PMB 549 (this is a mailbox store, you won't find me there)
1563 Solano Blvd.
Berkeley CA 94707
I am one of the founders of the Open Source movement in software.
Before that, I played a role in the genesis of 3-D animated feature
film, and am credited on Pixar films.
I'm a software company owner, an operating systems kernel programmer,
a paid public speaker, a strategic consultant to major corporations,
a well-published writer, an expert witness, and a specialist in the
intersection of software and law.
I represented Open Source at the United Nations World Summit on the
Information Society. I helped get Linux on the Space Shuttle.
I have a credit on the films
Toy Story II
A Bug's Life.
I was a top strategist and spokesperson for one of the best-known
corporations. I've keynoted many computer conferences, and four law
conferences. I've been featured in two documentaries.
I like to work where different disciplines meet, like computers and
film, or software and law, because the most important and creative work
goes on at those intersections.
I enjoy working with top management, attorneys, and financiers as well
as engineering, PR and publicity, and customers.
Rather than have this be exclusively me writing about myself, here are
some outside sources and the way they see me today:
has an article about me.
Videos of me
that other people have posted on YouTube - many of which have
accumulated hundreds or thousands of views. Also
Internet Film Database
covers some of the films I've worked on, and one of the documentaries where I'm featured.
Top 50 Agenda-Setters.
I made the list in '06 and '07 but not since '08,
I'd better work harder.
finds books in which I'm mentioned.
I also come up astonishingly high in Google searches for just
. About number 12 to 14 at this writing.
Management of software development, management of corporate line
strategy, corporate policy development, small company CEO and CTO,
press and public relations (marketing communications), public
speaking, some strategic marketing.
Ruby on Rails, C, C++, kernel internals and device drivers, assembly
language, microcode, embedded systems, computer language design and
development. Those are my strong ones, but I learn new computer
languages and facilities quickly and can program most anything.
Teacher of continuing legal education classes to attorneys.
Expert witness, bridge
between legal and engineering, train legal on
Open Source issues and engineering on intellectual property issues,
opening keynote for conferences on Open Source law.
Executive editor for 24-book series, have had refereed articles
accepted in software engineering, economics, and law.
Have presented to UN, to a nation's congressional body, to several
heads of state. Keynote or speaker at too many conferences to count.
Interesting Things I've Done
In 2005 UNDP, the United Nations Development Program,
asked me to participate in the UN Word Summit on the
Information Society, which was meeting in Tunis, Tunisia.
I was granted partial diplomatic immunity. A video of my
(Ogg Theora format, may require installation of a plug-in).
In 1981, I joined the
NYIT Computer Graphics Laboratory
which was the predecessor of
Computer graphic 3-D animation was
in its infancy. I joined Pixar in 1987, as employee number 62. I
am credited on
Toy Story II
A Bug's Life.
I was an operating systems programmer at both
Pixar and NYIT. When I arrived at Pixar, they were manufacturing
a line of graphics hardware and I was in charge of all systems
programming and first turn-on for a new image computer. I wrote
microcode (lower-level than assembly-language programming) for the
Pixar Image Computer and wrote a behavioral simulation for the
memory controller gate-array in a new image computer. The simulation
allowed us to get the memory controller working in the "first turn"
of our custom chip, at a time when no run-time programmable
gate-arrays were available and a turn of fabrication for an
application-specific integrated circuit took at least a month.
I worked on many projects during my 12 years at Pixar. After they
became successful in film, I worked on a new computer language and framework for image processing, and studio tools for the animators.
I created the
Open Source Definition
the manifesto of the Open Source movement in software and definition
of its software licensing rules, as a policy document for
About 8 months later, Eric Raymond and I founded the
Open Source Initiative.
I was the first person to announce "Open Source" to the world.
Of course this is standing on the shoulders of Richard Stallman and
his Free Software movement.
Linux on the Space Shuttle
I helped get the
Debian GNU/Linux system on the Space Shuttle
by assisting the shuttle "Biosciences" experiment developer
in implementing a feature that wasn't offered "out of the
box" by Linux distributions at that time. This was the first
publicly-acknowledged flight of Linux on a space mission. The
experiment was flown twice in 1997. Shuttle flight STS-83
aborted its mission and returned to earth early due to an
erroneous indication on one of its fuel-cell sensors, leading
to a repeat of the mission on STS-84.
World Wide Web Consortium
When it looked as if the World Wide Web consortium would vote for
royalty-bearing patents for web standards, Tim Berners-Lee summoned
myself and Eben Moglen to participate as invited experts on the
W3C's patent policy
board, and to help set a royalty-free policy for their standards.
I brought Larry Rosen, another Open Source advocate, on to the
board with me. Here is the
we helped create.
I testified in Jacobsen v. Katzer, an important case, in 2009.
My testimony is here.
For the past two years and continuing this year, I teach an annual
continuing legal education class to attorneys and keynote the
associated conference Open Source
I consult for many law firms and corporate law departments, notably
Greenberg Traurig, Qualcom, Broadcom, Continental Automotive.
I was a visiting lecturer with the
University of Agder
from 2006-2008, under a grant from the Competence Fund of
Southern Norway. In 2009 I taught a summer session to Ph.D.
students, and I will return there to lecture in 2011.
I was senior scientist for Open Source with the
Cyber Security Policy Research Laboratory
of George Washington University.
Most recently, I participated in a 2009
to advise the incoming Obama administration and other national
governments on the policy agenda for intellectual property.
In 2007, I met with the President of the Chamber of Deputies in
and addressed a committee of the Chamber of Deputies.
The Chamber of Deputies is the lower House of Parliament in Italy.
Through University of Agder, I am a frequent consultant to
the Norwegian government's IT rule-making.
I was on the advisory board of
Norwegian Open Source Center
I have been on the advisory board of
a Washington D.C. organization that promtes reform in IT laws and
At Agder, I was the IPR policy consultant of the
European Internet Accessibility Observatory.
and also did some technical consultation.
at an early point in the revision of the European
European Interoperability Framework,
to counter a report that the EU had contracted from Gartner
that was, astonishingly, critical of Open Standards and would
have made European government software procurement less friendly
to Open Source. Subsequent to my work (and many comments from
others) the EU released a
that reiterates its support
Open Standards that are friendly to Open Source, and promotes
Open Source in general.
I keynoted the EU Government's
I was the second leader of the Debian Open Source Linux distribution,
after founder Ian Murdock.
GNU/Linux distribution is one of the best respected versions of
Linux. The popular Ubuntu system is based upon it.
I built the team from 60 developers to 200, and led the transition
of the system to the modern ELF executable system from its previous
a.out implementation. I set many of the project policies, most of
which still stand today.
Morse Code Law
to repeal an international treaty law that required ham
radio operators to pass a test on manual Morse code, decades
after voice communications became the norm.
Mostly this was a matter of lobbying the hams themselves
to ask their national governments and their international
representatives to remove the law. Getting this done took
10 years. I was able to get the process going because as a
ham who had passed a high-speed telegraphy exam, and was not
involved in selling ham radio paraphernalia, I could
represent the cause as someone who believed in it but would
not benefit from the rule change.
Most nations, including the U.S. FCC, first lowered
the required code speed to something reasonable, from a previous
speed that was purposely so high as to to keep people out of ham
radio. Then, the International Telecommunications Union, the
UN's telecommunications treaty body, removed provision S25.5 from
the international telecommunications treaty. This allowed the
nations to eliminate Morse code requirements entirely, and most
did. At this point only Russia is known to have a Morse code
In the late '80's, I created the
memory buffer overrun debugger
for Unix, which now also works on Linux and Microsoft Windows.
This debugger was the first to use the memory management hardware
to stop a program on the exact
instruction where a memory buffer overrun occurs. Previously,
there had been no reliable way to find this problem on Unix,
and this caused both applications and the underlying software of
the operating system to be intermittently unreliable, and the problem
was un-diagnosable because it would occur almost randomly in different
areas of allocated memory each time a program ran.
Electric Fence is the first known example of an Open Source program
cited as prior art in a patent application. It's listed in two AT&T
Alan Robertson, one of the co-inventors, told me that I killed two
patent claims that AT&T would otherwise have filed.
It has since been cited in
filed by Sun Microsystems and now owned by Oracle.
When HP customers
started running Electric Fence on the HP-UX system, they filed
so many bug reports on HP's own C library that HP had to do an
unscheduled software release to repair the issues.
programmers would email me "thank you" notes regarding the bugs that
Electric Fence found.
the embedded systems toolkit for Linux. It's now in millions of
wireless access points, cell phones, set-top boxes, etc.
I have never been involved in the lawsuits brought by later Busybox
In 2000, I was hired as HP's senior global strategist for Linux
and Open Source, a position equivalent to section manager. I
was the only HP employee, other than Carly Fiorina, allowed
to speak my own opinions to the press. Unfortunately, the HP-Compaq
merger happened, and the Compaq side of the company won management
of Linux at that time.
I was series editor of the
Bruce Perens' Open Source Series
of books with Prentice Hall PTR. 24 titles were published, all
with Open Source licenses on the text, long before the advent of
"Creative Commons". Only one title of the 24 failed to make money.
Linux Standard Base:
The standards organization of Linux,
later evolved into the
Software in the Public Interest,
Debian's 501(c)3 non-profit foundation, today also supports a
number of other Open Source projects.
Open Source Initiative:
Active Agenda LLC: 2010-current
Director on the executive board and part owner. This start-up company
provides software for the management of operational risk. Currently
leading their transition to a software-as-a-service business.
Perens LLC: 2008-current
Strategic consultant for large companies
developing products that incorporate
Open Source, consultant to law firms, paid public speaker.
Some Notable Customers:
National Government of Norway,
Lexis-Nexis division of Elsevier, Qualcom, Broadcom, Unisys,
Greenberg Traurig Law Firm,
Continental Automotive, Siemens, Symbian
University of Agder: 2005-2009 and present
Visiting lecturer, funded as a three-year grant by
Competence Fund of Southern Norway
Part-time position while I was also employed by Sourcelabs and
then Perens LLC.
Keynoted conferences, participated in Norwegian Government
policy development, taught students, performed research, was
consultant for an EU grant project: European Internet Accessibility
I visited Norway several times a year, and brought my family
there for two summers. The rest of the work was performed
remotely from Berkeley.
Dr. Mikael Snaprud,
Email: mikael at uia.no .
Vice President. This was a half-time position, as I wanted to have
some additional time at home while my son was growing up, and also
wanted time to participate in outside Open Source projects and
issues. The company is now defunct, supervisor was Byron Sebastian.
Merrill Lynch and TIAA.
Perens LLC: 2002-2005
Strategic consultant, expert witness and paid public speaker.
NTT Docomo, Sealaska, Fluke Electronics.
Hewlett-Packard Corporation: 2000-2002
Senior global strategist for Linux and Open Source.
Policy making, strategic consultation to internal departments making
use of Open Source in products, company representative to press and
Linux Capital Group: 1999-2000
CEO of business incubator. Created Progeny Linux Systems and hired
its CEO. The company held on for 8 years but unfortunately is now
Pixar Animation Studios: 1987-1999
Senior Systems Programmer, producing studio tools for film
animation. Wrote kernel drivers, designed computer languages and
2-D imaging framework. Chief systems programmer for "Pixar II",
a SIMD image computer. Wrote hardware diagnostics, microcode,
SCSI target adapter. Chief software engineer and later project
leader for ICEMAN computer language, under a grant from ARPA.
Matrix Instruments: 1986
Project manager for medical computer graphic laser film recorder
development. Responsible for a division in Orangeburg, NY and an
acquired company in Torrance, CA.
NYIT Computer Graphics Laboratory: 1981-1986
Senior systems programmer. This laboratory was the predecessor
of Pixar, most of Pixar's founders and principal scientists worked
there, or had worked there.
, the first private space program:
Creating and evangelizing technical initiatives.
Assisting counsel in the development of legal structures
for Open Source and Open Hardware.
Participated in an amicus curiæ (friend of the court) filing in a
notable court case, pro bono publico (for the public good - without pay).
Speaking and writing on Open Source and Open Hardware.
This is what I really should have put at the top of the resume, because
it's most important: I'm a father and a husband. My wife and I have
a wonderful 8-year-old boy.
I've made sure I've been at home a lot while my son is growing up.
Ham radio, travel, skiing, bicycling, hiking,
flat-water kayaking, white water rafting (former guide).