About Bruce Perens

Mr. Perens can be reached via email to bruce at perens dot com.

Bruce Perens is one of the founders of the Open Source movement in software, and was the person to announce “Open Source” to the world. He created the Open Source Definition, the set of legal requirements for Open Source licensing which still stands today.

Mr. Perens is presently CEO of Algoram, a start-up business which is producing a 50-1000 MHz software-defined radio transceiver, and of Legal Engineering, a legal-technical consultancy.

Mr. Perens was Senior Global Strategist for Linux and Open Source with HP, and vice president of Sourcelabs. He represented Open Source at the U.N. Summit on the Information Society, at the invitation of the U.N. Development Project. Mr. Perens is the creator of Busybox, which is a component of Millions of commercial devices that use Linux. Busybox has the unfortunate feature of being the most-litigated Open Source program, although Mr. Perens was never associated with the plaintiffs. Mr. Perens eventually started assisting the defendants in these cases, which led to the formation of Legal Engineering.

Mr. Perens is a generalist, and feels that the most creative work is done at the intersections between fields rather than as a specialist in only one. Thus, he has worked on the junction of art and software at Pixar Animation Studios, the junction of intellectual property, economics, community, and programming in his work on Open Source, the junction of law and software for Legal Engineering, and the junction of electronics, communications, and software in his software-defined radio work for Algoram.

For his consultancy, Legal Engineering, Bruce Perens is the bridge between lawyers and engineers, helping one to understand the other. He instructs engineers in how to comply with legal requirements and how to deal with intellectual property issues in their own work, and produces clarity for attorneys who are working on issues of computer software.

Among his skills, Mr. Perens is an operating systems programmer, a microcode (a level lower than assembly language, used in CPU design) programmer, computer language designer, is knowledgeable in electronics and an innovator in wireless communications, and is an intellectual property specialist. He is well-known as a technology evangelist, has published 24 books as a series editor, and made his living for several years as a paid public speaker.

Mr. Perens was involved in the creation of the field of 3-D animated feature film, working for 19 years in total in the film industry as a software developer, the last 12 of those years at Pixar, where he interacted frequently with Steve Jobs, designed a computer language for image processing, produced some of the software that Pixar uses to create animation, and was a Unix kernel programmer. He is credited as a senior systems programmer on the films Toy Story II and A Bug’s Life, and had uncredited technical roles in the production of many other films.

Mr. Perens was expert for the plaintiff in the appeal of Jacobsen v. Katzer, which established the legality of Open Source licenses. He was a case strategy consultant for Google’s outside counsel in the lower court case of Oracle v. Google. He has taught Continuing Legal Education classes in many states, although he is not an attorney. Most recently, he was keynote speaker at the Baker and Mackenzie Tech Days 2015, a Silicon Valley event attracting over 250 attorneys.

Mr. Perens was an operating systems programmer at the Computer Graphics Laboratory of the New York Institute of Technology, and a visiting researcher at the Univesity of Agder under a 3-year grant from the Competence Fund of Southern Norway. He was a remote researcher with the Cyber Security Policy Research Institute of George Washington University.

As series editor of the Bruce Perens’ Open Source Series with Prentice Hall PTR publishers, Mr. Perens published 24 books on Open Source software under an Open Publications license (predecessor to the Creative Commons licenses). All but one of the books was profitable and several still sell well more than a decade after publication.

Mr. Perens was founder of No-Code International, which helped to convince the International Telecommunications Union, FCC and the telecommunications regulators of many nations to drop the Morse code requirement for Amateur Radio licensing. With the possible exception of Russia, all nations have now dropped that requirement. Mr. Perens is a Radio Amateur, and holds an holds an Amateur Extra class license, with station license K6BP. He is active in the innovation of new codecs and protocols for digital voice communications. He serves AMSAT in helping to create a new geostationary satellite in cooperation with FEMA, which will provide 24-hour digital communications including disaster services.