Image of Leonard Zubkoff

Leonard N. Zubkoff
December 19, 1957 - August 29, 2002

This site is dedicated to Leonard N. Zubkoff ( who died tragically in a helicopter crash in August of 2002. This site memorializes Leonard's contributions to Linux and Open Source.

An avid supporter of Open Source, Leonard's involvement went back to his days as principal scientist at Lucid, where he designed and implemented the ports of Lucid Common Lisp to the Apollo PRISM and IBM POWER architectures, and contributed to Lucid Emacs (which later became XEmacs. Leonard's passion for Open Source crystallized when his favorite operating system, Apollo's DOMAIN/OS, was pulled out from under him by the acquisition of Apollo by HP. Leonard vowed that he would never again put his personal time and effort into developing on an operating system where he did not have the source code and where the OS vendor could pull the rug out from under him.

Following Lucid's demise, Leonard worked as a principal member of the technical staff at Oracle Corporation where by day he built instruction level performance monitoring and analysis tools and by night he was a Linux kernel developer.

In July of 1998 Leonard became Chief Technical Officer of VA Linux Systems. Although best known for the Mylex/BusLogic SCSI and RAID drivers in the Linux kernel, his contributions were much more widespread and had a broader impact than most people realized. His work on Mylex/Buslogic produced the first truly stable high-performance SCSI and RAID device drivers for Linux, in part enabling Linux to become the OS of choice on Internet servers. Anyone who remembers the early years of Linux development remembers that BusLogic/Mylex was the SCSI card of choice because of Leonard's work.

Most people don't know that Leonard was also a member of the XFree86 core team, where he contributed to the Matrox drivers. On the kernel side, he also acted as maintainer of the SCSI subsystem for several years, contributed to the stability of the SMP implementation for 4 & 8 processor systems, and even wrote an ethernet driver. Leonard was the first person to make Linux work on a 4-way Intel architecture multi-processor system, a quad Pentium Pro system based on the Intel 450GX chipset. Leonard demonstrated this achievement on July 14, 1998 at an event in Silicon Valley entitled 'The Future of Linux' and sponsored by Taos Mountain, VA Linux, and others. Estimated to have been attended by almost 1,000 people, that event is widely hailed as having been the final catalyst in convincing the major database vendors (Informix and Oracle) to announce their intention to support Linux. Leonard's demonstration of Linux's ability to scale to a 4-way system was critical.

Leonard retired from VA in 2001 when VA changed is business from being a Linux vendor to developing SourceForge. Leonard was lucky enough that his time at VA left him in a position where he could retire and pursue other interests, although he remained as a kernel maintainer. He will be missed both as a friend and for his contributions to our community.

-- Text by Larry M. Augustin

Jan Jewell has posted a tribute to Leonard Zubkoff, including details of his life and circumstances of his passing.