John Lions

John Lions (standing) with his students in 1980

John Lions (19 January 1937 – 5 December 1998) was an Australian computer scientist. He is best known as the author of Lions' Commentary on UNIX 6th Edition, with Source Code, commonly known as the Lions Book.

Early lifeEdit

Lions gained a degree with first-class honours from the University of Sydney in 1959. He applied, and received a scholarship to study at the University of Cambridge where he earned his doctorate on Control engineering in 1963. After his graduation, he worked at the consulting firm KCS Ltd in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In 1967, he briefly took a position at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada before moving on to working for Burroughs in Los Angeles as a Systems Analyst.

Later lifeEdit

In 1972 he moved back to Sydney, Australia and became a senior lecturer in the Department of Computer Science at the University of New South Wales (UNSW). In 1980, he was promoted to Associate Professor and apart from sabbaticals in 1978, 1983 and 1989 at Bell Laboratories, he remained at the school until retiring in 1995 due to bad health.


Personal lifeEdit

John Lions was married to Marianne and had two children, Katherine and Elizabeth.

Posthumous honoursEdit

John Lions Chair in Computer ScienceEdit

After his death, John O'Brien, Steve Jenkin, Chris Maltby and Greg Rose, former students of Lions, commenced a campaign to raise funds to create a chair in his name at UNSW, the John Lions Chair of Operating Systems. With donations from many UNSW alumni, corporations, Usenix, Linux Australia, the chair was created in 2006, becoming the first chair at UNSW funded by contributions from alumni. In 2009, Gernot Heiser became the inaugural John Lions Chair.

John Lions GardenEdit

In 2002, UNSW dedicated the John Lions Garden in front of the new Computer Science and Engineering building to Lions' memory.

John Lions Award for Contribution to Open SoftwareEdit

In 2011, The School of Computer Science and Engineering at UNSW initiated the John Lions Award for Contribution to Open Software. The Prize is open to high school and undergraduate university students enrolled in an Australian secondary or tertiary institution. Full-time and part-time students are eligible, as well as local and internationals students. The annual prize is valued at $1,000.

External linksEdit