Bruce Perens: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bruce Perens

Perens at the World Summit on the Information Society 2005 in Tunis speaking on "Is Free/Open Source Software the Answer?" Richard Stallman is on Perens's right
Occupation Computer programmer
Known for Open Source Initiative, BusyBox
Call-sign K6BP

Bruce Perens is a computer programmer and advocate in the open source community. He created the Open Source Definition and published the first formal announcement and manifesto of open source.[1][2] He co-founded the Open Source Initiative with Eric S. Raymond.[3]

In 2005, Perens represented Open Source at the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society, at the invitation of the United Nations Development Program. He has appeared before national legislatures and is often quoted in the press, advocating for open source and the reform of national and international technology policy.

Perens is also a ham, with callsign K6BP. He is well known in the amateur radio community for his efforts towards open radio communications standards.



Perens poses Open Source as a means of marketing the free software philosophy of Richard Stallman to business people who are more concerned with profit than freedom, and states that open source and free software are only two ways of talking about the same phenomenon. This differs from Stallman[4][5] and Raymond. Perens postulates an economic theory for business use of Open Source in his paper The Emerging Economic Paradigm of Open Source and his speech Innovation Goes Public.[6] This differs from Raymond's theory in The Cathedral and the Bazaar, which having been written before there was much business involvement in open source, explains open source as a consequence of programmer motivation and leisure.


Perens is a former Debian Project Leader, a founder of Software in the Public Interest, founder and first project leader of the Linux Standard Base project, the initial author of BusyBox, and founder of the UserLinux project. Perens also has a book series with Prentice Hall PTR called the Bruce Perens' Open Source Series. He is an avid amateur radio enthusiast (callsign K6BP[7]) and maintained, which he closed in late 2008 because its revenues did not cover its costs. He is also the founder of No Code International, an organization whose primary purpose was to eliminate morse code proficiency as a requirement to obtain an amateur radio license. This goal has been reached with the removal of code requirements from international law (International Telecommunications Union treaty provision S25.5), the new "code-free" rules introduced on 2007-02-23, and similar legal changes in almost all nations worldwide.[citation needed]

Perens left OSI a year after co-founding it, with reasons explained in an email titled "It's Time to Talk About Free Software Again".[8] In February 2008, for the 10th anniversary of the Open Source, Perens published a message to the community called "State of Open Source Message: A New Decade For Open Source".[9] For the same event, the 10th anniversary of Open Source, the ezine RegDeveloper published an interview with Bruce Perens where he revives an updated view on the past and the future, and the dangers of the Open Source, especially the useless proliferation of OSI approved licenses and the strength of the GPL 3.[10] In addition, the interview covered Linus Torvalds' refusal to adopt the GPLv3 for the Linux kernel.[11]

He was an employee of SourceLabs from June 2005 until December 2007.[12] He is currently CEO of Kiloboot.

Creation of the Open Source Definition

The Open Source Definition was first created by Perens as the Debian Free Software Guidelines, itself part of the Debian Social Contract. Perens proposed a draft of the Debian Social Contract to the Debian developers on the debian-private mailing list early in June, 1997. Debian developers contributed discussion and changes for the rest of the month while Perens edited, and the completed document was then announced as Debian project policy. On February 3, 1998, a group of people met at VA Linux Systems (without Perens) to discuss the promotion of Free Software to business from pragmatic terms, rather than the moral terms preferred by Richard Stallman. Christine Petersen of the nanotechnology organization Foresight Institute was present because Foresight took an early interest in Free Software, and Petersen suggested the term "Open Source". The next day, Eric Raymond recruited Perens to work with him on the formation of Open Source. Perens modified his Debian document into the Open Source Definition by removing Debian references and replacing them with "Open Source".

The original announcement of the Open Source Definition was made on February 9, 1998 on Slashdot[13] and elsewhere; the definition was given in Linux Gazette on February 10, 1998.[1]


Perens worked at Pixar for 12 years before leaving to work full-time on Open Source issues, and before then at the New York Institute of Technology Computer Graphics Lab, spending a total of 19 years in the computer graphics and feature film industry. These two decades were the genesis of the 3-dimensional feature film animation that is taken for granted today. He is credited as a studio tools engineer on Toy Story 2 and A Bug's Life.[14] He is featured in two documentaries on Open Source: Revolution OS and The Code-Breakers. He produced a video commercial, Impending Security Breach, for Sourcelabs in 2007.


Perens is finishing a three-year grant from the Competence Fund of Southern Norway. With this funding, he spent part of the summer as a visiting lecturer and researcher at University of Agder in 2006 and 2007, and does other work remotely. During this time he consulted the Norwegian Government and other entities on government policy issues related to computers and software. He previously worked remotely as Senior Scientist for Open Source with the Cyber Security Policy Research Institute of George Washington University.

2007 activities

Today, Perens is still active in representing open source to the world and advising several national governments and multinational corporations regarding Open Source. In 2007 some of his government advisory roles included: a meeting with the President of the Chamber of Deputies (the lower house of parliament) in Italy and testimony to the Culture Committee of the Chamber of Deputies;[15] a keynote speech at the foundation of Norway's Open Source Center, following Norway's Minister of Governmental Reform (Perens is on the advisory board of the center);[16] he provided input on the revision of the European Interoperability Framework;[17] and he was keynote speaker at a European Commission conference on Digital Business Ecosystems at the Centre Borschette, Brussels, on November 7.


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ "Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution". 1999-03-29. Retrieved 2009-07-15. 
  3. ^ "History of the OSI | Open Source Initiative". Retrieved 2009-07-15. 
  4. ^ "Review: Perens Speaks about Free Software in Copenhagen". 2007-08-17. Retrieved 2009-07-15. 
  5. ^ "Review: Perens Speaks about Free Software in Copenhagen". 2007-08-17. Retrieved 2009-07-15. 
  6. ^ "The Emerging Economics of Open Source Software". 2004-09-30. Retrieved 2009-07-15. 
  7. ^ "ULS License - Vanity License - K6BP - PERENS, BRUCE J". 2006-09-26. Retrieved 2009-07-15. 
  8. ^ "It's Time to Talk About Free Software Again". Retrieved 2009-07-15. 
  9. ^ "Bruce Perens - State of Open Source Message: A New Decade For Open Source". 1998-02-09. Retrieved 2009-07-15. 
  10. ^ Clarke, Gavin (11 February 2008). "Perens: 'Badgeware' threat to open source's next decade". Developer. The Register. Retrieved 2009-07-15. 
  11. ^ "". Retrieved 2009-07-15. 
  12. ^ "On My Own Again". Retrieved 2009-07-15. 
  13. ^ "Free Software's New Name". Slashdot. 1998-02-09. Retrieved 2009-07-15. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Visit to Rome". Retrieved 2009-07-15. 
  16. ^ "Norway opens Free Software Center". Retrieved 2009-07-15. 
  17. ^ "Bruce Perens - The Confusion of Tongues: EIF 2.0, Standards, and Interoperability". 2007-09-13. Retrieved 2009-07-15. 

External links

Preceded by
Ian Murdock
Debian Project Leader
April 1996 – December 1997
Succeeded by
Ian Jackson


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Bruce Perens is a computer programmer and Open Source activist.


  • It [Open Source] is a massively parallel drunkards' walk filtered by a Darwinian process.
  • It used to be that, when something strange happened, we'd hear on the news "Police believe this is the act of an isolated nut." On the internet there are no isolated nuts; whatever kind of nut you are, you can find fifty nuts in the world exactly like you.


  • Never respond to critical press. It is a game you can only lose, and it makes us look bad.
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