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Eric Paul Allman
Born September 2, 1955 (1955-09-02) (age 54)
Education University of California at Berkeley
Occupation Programmer
Employer Sendmail
Known for sendmail
Title Chief Science Officer
Partner Marshall Kirk McKusick

Eric Paul Allman (born September 2, 1955) is an American computer programmer who developed sendmail and its precursor delivermail in the late 1970s and early 1980s at UC Berkeley.


Education and training

Born in El Cerrito, California, Allman knew from an early age that he wanted to work in computing, breaking into his high school's mainframe and later using the UC Berkeley computing center for his computing needs. In 1973, he entered UC Berkeley, just as the Unix operating system began to become popular in academic circles.[1] He earned B.S. and M.S. degrees from UC Berkeley in 1977 and 1980 respectively.

Sendmail and other contributions

As the Unix source code was available at Berkeley, the local hackers quickly made many extensions to the AT&T code. One such extension was delivermail, which in 1981 turned into sendmail. As an MTA, it was designed to deliver e-mail over the still relatively small (as compared to today's Internet) ARPANET, which consisted of many smaller networks with vastly differing formats for e-mail headers.

Sendmail soon became an important part of the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) and continues to be the most widely used MTA on Unix based systems today, despite its somewhat complex configuration syntax and frequent abuse by Internet telemarketing firms. In 1998, Allman founded Sendmail, Inc., headquartered in Emeryville, California, to do proprietary work on improving sendmail.

Allman is credited with popularizing the Allman indent style, also known as BSD indent style.[2]

He was awarded the Telluride Tech Festival Award of Technology in August, 2006 in Telluride, Colorado[3], and in 2009 he was recognized as a Distinguished Engineer by the Association for Computing Machinery[4].

Personal life

Allman, who is openly gay, lives in Berkeley, California with his partner of more than 20 years, Marshall Kirk McKusick. McKusick is a lead developer of BSD; the two first met in graduate school.[5]

There is some sort of perverse pleasure in knowing that it's basically impossible to send a piece of hate mail through the Internet without its being touched by a gay program. That's kind of funny.

—Eric Allman


External links



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