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Eric Steven Raymond (born December 4, 1957), often referred to as ESR, is an American
software developer A computer programmer, sometimes called a software developer, a programmer or more recently a coder (especially in more informal contexts), is a person who creates computer software Software is a collection of instructions Instruction or ...

software developer
,
open-source software Open-source software (OSS) is computer software Software is a collection of instructions Instruction or instructions may refer to: Computing * Instruction, one operation of a processor within a computer architecture instruction set * Co ...
advocate, and author of the 1997 essay and 1999 book ''
The Cathedral and the Bazaar ''The Cathedral and the Bazaar: Musings on Linux and Open Source by an Accidental Revolutionary'' (abbreviated ''CatB'') is an essay, and later a book, by Eric S. Raymond Eric Steven Raymond (born December 4, 1957), often referred to as ES ...
''. He wrote a guidebook for the
Roguelike Roguelike (or rogue-like) is a subgenre of role-playing video game A role-playing video game (commonly referred to as simply a role-playing game or RPG, as well as a computer role-playing game or CRPG) is a video game genre A video game ...
game ''
NetHack ''NetHack'' is an open source Open source is source code that is made freely available for possible modification and redistribution. Products include permission to use the source code, design documents, or content of the product. The open-sourc ...
''. In the 1990s, he edited and updated the
Jargon File The Jargon File is a glossary __NOTOC__ A glossary (from grc, γλῶσσα / language, speech, wording) also known as a vocabulary or clavis, is an alphabetical list of terms in a particular domain of knowledge Domain knowledge is knowledg ...
, currently in print as ''The New Hacker's Dictionary''.


Early life

Raymond was born in , in 1957 and lived in Venezuela as a child. His family moved to
Pennsylvania Pennsylvania ( , elsewhere ; pdc, Pennsilfaani), officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastlines lie on endorheic basi ...

Pennsylvania
in 1971. He developed
cerebral palsy Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of movement disorders Movement disorder refers to any clinical syndrome with either an excess of movement or a paucity of voluntary and involuntary movements, unrelated to weakness or spasticity Spasticity () is ...

cerebral palsy
at birth; his weakened physical condition motivated him to go into computing.


Career

Raymond began his programming career writing
proprietary software Proprietary software, also known as non-free software or closed-source software, is computer software for which the software's publisher or another person reserves some rights from licenses to use, modify, share modifications, or share the softwa ...
, between 1980 and 1985. In 1990, noting that the
Jargon File The Jargon File is a glossary __NOTOC__ A glossary (from grc, γλῶσσα / language, speech, wording) also known as a vocabulary or clavis, is an alphabetical list of terms in a particular domain of knowledge Domain knowledge is knowledg ...
had not been maintained since about 1983, he adopted it, but not without criticism; Paul Dourish maintains an archived original version of the Jargon File, because, he says, Raymond's updates "essentially destroyed what held it together." In 1996 Raymond took over development of the open-source email software "popclient", renaming it to
Fetchmail Fetchmail is an open-source software utility for POSIX-compliant operating systems which is used to retrieve e-mail from a remote Post Office Protocol, POP3, Internet Message Access Protocol, IMAP, or On-Demand Mail Relay, ODMR mail server to the ...
. Soon after this experience, in 1997, he wrote the essay "
The Cathedral and the Bazaar ''The Cathedral and the Bazaar: Musings on Linux and Open Source by an Accidental Revolutionary'' (abbreviated ''CatB'') is an essay, and later a book, by Eric S. Raymond Eric Steven Raymond (born December 4, 1957), often referred to as ES ...
", detailing his thoughts on
open-source software development Open-source software development is the process by which open-source software Open-source software (OSS) is computer software Software is a collection of instructions Instruction or instructions may refer to: Computing * Instruction, o ...
and why it should be done as openly as possible (the "bazaar" approach). The essay was based in part on his experience in developing Fetchmail. He first presented his thesis at the annual
Linux KongressThe Linux Kongress was an annual conference of Linux Linux ( or ) is a family of free and open-source software, open-source Unix-like operating systems based on the Linux kernel, an Kernel (computing), operating system kernel first released ...
on May 27, 1997. He later expanded the essay into a book, ''The Cathedral and the Bazaar: Musings on Linux and Open Source by an Accidental Revolutionary'', in 1999. The essay has been widely cited. The internal white paper by Frank Hecker that led to the release of the
Mozilla Mozilla (stylized as moz://a) is a free software Free software (or libre software) is computer software distributed under terms that allow users to run the software for any purpose as well as to study, change, and distribute it and any a ...

Mozilla
(then
Netscape Netscape Communications Corporation (originally Mosaic Communications Corporation) was an American independent computer services company with headquarters in Mountain View, California Mountain View is a city in Santa Clara County, Californi ...
) source code in 1998 cited ''The Cathedral and the Bazaar'' as "independent validation" of ideas proposed by Eric Hahn and
Jamie Zawinski Jamie Zawinski (born November 3, 1968), commonly known as jwz, is an American computer programmer A computer programmer, sometimes called a software developer, a programmer or more recently a coder (especially in more informal contexts), is ...
. Hahn would later describe the 1999 book as "clearly influential". From the late 1990s onward, due in part to the popularity of his essay, Raymond became a prominent voice in the open source movement. He co-founded the
Open Source Initiative The Open Source Initiative (OSI) is the steward of the Open Source Definition ''The Open Source Definition'' is a document published by the Open Source Initiative, to determine whether a software license can be labeled with the Open-source soft ...
(OSI) in 1998, taking on the self-appointed role of ambassador of
open source Open source is source code that is made freely available for possible modification and redistribution. Products include permission to use the source code, design documents, or content of the product. The open-source model is a decentralized softwa ...
to the press, business and public. He remains active in OSI, but stepped down as president of the initiative in February 2005. In early March 2020, he was removed from two Open Source Initiative mailing lists due to posts that violated the OSI's Code of Conduct. In 1998 Raymond received and published a Microsoft document expressing worry about the quality of rival open-source software. He named this document, together with others subsequently leaked, "''The
Halloween Documents Halloween or Hallowe'en (a contraction of "All Hallows' evening"), less commonly known as Allhalloween, All Hallows' Eve, or All Saints' Eve, is a celebration geography of Halloween, observed in many countries on 31 October, the eve of the We ...
''". In 2000–2002 he created Configuration Menu Language 2 (CML2), a source code configuration system; while originally intended for the
Linux operating system Linux ( or ) is a family of open-source Unix-like A Unix-like (sometimes referred to as UN*X or *nix) operating system is one that behaves in a manner similar to a Unix system, while not necessarily conforming to or being certified to a ...
, it was rejected by kernel developers. (Raymond attributed this rejection to "kernel list politics", but
Linus Torvalds Linus Benedict Torvalds ( , ; born 28 December 1969) is a Finnish-American software engineer who is the creator and, historically, the main developer of the Linux kernel The Linux kernel is a free and open-source Free and open-source soft ...
said in a 2007 mailing lis
post
that as a matter of policy, the development team preferred more incremental changes.) Raymond's 2003 book ''
The Art of Unix Programming ''The Art of Unix Programming'' by Eric S. Raymond is a book about the history and culture of Unix Computer programming, programming from its earliest days in 1969 to 2003 when it was published, covering both genetic derivations such as BSD and c ...
'' discusses user tools for programming and other tasks. Some versions of ''
NetHack ''NetHack'' is an open source Open source is source code that is made freely available for possible modification and redistribution. Products include permission to use the source code, design documents, or content of the product. The open-sourc ...
'' still include Raymond's guide. He has also contributed code and content to the
free software Free software (or libre software) is computer software distributed under terms that allow users to run the software for any purpose as well as to study, change, and distribute it and any adapted versions. Free software is a matter of liberty ...

free software
video game ''
The Battle for Wesnoth ''The Battle for Wesnoth'' is a free and open-source Free and open-source software (FOSS) is software that is both free software and open-source software where anyone is free software license, freely licensed to use, copy, study, and change ...
''. Raymond is the main developer of NTPSec, a "secure, hardened replacement" for the Unix utility NTP.


Views on open source

Raymond coined an
aphorism An aphorism (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...
he dubbed
Linus's law In software development, Linus's law is the assertion that "given enough eyeballs, all software bug, bugs are shallow". The law was formulated by Eric S. Raymond in his essay and book ''The Cathedral and the Bazaar'' (1999), and was named in honor ...
, inspired by
Linus Torvalds Linus Benedict Torvalds ( , ; born 28 December 1969) is a Finnish-American software engineer who is the creator and, historically, the main developer of the Linux kernel The Linux kernel is a free and open-source Free and open-source soft ...
: "Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow". It first appeared in his book ''The Cathedral and the Bazaar''. Raymond has refused to speculate on whether the "bazaar" development model could be applied to works such as books and music, saying that he does not want to "weaken the winning argument for open-sourcing software by tying it to a potential loser". Raymond has had a number of public
disputes Controversy is a state of prolonged public dispute or debate, usually concerning a matter of conflicting opinion An opinion is a judgement, viewpoint, or Proposition, statement that is not conclusive, rather than facts, which are true statements ...
with other figures in the
free software movement The free software movement is a social movement A social movement is a loosely organized effort by a large group of people to achieve a particular goal, typically a or one. This may be to carry out, resist or undo a . It is a type of and ma ...
. As head of the Open Source Initiative, he argued that advocates should focus on the potential for better products. The "very seductive" moral and ethical rhetoric of
Richard Stallman Richard Matthew Stallman (; born March 16, 1953), also known by his initials, rms, is an American free software movement The free software movement is a social movement A social movement is a loosely organized effort by a large group of peo ...

Richard Stallman
and the
Free Software Foundation The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is a 501(c)(3) A 501(c)(3) organization is a corporation, trust, unincorporated association, or other type of organization exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of Title 26 of the United States ...
fails, he said, "not because his principles are wrong, but because that kind of language ... simply does not persuade anybody". In a 2008 essay he defended programmers' right to issue work under proprietary licenses: "I think that if a programmer wants to write a program and sell it, it's neither my business nor anyone else's but his customer's what the terms of sale are." In the same essay he said that the "logic of the system" puts developers into "dysfunctional roles", with bad code the result.


Political beliefs and activism

Raymond is a member of the
Libertarian Party Many countries and subnational political entities have libertarian parties. Although these parties may describe themselves as libertarian, their ideologies differ considerably and not all of them support all elements of libertarianism Liber ...
. He is a
gun rights The right to keep and bear arms (often referred to as the right to bear arms) is a right for people to possess weapons A weapon, arm or armament is any implement or device that can be used with the intent to inflict damage or harm. Weapons ...
advocate. He has endorsed the open source firearms organization
Defense Distributed Defense Distributed is an online open-source hardware organization that develops digital schematics of firearms in CAD files, or "wiki weapons", that may be downloaded from the Internet and used in 3D printing or CNC, CNC milling applications. Amo ...
, calling them "friends of freedom" and writing "I approve of any development that makes it more difficult for governments and criminals to monopolize the use of force. As 3D printers become less expensive and more ubiquitous, this could be a major step in the right direction." In 2015 Raymond accused the Ada Initiative and other women in tech groups of attempting to entrap male open source leaders and accuse them of rape, saying "Try to avoid even being alone, ever, because there is a chance that a 'women in tech' advocacy group is going to try to collect your scalp." Raymond has claimed that "Gays experimented with unfettered promiscuity in the 1970s and got AIDS as a consequence", and that "Police who react to a random black male behaving suspiciously who might be in the critical age range as though he is an near-imminent lethal threat, are being rational, not racist." Progressive campaign The Great Slate was successful in raising funds for candidates in part by asking for contributions from tech workers in return for not posting similar quotes by Raymond. Matasano Security employee and Great Slate fundraiser Thomas Ptacek said, "I’ve been torturing Twitter with lurid Eric S. Raymond quotes for years. Every time I do, 20 people beg me to stop." It is estimated that as of March 2018 over $30,000 has been raised in this way.


Religious beliefs

Raymond describes himself as
neo-pagan Modern Paganism, also known as Contemporary Paganism and Neopaganism, is a collective term for religious movementVarious sociological classifications of religious movements have been proposed by scholars. In the sociology of religion, the most w ...
.


Bibliography

* Hamerly, Jim, Paquin, Tom and Walton, Susan;'
Freeing the Source: The Story of Mozilla
', in ''Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution'', O'Reilly, 1999. 280pp, * Wayner, Peter;
Free for All: How LINUX and the Free Software Movement Undercut the High-Tech Titans
', HarperCollins, 2000, 340pp, * Suarez-Potts, Louis;'

', Community Articles, May 1, 2001, www.openoffice.org, OpenOffice website * Moody, Glyn; ''Rebel Code: Linux and the Open Source Revolution'', Basic Books 2002, 342pp,


By Eric Raymond


Books

* ''The New Hacker's Dictionary'' (editor) (MIT Press ) – printed version of the
Jargon File The Jargon File is a glossary __NOTOC__ A glossary (from grc, γλῶσσα / language, speech, wording) also known as a vocabulary or clavis, is an alphabetical list of terms in a particular domain of knowledge Domain knowledge is knowledg ...
with Raymond listed as the editor. * ''The Cathedral and the Bazaar'' (O'Reilly; hardcover , October 1999) – includes "
The Cathedral and the Bazaar ''The Cathedral and the Bazaar: Musings on Linux and Open Source by an Accidental Revolutionary'' (abbreviated ''CatB'') is an essay, and later a book, by Eric S. Raymond Eric Steven Raymond (born December 4, 1957), often referred to as ES ...
", "
Homesteading the Noosphere "Homesteading the Noosphere" (abbreviated HtN) is an essay An essay is, generally, a piece of writing that gives the author's own argument In logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning Reason is the ...
", " The Magic Cauldron" an
"Revenge of the Hackers"
* ''
The Art of Unix Programming ''The Art of Unix Programming'' by Eric S. Raymond is a book about the history and culture of Unix Computer programming, programming from its earliest days in 1969 to 2003 when it was published, covering both genetic derivations such as BSD and c ...
'' (Addison-Wesley, October 2003; ) * '' Learning GNU Emacs, 3rd Edition'' Cameron, Debra; Elliott, James; Loy, Marc; Raymond, Eric; Rosenblatt, Bill (O'Reilly Media, December 2004; )


Writings posted or archived on his website

*
The Art of Unix Usability
', the book about programming and user interface philosophy in UNIX *

', mirrored on personal site *

', excerpt from ''The Cathedral and the Bazaar'', mirrored on personal site *
Eric Raymond's FAQ collection
', mirrored on his personal site. Includes links to Linux Documentation Project.


See also

* ''
Revolution OS ''Revolution OS'' is a 2001 documentary film that traces the twenty-year history of GNU, Linux, Open-source model, open source, and the free software movement. Directed by J. T. S. Moore, the film features interviews with prominent hacker (progr ...
'' (film) *
Hacker ethic The hacker ethic is a philosophy and set of moral values that is common within hacker culture. Practitioners of the hacker ethic believe that sharing information and data with others is an ethical imperative. The hacker ethic is related to the ...
*
Halloween documents Halloween or Hallowe'en (a contraction of "All Hallows' evening"), less commonly known as Allhalloween, All Hallows' Eve, or All Saints' Eve, is a celebration geography of Halloween, observed in many countries on 31 October, the eve of the We ...
*
Release early, release often Release early, release often (also known as Ship Early, Ship Often, time-based releases, and sometimes abbreviated RERO) is a list of software development philosophies, software development philosophy that emphasizes the importance of early and fre ...


References


Further reading

*


External links

*
Blog ("Armed and Dangerous")
* * * {{DEFAULTSORT:Raymond, Eric S. 1957 births American bloggers American gun rights activists American technology writers American speculative fiction critics Free software programmers Geeknet
Living people Related categories * :Year of birth missing (living people) / :Year of birth unknown * :Date of birth missing (living people) / :Date of birth unknown * :Place of birth missing (living people) / :Place of birth unknown * :Year of death mi ...
Massachusetts Libertarians Members of the Open Source Initiative board of directors Open source advocates American Modern Pagans Pennsylvania Libertarians People with cerebral palsy Science fiction fans Science fiction critics Writers from Boston University of Pennsylvania alumni 21st-century American non-fiction writers