Geoff Collyer

copyright © 1986 Gillian Collyer

Plan 9 and (l)unix system programmer and administrator.

I joined Google in September 2014.

From 1994 through 2001 and again from 2006 to 2014, I was a Member of Technical Staff at Bell Labs (originally a part of AT&T, now a part of Alcatel-Lucent) in Murray Hill, NJ, where I worked on operating systems and messaging systems and protocols, among other things.

pgp public key(s)

My current RSA public key was generated by PGP 2.6.2 (i.e. it's in the second of three or four incompatible formats) and its fingerprint is
Type bits/keyID    Date       User ID
pub  1024/1F08CB75 1996/06/24 Geoff Collyer <>
                              Geoff Collyer <>
                              Geoff Collyer <>
          Key fingerprint =  67 08 1E F6 6B F3 1B 1B  CF 27 87 7B 3D 59 30 A1 

ranting and raving

the sad state of crytographic infrastructure, 17 May 2012

I've been looking at ssh and IPsec again and it's made me realise again that we (in the computing field) have made a mess of the artifacts of cryptography and it's entirely our own fault. Starting from goals such as privacy and authentication of communication, we have taken aim at our feet and fired with PGP is a sad example: by changing key formats and algorithms repeatedly (sometimes for compelling legal reasons), interoperability is so impaired that you pretty much need to know in advance which version of PGP each recipient uses.

The triumph of ssh v2 (a classic second system) over v1 is another example: whatever the theoretical weaknesses of v1 were, it was surely better to encrypt one's communication than not. We need a v3, a stripped-down and streamlined version closer to v1 than v2.

We seem to be better at building great steaming piles of crypto (e.g., OpenSSL) than getting to the core of what needs to be done and doing just that.

i hate git, 17 December 2015

I have used plenty of revision control systems and don't really like any of them (though I can use them), but I truly detest git, which I find unusable. It's slow, wasteful, bureaucratic, and over-complicated, which does make it a good match for Linux, for which it was written.

computing experience


computing interests

UTF and Unicode examples

Geoff Collyer
geoff at