Encyclopedia > Eric S. Raymond

  Article Content

Eric S. Raymond

Eric Steven Raymond (often known as ESR) is the author of "The Cathedral and the Bazaar" and the present maintainer of "Jargon File" (better known as "The New Hacker's Dictionary"). Though the Jargon File established his original reputation as a historian/anthropologist of the hacker culture, after 1997 he became a leading figure in the open source movement, and is today one of the most famous (and controversial) of hackers.

Born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1957, Raymond lived on three continents and forgot two languages before settling in Pennsylvania in 1971. His involvement with hacker culture began in 1976, and he wrote his first open source project in 1982.

He is known by his hacker handle, ESR. Other hackers who go by their three initials are RMS and jwz.

Raymond maintains over thirty software projects and about a dozen key FAQs, and is a prolific essayist and weblogger as well. He was the creator of the C implementation of the INTERCAL programming language. He has also contributed many editing modes to the EMACS editor, and has more recently built a configuration tool originally intended for the Linux kernel.

Raymond coined the sentence, "Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow." He credits Linus Torvalds with the inspiration for this quotation, which he dubs "Linus's law". The "mainstream" source for the quotation is his 1999 book The Cathedral and the Bazaar: Musings on Linux and Open Source by an Accidental Revolutionary, Sebastopol, California: O'Reilly & Associates; but [1] (http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/cathedral-bazaar/x147) archives the earliest source (1997), originally distributed freely on the Internet.

After 1997 Raymond became the principal theorist of the open-source movement and one of the founders of the Open Source Initiative. He also took on the job of being the ambassador of open source to the press, business and the mainstream culture. He is a gifted speaker with the moves of a stand-up comic, and has taken his road show to more than fifteen countries on six continents. He is routinely quoted in the mainstream press, and as of 2003 has probably achieved more public visibility than any other hacker.

Raymond's tactics have scored a number of remarkable successes, beginning with the release of the Mozilla source code in 1998, and he is widely credited by both hackers and mainstream observers with having taken the open-source argument to Wall Street more effectively than anyone before him. But his very success has attracted criticism: some hackers view him as a relentless self-promoter, and his forthright rejection of the moral evangelism of RMS and the Free Software Foundation in favor of more pragmatic, market-friendly arguments has exacerbated some pre-existing political tensions in the community.

Raymond is an avowed libertarian. He is known to have a strong interest in science fiction, is an enthusiastic and talented amateur musician, and has a black belt in taekwondo. His public advocacy of Second Amendment rights nettles some hackers, but he seems to enjoy the controversy it engenders.

External links

All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

  Search Encyclopedia

Search over one million articles, find something about almost anything!
  Featured Article

... IQR or greater than Q3 + 1.5 × IQR where Q1 and Q3 are the first and third quartiles, respectively, and IQR is the interquartile range (equal to Q3 − ...