Bruce Perens

Bruce Perens

Richard Stallman is on Perens's right.]

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.cite web |url=|title='The Open Source Definition - earliest known surviving publication, in Linux Gazette issue 26, dated February 10, 1998. The earliest versions of this announcement may predate this document by several days.'; cite web | url =|title="The Open Source Definition" - from "Open Sources - Voices from the Open Source Revolution", O'Reilly Press] He co-founded the Open Source Initiative with Eric S. Raymond. [cite web|url=|title="OSI History"]

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. [cite web |url=
] 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 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 claims that open source and free software are only two ways of talking about the same phenomenon. This differs from Stallman [cite web |url=|title=Comment under Review: Perens Speaks about Free Software in Copenhagen; cite web |url=|title=Review: Perens Speaks about Free Software in Copenhagen] and Raymond. [cite web|url=|title=Terminology Wars: Open Source vs. Free Software] 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". [cite web|url=|title=The Emerging Economic Paradigm of Open Source] 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 [cite web|url=|title=FCC Universal Licensing System - K6BP ] ) and maintains, which he styles 'a more mature forum than Slashdot'. [cite web|url=|title=Technocrat's Raison d’être] He is also the founder of No Code International which is 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. [ [ No-Code International ] ]

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] ". In February 2008, for the 10th anniversary of the Open Source, Perens has published an interesting message to the community called [ State of Open Source Message: A New Decade For Open Source] . For the same event, the 10th anniversary of Open Source, the ezine RegDeveloper has published [ an interesting 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. In addition, the interview covers Linus' refusal to adopt the GPLv3 for the Linux kernel. In this [ interview] , Perens discusses how he became involved in Open Source, and what keeps him involved today.

He was an employee of SourceLabs from June 2005 until December 2007 [ [ On My Own Again] ] . 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 [cite web|url=|title=" Free Software's New Name"] and elsewhere. The earliest known text of the definition is from Linux Gazette on February 10, 1998.


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. [ [ "Bruce Perens at the Internet Movie Database"] ] 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. [cite web|url=|title="T4P Conference, University of Agder, Norway"] He previously worked remotely as Senior Scientist for Open Source with the Cyber Security Policy Research Institute of George Washington University. [cite web|url=|title="Cyber Security Policy Research Institute - 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; [cite web|url=|title="Visit to Rome" - Perens' report on visiting the Italian government] 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); [cite web|url=|title=Norway Opens Free Software Center] he provided input on the revision of the European Interoperability Framework; [cite web|url=|title=The Confusion of Tongues, EIF 2.0, Standards, and Interoperability] and he was keynote speaker at a European Commission conference on "Digital Business Ecosystems at the Centre Borschette, Brussels, on November 7. [cite web|url=|title=European Commission conference on "Digital Business Ecosystems"]


External links

* [ Bruce Perens' homepage]
* [ Project Proposal and Call for Participation: The Linux Standard Base]
* [ "It's Time to Talk About Free Software Again", 1999]
* [ Video with Bruce Perens at Hannover Industry Trade Fair, Germany, May 2008]
* [ Linux Link Tech Show interview (audio), 2006] , [ 2008]
* []
* [ No Code International]
* [ Interview (audio) at Defrag Ohio with Meet the Bloggers]
* [ A talk about open source recorded in Rome in June 2007]

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