About Me

I'm an Irish software developer. I've worked on both commercial and open source/free software. I prefer the latter, but now and again I have to work on the former. ;)

I work on Apache SpamAssassin, and at Amazon.

I write a weblog, talking about random stuff that I find interesting -- open source, Ireland, the software industry, computer security, and the tricky interface between high-tech and society. People seem to enjoy reading it, which is cool.

I'm living in Dublin, Ireland.


View Justin Mason's profile on LinkedIn Before the SpamAssassin explosion, I was working at Netnote, hacking on the Webnote, which originally was a low-cost internet access device (but has mutated in various other directions since). That was an education, in many ways.

Previously, I was the IONA sysadmin for four years or so, right when they started up -- I was one of the first employees, and wound up with employee number 1, which annoyed Annrai O'Toole no end. He should have pulled a Steve Jobs, and renumbered from zero.

In June 1993 I set up www.iona.ie, running Plexus (Tony Sanders' perl HTTP server). It was one of the first 100 servers on the net, and the first Irish non-academic website; check out this list of WWW servers from November '93 to get an idea of the web's size in those days. I think IONA's was about the 70th public HTTP server set up.

I recently came across IONA's listing in Marc Andressen's What's New list (it's listed right at the end, Sep 3 1993). As an illustration of link rot, it can't be beaten; after 6 years, virtually all the links in the entire page now get 404s. Just in case this link ever goes off, a mirror of the what's new list is kept here.

[Powered By OrbixWeb] After a few years of sysadmin, I moved to coding for IONA. I worked on Java and CORBA as part of the OrbixWeb team, which was good fun, although it made me a little Java-phobic by the end of it.

[Wonderwall logo] I also wrote IONA's IIOP security product, Wonderwall. I didn't come up with the ludicrously dated name BTW, but I did manage to slip in a Subgenius reference, in the form of the magic number 2965179317 -- 0xB0BD0BB5. ;)

To this day, I think all software developers need to spend time working on systems administration so they can understand software from 'both ends'.

Not Quite So Professional

The fruits of my open-source labours can be found at the Software page.

In 2001/2002, I did some wandering around Australia, New Zealand, Southeast and South Asia for a year, which was great fun and highly recommended. While I was over there, I found out that the open-source spam filter product I'd come up with had gone and become big news, hitting Wired News and the New York Times without me! I wound up giving quotes to Wired from an internet cafe in Bombay, which was pretty crazy.

Talking of the Subgenii, way back in 1993, I hacked up the web's very first HTML Subgenius pamphlet from Rev. Kareem du Gristle's USENET .txt one. It was one of the first Irish HTML pages created. Sorry Ireland. ;)

If you're looking for pictures, there's a whole load of them up here, or on my Flickr account. You probably won't be interested in those, unless you know me -- but then, I always find it fun to go looking at other people's holiday snaps, so who knows...

There's also and a slightly smaller and fuzzier batch from my now-defunct Casio watch camera here.