Crypto pioneer and Sun Microsystems' veteran chief security officer Whitfield Diffie has left the company, with database-giant Oracle's acquisition still in the air. According to Technology Review, Diffie is slated to be a visiting professor at Royal Holloway, University of London, after 18 years at Sun, latterly in the high- …
Curious, haven't seen his name on an internal phone list for a long time. Suggests he wasn't actually a Sun employee anyway.
Interesting guy, saw him present on PKI at the computer history museum a few years ago.
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"Sun built up a brains trust of top thinkers and leading achievers in languages and systems during the years. Watching such people go will give the perception of a brain drain and lack of continuity during a delicate period, where thousands of staff have already been cut.
Sun's somewhat academic culture was designed to let ideas and thinking from such people flourish. The culture couldn't be much different to Oracle, a company known for making its dollars count rather than indulging meta thinking or hiring leading industry ideas people. "
And in those few words is the nub of the matter defining the decline in Sun and Oracle fortunes.
Pioneer, yes, but Inventor?
I have nothing against Whit, who is a friend-of-a-friend and by all accounts a very affable gentleman and deserving of his place in the history of computer security, but he doesn't have exclusive claim to inventing public key cryptography. James Ellis et al. in the UK reportedly got there first (although it was classified at the time) and Diffie and Hellman's work was apparently based on Ralph Merkle's.
When management needs profits to get their big bonuses, they soon exhaust the ethical and legal means of revenue enhancement.
Once that happens, all that's left is screwing customers, workers, and competitors.
Diffie Hellman protocol
I've been teaching this protocol to students for a few years without knowing who he is.
PKC, I think you mean