World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Eric Allman

Eric Paul Allman
Born (1955-09-02) September 2, 1955
El Cerrito, California
Education University of California at Berkeley
Occupation Programmer
Employer Sendmail
Known for Sendmail
Title Chief Science Officer
Spouse(s) 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. In 1998, Allman and Greg Olson co-founded the company Sendmail, Inc.[1]


  • Education and training 1
  • Sendmail and Syslog 2
  • Other contributions 3
  • Personal life 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

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.[2] He earned B.S. and M.S. degrees from UC Berkeley in 1977 and 1980 respectively.

Sendmail and Syslog

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 it used to be the most widely used MTA on Unix based systems, despite its somewhat complex configuration syntax and frequent abuse by Internet telemarketing firms. In 1998, Allman and Greg Olson founded Sendmail, Inc., headquartered in Emeryville, California, to do proprietary work on improving sendmail.

The logging format used by the MTA, known as syslog, was at first used solely by sendmail, but eventually became an unofficial standard format used by other unrelated programs for logging. Later, this format was made official by RFC 3164 in 2001, however the original format has been made obsolete by the most recent revision, RFC 5424.

Other contributions

Allman is credited with popularizing the Allman indent style, also known as BSD indent style.[3]

He was awarded the Telluride Tech Festival Award of Technology in August, 2006 in Telluride, Colorado,[4] and in 2009 he was recognized as a Distinguished Engineer by the Association for Computing Machinery.[5] In April 2014 he was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame.[6]

Personal life

Allman, who is openly gay, lives in Berkeley, California with Marshall Kirk McKusick, who was his partner for more than 30 years before they married in October, 2013.[7] McKusick is a lead developer of BSD; the two first met in graduate school.[8]


  1. ^ "Sendmail, Inc Company Information". Retrieved 13 January 2013. 
  2. ^ Leonard, Andrew. "You've got sendmail". Retrieved 2007-08-20. 
  3. ^ "Indent style". The Jargon File. Retrieved 2007-08-20. 
  4. ^ " - event details". Sendmail, Inc. 2006-08-10. Retrieved 2007-08-20. 
  5. ^ "ACM Names 84 Distinguished Members for Advances in Computing Technology". Association for Computing Machinery. Archived from the original on 14 January 2010. Retrieved 27 December 2013. 
  6. ^ "Inductees – Eric Allman".  
  7. ^ McKusick, Kirk. "Kirk McKusick's Family and Friends". Marshall Kirk McKusick. Retrieved 14 March 2015. 
  8. ^ Friess, Steve (3 March 1998). "What a connection - gay couple's contributions to information technology - Special Cyber Report". The Advocate. Scholar search. Archived from the original on August 29, 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-24. 
  9. ^ ["The Advocate", 3 Mar 1998, p41]

External links

  • Homepage as of 2010-10-29
  • profile
  • Former homepage at Berkeley
  • Former homePage for Eric Allman (at at the Wayback Machine
  • You've got Sendmail, Salon article about sendmail going commercial (December 1998)
  • Biography at (see "Chief Science Officer")
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.