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Eric S. Raymond

Raymond at Linucon 2005
Born December 4, 1957 (1957-12-04) (age 52)
Boston, Massachusetts
Residence Pennsylvania
Nationality US American
Other names ESR
Occupation Software developer, author

Eric Steven Raymond[1] (born December 4, 1957), often referred to as ESR, is a computer programmer, author and open source software advocate. His name became known within the hacker culture when he picked up maintenance of the "Jargon File" in 1990. After the 1997 publication of "The Cathedral and the Bazaar", Raymond became, for a number of years, an unofficial spokesman of the open source movement.[2]



Born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1957, Raymond lived in Venezuela before settling in Pennsylvania in 1971.[3] Raymond says his congenital cerebral palsy motivated him to chase a future in computing;[4] his involvement with hacker culture began in 1976, and he contributed to his first free and open source software project in the late 1980s.[citation needed] His primary contributions to open source software have been maintaining the fetchmail email client for a certain time, and gpsd. Other contributions have included Emacs editing modes and portions of libraries like GNU ncurses, giflib/libungif, and libpng;[citation needed] he also contributes code and content to The Battle for Wesnoth.[5] He also wrote CML2, a source code configuration system; while originally intended for the Linux kernel, it was rejected by kernel developers.[6] Raymond attributed this rejection to "kernel list politics".[7]

Raymond is the author of a number of How-to documents and FAQs, many of which are included in the Linux Documentation Project corpus.[8] Raymond's 2003 book The Art of Unix Programming covers Unix history and culture, and modern user tools available for programming and accomplishing tasks in Unix. Raymond has also been the editor of the Jargon File since he adopted it in 1990. Raymond has been the author of the included guide document for NetHack for several versions.[9]

In addition to his computing interests, and sometimes complementing them, Raymond has a strong interest in science fiction and its fandom,[10] is an active Libertarian,[11] and has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do;[12] he is also a neopagan,[13] a political anarchist,[14] and an advocate of the general right to possess and use firearms.[15] Raymond ceased blogging in June 2006, but resumed in June 2008, making reference to "a certain lawsuit now in court" as the cause for the hiatus.[16]

In June 2009 Raymond participated in the establishment of[17] the hacktivist website NedaNet,[18] founded in honor of Neda Soltan "to support the democratic revolution in Iran" via proxy servers, anonymizers, etc. He serves most prominently as the website's public contact,[19] and has in this capacity received on-line threats,[20] including one death threat which he claims he has reported to the FBI which the agency "is taking seriously".[21] Raymond refers to his current situation as "... living inside a cyberpunk novel. A libertarian cyberpunk novel."[22]

Open source

Raymond's models of how the open source community works were influenced[23] by an early draft of a paper[24] by Keith Henson describing religious fervor as an overstimulation of evolved responses to social status rewards. More colloquially, Raymond later coined the aphorism "Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow."[25] He credits Linus Torvalds with the inspiration for this quotation, which he dubs "Linus' Law". The quotation appears in "The Cathedral and the Bazaar", published in 1997.[26] Raymond became a prominent voice in the open source movement and co-founded the Open Source Initiative in 1998. He also took on the self-appointed role of ambassador of open source to the press, business and public. The release of the Mozilla (then Netscape) source code in 1998 was an early accomplishment. Raymond has spoken in more than fifteen countries on six continents, including a lecture at Microsoft.[27]

In his open source advocacy, Raymond refused to speculate on whether the "bazaar" development model could be applied to works such as books and music, not wanting to "weaken the winning argument for open-sourcing software by tying it to a potential loser".[28]

Raymond has had a number of public disputes with other figures in the free software movement. He has rejected what he describes as the "very seductive" moral and ethical rhetoric of Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation, asserting that this is "not because his principles are wrong, but because that kind of language ... simply does not persuade anybody."[29]

In February 2005, Raymond stepped down as the president of the Open Source Initiative.

Raymond accepted stock options from VA Software to provide credibility to the company and act as a hired "corporate conscience".[30][31] He was granted 150,000 share options, which reached a value of $36 million on the day of VA's initial public offering,[30][32] equivalent to a current $47 million after inflation. His shares vested over a four year period contingent on him staying on the board. Twelve months later, following the Internet bubble burst, shares of VA had dropped from a high of $242.87 to $14.[33]


See also


  1. ^ Raymond, Eric S. (2003-01-29). "Resume of Eric Steven Raymond". Retrieved 2009-11-23. 
  2. ^ "Hackers cut off SCO Web site". 2003-08-25. Retrieved 2009-08-22. 
  3. ^ "Man Against the FUD". Retrieved 2008-07-07. 
  4. ^ Leonard, Andrew (April 1998). "Let my software go!". (San Francisco, California: Salon Media Group). Retrieved 2009-11-23. 
  5. ^ "People at Gna!: Eric S. Raymond Profile". Retrieved 2009-11-23. 
  6. ^ "CML2, ESR, & The LKML". KernelTrap. 2002-02-17. 
  7. ^ McMillan, Rob. "Interview: Eric Raymond goes back to basics". IBM developerWorks. 
  8. ^ "Eric Raymond's FAQ collection". Retrieved 2007-02-25. 
  9. ^ Raymond, Eric S. (2003-12-08). "A Guide to the Mazes of Menace (Guidebook of Nethack)". Retrieved 2008-12-15. 
  10. ^ Raymond, Eric Steven. Conventions at Light Speed: What Hackers Can Learn From SF Fandom 1998, 2000, 2001
  11. ^
  12. ^ Leibovich, Mark (1998-12-03). "U.S. v. Microsoft Special Report: The Spreading Grass-Roots Threat to Microsoft". The Washington Post (Washington, D.C.): p. A01. Retrieved 2008-07-08. 
  13. ^ Raymond, Eric S. (1995-07-25). "Dancing With The Gods". Retrieved 2005-09-14. 
  14. ^ Raymond, Eric S. (1999-12-18). "Why I Am An Anarchist". Retrieved 2009-12-04. 
  15. ^ Raymond, Eric S. (2006-06-24). "Ethics from the Barrel of a Gun: What Bearing Weapons Teaches About the Good Life". Retrieved 2009-12-04. 
  16. ^ Raymond, Eric S. (2008-06-26). "I’m unstealthing". Armed and Dangerous. Retrieved 2008-09-17. 
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ Steinberg, Julie "Neda Agha Soltan’s Death Inspires New Site" WSJ Blogs: Digits:Technology News and Insights. June 22, 2009
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ Etheridge, Eric. "Morning Skim: What Now for Iran’s Protestors?" New York Times Opinion: The Opinionator: A Gathering of Opinion From Around the Web. June 22, 2009
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ Gruen, Nicholas (2009-01-29). "Reduce the bugbears with some beta-tested policies". Retrieved 2009-02-05. 
  26. ^ Raymond, Eric S. (2002-08-15). "Release Early, Release Often". The Cathedral and the Bazaar. Retrieved 2007-02-25. 
  27. ^ Open Source Advocate Invited To Microsoft
  28. ^ Raymond, Eric S. (2000). "Afterword: Beyond Software?". Retrieved 2007-07-24. 
  29. ^ Raymond, Eric S. (1999-07-28). "Shut Up And Show Them The Code". Linux Today. Retrieved 2009-11-23. 
  30. ^ a b Raymond, Eric S. (1999-12-10). "Eric S. Raymond -- Surprised By Wealth". Linux Today. Retrieved 2009-11-23. 
  31. ^ ESR hard times
  32. ^ "Open Source Rich Opens Mouth". 
  33. ^ "VA Stock Price History". 

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Eric S. Raymond (born December 4, 1957) (often referred to by his initials, ESR) is the author of "The Cathedral and the Bazaar" and the present maintainer of the "Jargon File" (also known as "The New Hacker's Dictionary").


  • Anybody who has ever owned a dog who barked when strangers came near its owner's property has experienced the essential continuity between animal territoriality and human property. Our domesticated cousins of the wolf are instinctively smarter about this than a good many human political theorists.
  • Damn straight I took it personally. And if you ever again behave like that kind of disruptive asshole in public, insult me, and jeopardize the interests of our entire tribe, I'll take it just as personally -- and I will find a way to make you regret it. Watch your step.
  • Lisp is worth learning for the profound enlightenment experience you will have when you finally get it; that experience will make you a better programmer for the rest of your days, even if you never actually use Lisp itself a lot.
  • In the U.S., blacks are 12% of the population but commit 50% of violent crimes; can anyone honestly think this is unconnected to the fact that they average 15 points of IQ lower than the general population? That stupid people are more violent is a fact independent of skin color.
  • A clash of civilizations driven by the failure of Islamic/Arab culture (though I would stress the problem of the Islamic commandment to jihad more than he does). I think he [Steven den Beste] is also right to say that our long-term objective must be to break, crush and eventually destroy this culture, because we can't live on the same planet with people who both carry those memes and have access to weapons of mass destruction. They will hate us and seek to destroy us not for what we've done but for what we are.[1]
  • ...and we're weighed down by a crappy implementation language (C++).
  • And for any jihadi interested in asking me questions face to face, I’ve got some bullets slathered in pork fat to make you feel extra special welcome.[2]

External links

Simple English

Eric S. Raymond (ESR) is an author and computer programmer. He became famous when he picked up maintenance of The Jargon File.

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