I say we are going to invade Iraq, we are going to invade Iraq. And to Hell with Moral, Ethics and God!" (OK, I should explain why Mr. Bush sends God to Hell, it's quite simple: remember that the Vatican never endorsed the war?)
    It's bad the fact that we need that grant, for noone else in the world seems to have such money to invest in secure software, but Mr. Howdy needs to crash everything and anything that comes in his way. Remember: politics comes before security.
    Remember one more thing as well: as bad as it seems, I'm pretty sure the Arabs (in the general term of the word) won't let that go easily -- no matter how hard the U.S. of the Fucking America tries to remedy the situation with some Palestinian pittance.
    What I would do now?! Well, maybe ask for a grant from the French or German government, maybe ask for it from China or North Korea.
    I used to like this country much more when the majority of its people knew that Mr. President was elected by fraud. Too bad we've come this way!

  6. By Anonymous Coward () on

    Do we need to be funded from the US? Could we be funded by other nations? Have we checked out Carelton University for support? That is research projects that return to OpenBSD their development?

    I have a lot of opinion on the current state of affairs in the US and to say you guys need to check this site out:
    This gives you a good taste of the ajenda they have. Question why is the US interested in Intelectual Property? Simply, this is the last area of economic trade.

    Any how fun topic. We just need to advertise our project apropeatly and with quality to potential developers and supports.

    Anonymous Coward

  7. By Anonymous Coward () on

    Perhaps it was Theo's comment about beer...
    "This really wasn't part of the DARPA grant," he said. "But it happened because the DARPA grant happened, because when you throw a bunch of...guys into a room and get them drunk, this is what you get." De Raadt was careful to point out that the group paid for its own beer. For what it's worth, a lot of people read ZDNet and its various publications. Statements like this don't create a sense of confidence that public money is being well used among the stiff necked, green-visor wearing pencil warriors of the OMB... Aside from that... do you really think Theo's comments about war in some tiny Canadian newspaper would have anything to do with funding getting pulled on a project hosted at UPenn, a fairly well connected major US university? Perhaps it has more to do with the liberal leanings of that University's faculty and student body... As for people telling Americans to get control of our country... remember, the Nazi's were socialists, Stalin and Mao were both Communists, Hussein is a Stalinist... I've yet to hear of a single capitalist genocidal dictator. What we really need to worry about in this country are the PATRIOT act and it's ilk... not silly comments by drunk programmers in Canadian newspapers...

  8. By Anonymous Coward () on

    At least one person on misc@ implied he was ashamed of the government for cutting funding because of the anti-war statements. Please wait until someone finds out why funding was really cut before you make knee-jerk reactions about the government. There's no point in spewing nonsense until we find out why this happened. If an answer is never given, then speculate. But, for now, please just wait to see what happens.

  9. By Anonymous Coward () on

    Can someone link me up with the article Theo is talking about?

  10. By Anonymous Coward () on

    Now maybe Theo will realize his God like attitude is not infallible. Its about time his mouth did him some damage, luike hes done with his mouth to other people and projects. Kudos to DARPA for pulling the funds.

  11. By Anonymous Coward () on

    Or, it could be because they already fund Wirex to do Immunix Linux.

  12. By MitD () on

    ...get weaned off the Military Industrial Complex titty

    If only they were alive; Eisenhower would smile and Zappa would shout 'Titties and Beer.. Titties and Beer!'

    MitD -- Made in the Dark 'I started programming to meet girls.
    How I have 7 kids... go figure?

  13. By Anonymous Coward () on

    If indeed DARPA yanked its funding because of anti-US Governent sentiment, it should be a lesson to anyone that American constitutional protection of free speech means that the goverment is barred from taking someone's liberty, their property or their life because of their speech (excepting, of course, the shouting "fire" in a movie theater exceptions).

    Free Speech in America DOES NOT mean that the government is barred from retracting a grant such as this to an institution because of anti-US government sentiment expressed by a foreigner connected to that institution. In fact, it MAKES SENSE that the US defense department would be careful who it gives money to, especially those that are critical of its policies.

    Actions have consequence. If you make unpopular speech, be prepared to be unpopular. The constitution or any reasonable moral code won't make someone put up with someone else they are uncomforable with, be it Theo, The Dixie Chicks, Pat Buchanan, or Jerry Fallwell.

    Besides, I wouldn't be shocked if this turned out to have nothing to do with Theo stating his objection to American foreign policy. Intrigued, but not shocked.

  14. By Eric Miller () on

    good god... do you people honestly believe that anyone important gives a sh*t about Theo's comments on the war? The funding was canceled because some petty beuracrat got scared and went into full CYA mode.

    The system works by dividing up the Darpa budget between various people/groups. Each person/group is evaluated on how well the money is invested (its more popularity contest than anything scientific). Those who do well get more money the next go round, other get less. Someone was afraid that the anti-war comments were going to hurt them in future office politics battles.

    OpenBSD is simply collateral damage.

    BTW. I had this happen to me early in my career. I was working on a huge DOD/DOE project (next generation nuclear power stations) This was a multi-billion dollar project. I worked for a sub-contractor that was designing the control room. The project ended up getting canceled and the funding vanished in 1 month. When dealing with the government, these things happen.

  15. By Anonymous Coward () on

    Openbsd needs anonymous private donations.

    As a Libertarian the DARPA grant didn't sit
    right with me. It just seemed wrong.

  16. By Anonymous Coward () on

    If I buy a tshirt will they add SMP before I croak?

  17. By Anonymous Coward () on

    It's funny how everyone complains so much about money once it's gone. Maybe you should have demanded that Theo give back the money immediately if your convictions are so strong. It sounds like a whole lot of whining from someone with nothing to lose.

  18. By Anonymous Coward () on

    I was just wondering,
    Most of you running Theo's OS?
    Oh, you're not running your own?

  19. By Anonymous Coward () on

    I was just wondering,
    Most of you running Theo's OS?
    Oh, you're not running your own?
    -stop spewing nonsense and "removing all doubt".

  20. By Anonymous Coward () on

    Is Canada now on the Axis of Evil? Will we be seeing playing cards featuring OpenBSD developers?

  21. By Darren () on

    This may sound ridiculous, but I trust Theo's OpenBSD more than the US Government.

    I also feel compassion for the guy and entire team, taking away critical funding with no notice is'nt just lame, someone deserves to be sacked within the US administration for this action.

    In fact to show my support, i'm going to order the next CD.

    Can someone design a sticker, the US should never forget it's obligations!

    This is like leaving a war widow, and not paying her pension.

  22. By Darren () on

    Can you appeal? Because this decision really does suck. It's worth fighting for.

    It sucks so much that someone within the US administration deserves to be sacked, and they can have their funding(salary) taken away.

  23. By Kenny Gryp () on

    So the OpenBSD 3.4 song will be all about DARPA and the US governement?

  24. By Clay Dowling () on

    The amount of whining because the money disappeared is really pretty extraordinary. Theo himself doesn't seem overly flustered by this. Vanishing is just something that money does. OpenBSD isn't supported by a single source of money, but multiple sources. The other sources will have to keep the project afloat now that this source has gone.

    If we want to keep our nice secure operating system, -we- have to support it. Buy a shirt, a poster or a CD to show that it matters to you. If you've got the cash, make a donation. Evangelize the OS to others, and get them to use and support it in your organization and in theirs.

    If we whine because we got kicked, we might as well roll over and die. We've got to pick up and keep moving. I never installed OpenBSD on my boxes because it had DARPA approval, I installed it because I wanted a secure, usable OS that wouldn't give me support headaches. Neither my reasons or OS have changed, and I'll keep on using it.

  25. By aggrogade () on

    It was in my opinion after reading the article, that the ire was raised by maybe all the references to the word hacker/s. Try Computer Hobbyist or Enthusist's. The goverment frowns on the word Hacker/s even though we know the difference between true meaning of hacker. It had nothing at all to do with the politics, statements or views. DoD just not keen on stating it supports hackers or having to explain un scrutiny to defense sub-committes why they are support publicly anounced hackers. Come, we all know better, once again all in the name. And we know which OS is better for what we need. Now just buy the CD's and Shirt's and lets keep the project going the way we want and can.

  26. By Wiliam Walsh () on

    Canadian OpenBSD hacker Theo de Raadt has been the beneficiary of a grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to the tune of $2.3 million US.

    He then turned around and gave an interview to a Canadian newspaper where he stated he was "uncomfortable with the source" of those funds, and made various other anti-US, Anti-Military, and Anti-war comments.

    Well, the US government decided to relieve him of his anxiety over the source of his funding, and now he is making comments about how "freedom of speech" is a "joke" in the US.

    Of course, Mr de Raadt makes the same mistake of many others who find themselves paying consequences for making unpopular public statements, that Freedom of Speech is guaranteed, but that there is no right to freedom from the consequences of your speech.

    Maybe next time you won't bite the hand that feeds you, Theo.

  27. By GPS () on

    I was involved with writing the first OpenBSD & DARPA article for O'Reilly's Onlamp. This is sad news, but not entirely unexpected. Don't bite the hand that feeds you is a phrase that comes to mind. I feel that Theo could have voiced his oppinion is a more respectful way, but I do admire him for standing up for his beliefs. Here is how I would have worded it: _The war in Iraq upsets me, because I feel that it might be about oil instead of freeing the Iraqie people. I care about the people in Iraq and I don't want them to be harmed._ I hope that Theo is wiser from this experience.

    I hope that Theo is able to support himself and some of the team. I plan to either order a CD or donate money soon.

  28. By not a hater but () on

    yeah u read it, everyone has an opinion but he is a big mouth alot of the times:)

  29. By marcia wilbur () on

    Need some help finding funding?

    Let me know!


  30. By Anonymous Coward () on

    Theo's runaway gob gets him in trouble again...

  31. By Marcel () eye_dacor@gmx on

    I am against war, too... who not? Who thinks this war is justified? The others who are "aginst" Theo do? Hhmm... Well, I'm not proud to be German... but I'm proud to be non American!

  32. By Old Satan () on

    Change the BSD liscense so that it is null and void for United States defense or military applications. Let those fools eat that money with both hands.


  33. By Alex Kirk () on

    Amidst all of the speculation and flame wars last night, I did something I'd like to think of as actually being constructive: I e-mailed my Senator, John Warner, who happens to be the head of the Armed Services Committee, and cc:'d misc@ , asking his office to please find out exactly why the grant was cancelled.

    Chances are I'll get some bullshit non-answer, or nothing at all -- but maybe, just maybe, we'll find out what the real reason behind this was. I promise any replies I get go straight to misc@, will be posted here, and once archived on a server with more bandwidth than my puny 128K upstream, posted to Slashdot.

  34. By Anonymous Coward () on

    IBM invested at least $1 billion in linux and recouped it more than a year ago. OpenBSD cries about less than $2 million. Just give it up, OpenBSD is just a bit player in the OS game. The security angle is a joke, since the default install does NOTHING. Maybe Theo can beg RMS for some cash if he opened his eyes and went GPL.

  35. By krh () on

    I'm upset by the narrow-minded and uninformed political viewpoints I keep seeing here.

    Firstly, every person has his own unique opinion. Not all Americans like the war, and not all Americans dislike it. Not all French dislike the war, and not all French like it. And so on for Britian, Germany, Russia, Iraq, etc. If you want to make a statement about a whole country, stop yourself, because you are likely wrong. What you want to make is a statement about the leadership of the country instead.

    Secondly, if you want to make statements about Iraq, I suggest that you inform yourself. I happen to like PBS's Frontline:

    In what follows I would like to explain my viepoint. Before I go on I would like to say that I am American, a registered Republican, and support the war. I consider myself center-right.

    I think the political basis for the war in Iraq tends to get lost in the emotional issues. Any war is horrible. There are good arguments to be made against the principle of war. (I happen to think that "People die" is a very strong argument.) Nevertheless it's not practical to refuse to go to war at all unless you are absolutely assured that no one, anywhere, at any time, will go to war against you; since such an assurance is impossible, every state has to be prepared for war.

    I'd like to point out that Saddam Hussein thought the Gulf War had never ended, and that he had been, in his mind, at war with the United States for over a decade. I'd also like to point out that many fanatical Islamic militants have declared war against the United States in recent history, and that bin Laden and al Qa'eda are only one example.

    I think most people would agree that Saddam Hussein was a problem. His abuses of his own people are well-documented: Gassings, torture, executions, and so on. His hatred for the United States is also well-documented. And his lack of wisdom is amazing: The Iran-Iraq war and his invasion of Kuwait were huge blunders, yet he considered them successes.

    Saddam Hussein's support of terrorism is also, unfortunately, well-documented. We know that he had terrorist training camps: There are many, many witnesses. We also know that he supported individual terrorists, such as Abu Nidal, and then murdered them when they didn't act as he pleased.

    The question, for me, came down to: Is it better to depose Saddam Hussein, given what we know of his regime and given what we know of the political state of the Middle East and of the world, or is it better to leave him in power?

    His regime was horrible, so in that respect the answer was obvious. But that left me wondering about the political repercussions of deposing him. I was confident that Iraq itself would be happy, and I feel justified now on that account, but what about everyone else?

    His neighbors certainly didn't like him. It's easy to see his pattern: He is an Arab nationalist who believes in the establishment of a single Arab state with him at its head. To accomplish this he has already tried invading Iran and Kuwait. Who's next? So I suspected that the other countries in the Middle East would make a lot of noise about national sovereignty but would be secretly pleased, at least in the short term. And in the long term there would have to be an Iraqi government, run entirely by Iraqis, without American interference, or else the other Middle East states would be rightly afraid of American imperialism. For the most part I think my suspicions have been correct; we'll see how well the Iraqi government develops.

    I wondered about Europe for a while. I was angry when Schroeder won reelection on an anti-American platform. I thought it was nasty and destructive; he should've won or lost on his own merits, which, judging by the jobless rate, are few. I was surprised at the hostility of the French government until I learned about their economic interests in Iraq; given those I thought their position is sensible, though they've played it badly (they should have moderated their anti-war statements; as it was they sounded unreasonable, and it is hard to get support when you sound unreasonable). More recently I've decided that what they're really trying to do is to build another superpower, a bloc of European countries that will collectively oppose the US, for no other reason than the US is big. I think that's shortsighted: If the US is wrong about something, other countries will tell it so. I also think it's impractical: Trying to oppose the US at every turn will eventually lose you respect; after all, you should have a better foreign policy than "Whatever the US doesn't like."

    I was also surprised about the reluctance of the Russian government until I learned that they, too, have economic interests in Iraq. But since then I've decided that those are likely not their major reasons for opposing the war. They have to worry about Islamic militants in their own country (particularly in Chechnya), and it might be very bad for their internal stability for them to support a war which might cause a resurgence in terrorist activity in their own country. By publically opposing the war they keep their internal troubles to a minimum; by letting France do most of the talking they keep their external troubles to a minimum; and from reports of Putin and Bush's phone conversations (They've "agreed to disagree"), I suspect that their relationship with the US has not been harmed at all. I think Putin has done a brilliant job.

    What really did it for me, though, was the overwhelming support of the current EU candidates. They are almost universally countries which were part of the Eastern Bloc; there are people in them who remember the rule of Stalin. Every one of them supported the war. That made up my mind; it was not just in American interest to depose Saddam, it was in humanity's interest to depose him.

    I think the war has gone fantastically well. The number of civilian casualties has been very, very small. It is about as many people as would have died anyway in a month of rule by Saddam Hussein (taken on average), but with the war effectively over and Saddam Hussein gone there will be few additional casualties.

    I've never been seduced by the "blood-for-oil" argument. If all we wanted was oil we could've lifted the sanctions and let Saddam Hussein kill as many people as he wanted. I don't yet have proof that we don't want to install a government that will give US oil companies direct control over large oilfields, but I expect that it will be forthcoming. The new Iraqi government is far too young for strong statements one way or the other.

    I also do not believe that we will invade North Korea or Syria. Either one would be a tremendous disaster: Neither government has been so violent towards its own people or aggressive towards its neighbors as Iraq under Saddam Hussein, and both governments are likely better equipped and more willing to fight. Furthermore if we leave Iraq without a strong Iraqi government in place the country will collapse until another dictator takes over, and then we'll be in about the same situation we were before we invaded Iraq. I further believe that the Bush administration knows this; I place a lot of trust in the Bush administration. I believe that it has done an excellent job, and while I understand that people have objections to it and its policies, I expect history will agree with me.

    Lastly I would like to say that Theo was entirely justified in making the statements that he did. If he feels strongly about the war and about DARPA grant money he should say so. Silence is the real enemy, no matter what your viewpoint: If you refuse to speak then it is as bad as if you are forced not to.

  36. By Anonymous Coward () on

    I just got informed that the DARPA grant went to MicroBSD instead.

    More information on,

  37. By Hagge () on

    Sure, now is probably the time then i should order those t-shirts i've been thinking of for years. But the thing is only two (sushi(?) and wireframe) of the three i want (openbsd 2.6 to) shirts i want is available from the european store. And i don't want to pay a lot extra for customs and stuff like that just to get the third shirt to. Why isn't all the merchendise available from both stores?

  38. By Gimlet () on

    Ever notice how everything is _always_ someone else being mean to Theo? Does this not sound like a broken record at times?

    I find it hard to believe that a government project would get its funding canceled based on the published comments of one person. I would expect, if anything, there to be a motion to marginalize that person politically within the project. It makes no sense to cancel an American-funded project at an American university based on a comment from a Canadian from South Africa who works on part of it.

    Also, I'm really saddened that the OpenBSD community, if the posters on this site are any way representative of it as a whole, are juvenile enough to sit and bash one other's countries. People who are probably very similar to one another, despite living in different countries and speaking dissimilar languages. Never mind fact-checking. Perhaps someone could try getting into contact with the people at UPenn and POSSE and seeing what they say? Maybe check with O'Reilly and see if they can't sell books to DARPA based on antiwar examples in books about databases? No, why bother...everyone would rather jump to their own, predefined conclusions and play the blame game.

    Guess it just proves that people around the world really are alike - they're all assholes.

  39. By Anonymous Coward () on


    Someone put Theo in his place finally.

    Next time maybe he won't bite the hands that feeds him.

    So sad. Oh wait no it's not.

  40. By Anonymous Coward () on

    "So, now finally we come to you. Who are you to speak with such vocal
    'I know what is going on here' authority on what we will and won't do
    following this? You're noone. I haven't got a clue who you are.
    Just a yammering chatter box. Knows nothing, says a lot, does
    nothing. You are in the wrong place. So get lost."

    Couldn't have said it better myself.

    Original post by Theo to misc@openbsd:

  41. By Anonymous Coward () on

    jeez, we need a moderation system. :|

  42. By Anonymous Coward () on

    ... is that OpenBSD gets more press attention. Just look at

    More people hear about OpenBSD, the more attention is gets (and funds). Hence, the DARPA-pullout has less impact.

  43. By Anonymous Coward () on

  44. By AFS () on

    I'm a completely non-technical person who know basically nothing about BSD, OpenBSD, or anything related to it. I pre-ordered the OpenBSD 3.3 CDs today at their website just so I could try to do my little part to help make up the difference. There's a lot of people out there like me who will see this mess and decide to try OpenBSD. Everything I've been reading so far looks great. Maybe... just maybe... OpenBSD will end up better off than where it started before all this mess happened.

  45. By Anonymous Coward () on

    April 19, 2003
    CANADA (Reuters)

    Reuters has confirmed that Theo De Raadt has been infected with "TalkSmackItus", or more commonly known as Diarrhea of the Mouth. Details are forthcoming, but hopfully Theo can keep his mouth shut long enough to find more funding.

    For those unfamiliar with De Raadt, he started the OpenBSD project, a open-source operating system designed from the ground up to be secure, and also runs on anything from a PC to a toaster oven. De Raadt also served as the inspiration for the skateboarding computer-hacker with the inferiority complex in the movie "Hackers".

    As this is a developing story, we will release details as they are available.


  46. By Anonymous Coward () on

    We are a warring nation. Be glad we are benevolent and have left most countries to do there own bidding after WW II. All conquering civilizations in the history of the world would have used that victory to take over the rest of the world in its weaken state. So what did the USA do after WW II? Built up the two most despicable countries prior to the war. Japan and Germany. We left them with their own culture and identity. The United States of American is a Warring Nation. We do WAR better then any other civilization that has ever existed. Get use to it.

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