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Resume of Eric Steven Raymond

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Work Experience

Open Source Initiative (June 1998 to present)

I co-founded and served as president until 2005 of the Open Source Initiative, a 501(c)3 educational organization that builds bridges between the hacker community and business with the aim of spreading the open-source development method.

VA Linux Systems (November 1998 to April 2002)

I was a member of the Board of Directors of VA Linux Systems (NASDAQ symbol LNUX), a leading Linux hardware and systems company during the dot-com era. As one of five directors I helped steer VA through its record-breaking IPO in December 1999.

Technical Director, Chester County InterLink (October 1993 to June 1999)

In September 1993, I co-founded Chester County InterLink (CCIL) as its Technical Director. CCIL is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization chartered to provide free InterNet access to the residents of Chester County, Pennsylvania. At last count, it had over two thousand users and was gaining about fifty a week.

My responsibilities during this period have included:

Independent Consulting (May 1985 to October 1993)

During this period, my activities included:

Rabbit Software (May 1983 to June 1985)

Technical Specialist, Operating Systems. I was one of the first 7 technical hires at Rabbit's startup. I designed and coded major subsystems for 3270 emulation products. I developed a multiple-task windowing package involving substantial device-driver modifications. I wrote and maintained house standards for C and UNIX portability/style, documentation practices and general software engineering technique. I acted as system administrator, support person, toolsmith and resident UNIX expert for up to 20 programmers on BSD 4.1, System III, System V, XENIX and FOS environments running over a VAX-11/750, several AT&T 3B series machines, a handful of 68000-based UNIX boxes and the IBM PC/AT.

MicroCorp (November 1981 to April 1983)

Lead Programmer. I designed and developed business software products for various Z80, 8088 and 68000-based micros. I coauthored Intelliterm, a successful serial-communications program for the IBM PC. I wrote UNBASIC, a preprocessor to translate Pascal-like structured BASIC into IBM BASIC.

Burroughs Federal and Special Systems Group (November 1980 to November 1981)

Software Engineer. I developed software for Burroughs's Artificial Intelligence and Advanced Programming Environments research group. Worked on LISP development tools, algebraic reduction systems, theorem-provers and formal specification languages. I participated in the design of an actor language.

Wharton School Computer Center (August 1977 to October 1979)

I did consulting, support and development work in APL, Pascal and LISP for various Wharton School projects on a DEC KL-10 under TOPS-10. I wrote a LISP manual that was still reported in use five years later. I was one of two local experts most involved in DEC's beta-test of APL-SF.

Technical Skills


I have developed software on the following machines: The Osborne 1 Z80 micro. TRS Models I, II and III. The IBM PC, XT and AT; also various generic AT-bus 386, 486, and Pentium boxes. The Apple II and Macintosh. Sun, Fortune, AT&T 7300/3B1 and several other generic 68000-based UNIX boxes. DEC-10, PDP-8 and VAX 11-750 minicomputers. The AT&T 3B series machines, including the 3B2, 3B10, 3B15 and 3B20. The Pyramid 90x. Burroughs 1900, 6700 and 6800 mainframes; also B/20 and B/25 workstations.

My home computer is a PCI-bus Pentium 133 running Red Hat Linux.

Operating Systems:

I am expert in UNIX in all its major flavors and lookalikes. I have also developed software under MS-DOS, the Macintosh Environment, BTOS, CP/M, TOPS-10, and CANDE.


My high level languages include C, LISP, Pascal, APL, FORTRAN and several BASICS, Tcl, Expect, Perl, and Python; I am best, and highly expert, at C, LISP, and Python. My assemblers include Z80, 80x86, and 680xx. I am also accomplished in various special-purpose languages such as YACC, LEX, DBASE III, PROGRESS, and EMACS Lisp. I think of myself as a language designer, have a strong interest in language and compiler issues and tend to learn new ones quickly.

Communications Skills

I can write effective prose at any technical level. Since 1997 I have been widely sought after as a speaker at technical conferences. I once achieved modest success as a performing artist, and learned from that how to read and hold an audience. I read technical French, Spanish and Italian and have (retained) some understanding of them spoken.

Product Credits

For more recent projects, see my software page

My technical tutorial The Hitchhiker's Guide to X386 Video Timing (or, Tweaking Your Monitor Modes for Fun and Profit) is included as an official part of the XFree86 distribution of X11R6 and the high-performance SGCS X server.

I have been an active member of the GNU project, and was principally responsible for EMACS Lisp maintenance between December 1991 and June 1993. Many of the new features in Emacs 19 were my work.

I maintain numerous other well-regarded FAQ and HOWTO documents, including the Software Release Practice HOWTO, the So You Want To Be A UNIX Wizard? FAQ (aka The Loginataka), the Unix and Internet Fundamental HOWTO, the Unix Hardware Buyer's HOWTO, the XFree86 Video Timings HOWTO, and the How To Become A Hacker FAQ.

Publication Credits

I have the following magazine credits:

Understanding UNIX was the lead article of a special section, and only missed being the cover story because IBM released the ill-fated PC Junior that week. Assemblers Without Ulcers was for years standard course material at the Boston Computer Society's technical seminars.

I have the following book credits:

I was the principal researcher and author of Portable C and UNIX Systems Programming, ISBN 0-13-686494-5 from the Prentice-Hall Software series, 249pp. (the name "J. E. Lapin" appearing on the cover was a corporate fiction).

The Waite Group's 1987 book The UNIX Papers (ISBN 06722-25786, 517pp) features a paper by me entitled The Future of UNIX and Open Systems Standards. I was also the major technical reviewer for the book.

I conceived and edited The New Hacker's Dictionary (MIT Press, 1991, ISBN 0-262-18145-2). This book received enthusiastic reviews in The New York Times, PC Magazine, Byte, PC World, UNIX Review, IEEE Spectrum, and numerous other popular and technical magazines. In August 1993 the second edition was cited in Newsweek.

The second edition of The New Hacker's Dictionary came out September 1993 and, so far, has been equally successful. The book seems well on its way towards becoming an institution, and will probably outlive my tenure as editor. Sales to date are about 40,000 copies.

The advent of the September 1996 third edition led to interviews in Wired (August 1996) and People (October 1996).

In November 1996 O'Reilly Associates published the second edition of Learning GNU Emacs, ISBN 0-937175-84-6. I am a credited coauthor of this edition.

In early 1998, I was the editor of Linux Undercover, the compendium of Linux documentation published by Red Hat Software.

In 1999, O'Reilly associates published my three essays on open-source development as The Cathedral and the Bazaar. A second edition was released in January 2001. This book reached #7 on the New York Times's list of business-book bestsellers.

I have the following miscellaneous other credits:

Language I originated has been incorporated in the POSIX Draft proposed UNIX standard (re tape archive backup formats and extensions to multi-volume operation) and in the ANSI X3J11 Draft Proposed C Standard (re the asm() optional extension).

I have twice been a guest lecturer at the Institute For Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. I ran workshops there on Emacs and Internet for the technical staff and research scientists.

I was selected to be a member of the program committee for the first Conference on Freely Redistributable Software, held in Boston February 1996.

I was an invited speaker at Linux Kongress '97, the Atlanta Linux Showcase, and the first Perl Conference in 1997. My paper, The Cathedral And The Bazaar, was very well received. This paper was subsequently described by Netscape Communications, Inc., as a major factor in their decision to release their client software as open source. Since this event I have been an invited speaker on various aspects of open source at dozens of technical conferences.

I was one of the invitees at Tim O'Reilly's history-making Freeware Summit in April 1998. Other invitees included Linus Torvalds, Larry Wall, Phil Zimmerman, Guido Van Rossum, and John Gilmore.

I was also the keynote speaker at Open Source Developer Day in August 1998 and at the 7th Python Conference in November 1998.

I am a member of Merrill Lynch's Technology Advisory Board.

I earned a design assistance credit in the 6.1 edition of Close Action (Tempest Games), a highly-regarded set of rules for simulation of Napoleonic-era naval warfare.

I have appeared as a supporting artist on two record albums: A Song of Gods Gone Mad (Daystar Records, 1980), and Full Circle (Third Day Records, 1995).


Undergraduate studies (including some graduate-level courses) in mathematics and philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania.

I have never taken any courses in computer science or software engineering.

Personal Data

My interests (outside of computers) include science fiction, wargaming, writing, martial arts (I hold a World Tae-Kwon-Do Federation 1st Dan Black Belt, have fought in battleline with SCA heavy weapons, and am studying aikido), firearms (especially target and tactical pistol shooting), epic poetry and music (I play and compose on flute, guitar, hand drums and voice, and occasionally perform with local bands in the Chester County area). I have a novel (SF, titled Shadows and Stars) nearly completed.

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