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Remembering Hackathons

Remembering attending OpenBSD hackathons; Calgary 1999 and Boston 2001.

I noticed the proliferation of the term hackathon recently. Even the teenagers across the street from me are going to hackathons. This made me fondly remember the crazy times at OpenBSD; according to the OpenBSD web site:

In June of 1999, OpenBSD held the first hackathon. In the months leading up to this, either Theo or Niels Provos had coined this new word hackathon. A bunch of developers from around the world congregated into a house in Calgary, and within the week had the first IPv6 and IPSEC stacks completely integrated into an operating system… an industry first.. an accidental scrape in a hardwood floor commemorates the event.

Now, the term is so popular that even ChatGPT can talk about it:

A hackathon is an event that brings together a large group of people to engage in collaborative computer programming around a specific theme or problem. It is designed to be a place for participants to work on projects, share ideas, and collaborate with one another. The term “hackathon” was coined in the late 1990s by Niels Provos, an OpenBSD programmer, and is a portmanteau of the words “hack” and “marathon.” Since its inception, hackathons have become popular among technology companies, universities, and other organizations as a way to bring together developers and other technology professionals to work on various projects.

Here is a photo I unearthed from an OpenBSD hackathon in Boston in 2001:

2001 OpenBSD Hackathon in Boston - brought to the modern age via AI upscaling

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