Theodore Ts'o

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Theodore Yue Tak Ts'o
Born 1968 (age 48–49)
Palo Alto, California
Residence Medford, Massachusetts
Nationality American
Other names Ted
Alma mater Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Occupation computer scientist, free software developer
Employer Google
Known for Involvement in FOSS, e2fsprogs
Awards Award for the Advancement of Free Software

Theodore Yue Tak Ts'o (曹子德) (born 1968) is a software engineer mainly known for his contributions to the Linux kernel, in particular his contributions to file systems. He is the primary developer and maintainer of e2fsprogs, the userspace utilities for the ext2, ext3 and ext4 filesystems, and is a maintainer for the ext4 file system.


Ts'o graduated from MIT with a degree in computer science in 1990, after which he worked in MIT's Information Systems (IS) department until 1999. During this time he was project leader of the Kerberos V5 team.

In 1994, Ts'o created the /dev/random Linux device node and the corresponding kernel driver, which was Linux's (and Unix's) first kernel interface that provided high quality cryptographic random numbers to user programs.[1] /dev/random works without access to a hardware random number generator, allowing user programs to depend upon its existence. Separate daemons such as rngd take random numbers from such hardware and make them accessible via /dev/random.[2] Since its creation, /dev/random and /dev/urandom have become standard interfaces on Unix, Linux, BSD and macOS systems.[3]

After MIT IS Ts'o went to work for VA Linux Systems for two years. In late 2001 he joined IBM, where he worked on improvements in the Linux kernel's performance and scalability. After working on real time kernel at IBM, Ts'o joined the Linux Foundation for a 2 years fellowship. Initially he served as Chief Platform Strategist[4] before he became Chief Technology Officer in 2008.[5] Ts'o also served as Treasurer for USENIX until 2008, and has chaired the annual Linux Kernel Developers Summit.

In 2010 Ts'o moved to Google,[6] saying he would be working on "kernel, file system, and storage stuff."[7]

Ts'o is a Debian Developer, maintaining several packages, mostly filesystem-related ones, including e2fsprogs since March 2003. He was a member of the Security Area Directorate for the Internet Engineering Task Force, and was one of the chairs for the IPsec working group. He was one of the founding board members for the Free Standards Group.


Ts'o was awarded the Free Software Foundation's 2006 Award for the Advancement of Free Software.


  1. ^ "random.c", Linux (source code) 
  2. ^ "Randomness shouldn't be left to chance", Linux certified (howto) 
  3. ^ "How good is LavaRnd?: Detailed Description of Test Results and Conclusions", LavaRnd, 22 Sep 2004, archived from the original on 2007-04-03, retrieved 21 June 2011 
  4. ^ "Linux Kernel Developer Ted Ts’o Joins Linux Foundation as Chief Platform Strategist". The Linux Foundation. December 4, 2007. Retrieved 30 December 2015. The Linux Foundation (LF), the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced that Linux kernel filesystem maintainer Ted Ts’o is joining the organization as a Fellow and chief platform strategist. [dead link]
  5. ^ "Linux Foundation Appoints Ted Ts’o to Position of Chief Technology Officer". The Linux Foundation. December 18, 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-12-20. Retrieved 2008-12-21. 
  6. ^ "Ted T'so moves to Google". Retrieved 14 January 2010. Theodore 'Ted' T'so has moved to Google, leaving his position as Linux Foundation's Chief Technology Officer. 
  7. ^ "Proud to be a Googler". Retrieved 14 January 2010. I’m going to be working on kernel, file system, and storage stuff. Ext4 will definitely be one of the first things I’ll be working on, see: 

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