Godmother of Unix admins Evi Nemeth presumed lost at sea

Evi Nemeth (73 years old) literally wrote the book on Unix. From The Register:

The New Zealand authorities have formally called off the search for the sailing cruiser Nina, and say its seven-person crew, which includes Evi Nemeth who for the last 30 years has written the system administration handbooks for Unix and Linux, is now presumed lost at sea.

[…] Nemeth was born in 1940 and earned her PhD in mathematics in 1971 before entering computer science in 1980. Her math skills were proven when she found problems with the “Diffie–Hellman problem” used for cryptography, but for systems administrators she is best known for her seminal handbooks on network management.

In 1989 she wrote the 1989 Unix System Administration Handbook, which she revised in 1995 and 2000. She also published the Linux Administration Handbook in 2002 (revised in 2006) and in 2010 authored the combined Unix and Linux System Administration Handbook.

All are best-sellers and explain the basics of network topology and administration simply and without recourse to hype. Nemeth saw the need to simplify the arcane language of the IT industry, a language that sometimes did more harm than good.

“Many people equate the word ‘daemon’ with the word ‘demon,’ implying some kind of Satanic connection between Unix and the underworld,” she wrote. “This is an egregious misunderstanding. ‘Daemon’ is actually a much older form of ‘demon’; daemons have no particular bias towards good or evil, but rather serve to help define a person’s character or personality.”

“The ancient Greeks’ concept of a ‘personal daemon’ was similar to the modern concept of a ‘guardian angel’ – ‘eudaemonia’ is the state of being helped or protected by a kindly spirit. As a rule, Unix systems seem to be infested with both daemons and demons.”

[…]Like any offshore sailor, Nemeth would have been aware of the risks and accepted them. If the Nina is lost with all hands, we can at least take comfort from the fact that Nemeth died doing something she loved.

The entire article can be read here.

Also, additional information about the ship and crew here.

Another article here with a photo of Evi Nemeth.

One more article with some more details about her life and another photo.