Eric Steven Raymond, often referred to as ESR, is an American computer programmer, author and open source software advocate. After the 1997 publication of The Cathedral and the Bazaar, Raymond was for a number of years frequently quoted as an unofficial spokesman for the open source movement. He is also known for his work on the popular Roguelike game Nethack for which he wrote the Guidebook, in addition to being a member of the “Dev-Team”. More recently, he is recognized in certain circles for his 1990 edit and later updates of the Jargon File, currently in print as the The New Hacker’s Dictionary. Born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1957, Raymond lived in Venezuela as a child. His family moved back to Pennsylvania in 1971. Raymond said in an interview that his cerebral palsy motivated him to go into computing. Raymond has spoken in more than fifteen countries on six continents, including a lecture at Microsoft. He wrote CML2, a source code configuration system; while originally intended for the Linux kernel, it was rejected by kernel developers. Raymond attributed this rejection to “kernel list politics”. Linus Torvalds on the other hand said in a 2007 mailing list post that as a matter of policy, the development team preferred more incremental changes.
Jonathan Coulton is an American singer-songwriter, known for his songs about geek culture and his use of the Internet to draw fans. Among his most popular songs are “Code Monkey”, “Re: Your Brains” and “Still Alive”. A former computer programmer employed at Cluen, a New York City software company, and self-described geek, Coulton tends to write quirky, witty lyrics about science fiction and technology: a man who thinks in simian terms, a mad scientist who falls in love with one of his captives, and the dangers of bacteria. Rare topical songs include 2005’s “W’s Duty”, which sampled President George W. Bush, and 2006’s “Tom Cruise Crazy”. Most of Coulton’s recordings feature his singing over guitar, bass, and drums; some also feature the various other instruments Coulton plays, including accordion, harmonica, mandolin, banjo, ukulele, and glockenspiel. Coulton graduated in 1993 from Yale, where he was a member of the Yale Whiffenpoofs and the Yale Spizzwinks. He is now the Contributing Troubadour at Popular Science magazine, whose September 2005 issue was accompanied by a five-song set by him called Our Bodies, Ourselves, Our Cybernetic Arms. He was also the Musical Director for The Little Gray Book Lectures.
Leo Gordon Laporte is an American technology broadcaster, author, and entrepreneur. Laporte studied Chinese history at Yale University before dropping out in his junior year to pursue his career in radio broadcasting, where his early radio names were Dave Allen and Dan Hayes. He began his association with computers with his first home PC, an Atari 400. Laporte said he purchased his first Macintosh in 1984. He operated one of the first Macintosh-only bulletin board systems, MacQueue, from 1985 to 1988. Laporte owns and operates a podcast network, TWiT.tv. It is available on iTunes and other podcast subscription services. Before the expansion to new facilities in 2011, Laporte said TWiT earns $1.5 million annually on a production cost of only $350,000. In a 2012 Reddit posting, he commented that revenue is approaching $4 million. Laporte calls his audio and video shows “netcasts,” saying “I’ve never liked the word podcast. It causes confusion … people have told me that they can’t listen to my shows because they ‘don’t own an iPod’ … I propose the word ‘netcast.’ It’s a little clearer that these are broadcasts over the Internet. It’s catchy and even kind of a pun.”
Randal L. Schwartz, also known as merlyn, is an American author, system administrator and programming consultant. Schwartz is the co-author of several widely used books about Perl, a programming language, and has written regular columns about Perl for several computer magazines, including UNIX Review, Web Techniques, and the Perl Journal. He popularized the Just another Perl hacker signature programs. He is a founding board member of the Perl Mongers, the worldwide Perl grassroots advocacy organization. He is currently a member of the Squeak Oversight Board, which oversees the Squeak programming language. He has owned and operated Stonehenge Consulting Services, Inc. since 1985. After joining as co-host of FLOSS Weekly, a free software/open source (FLOSS) themed podcast in 2007, he assumed the role of host in 2010. He has done voice work for StarShipSofa, a science-fiction podcast.
Raymond “Ray” Ozzie is an American software industry entrepreneur who held the positions of Chief Technical Officer and Chief Software Architect at Microsoft between 2005 and 2010. Before Microsoft, he was best known for his role in creating Lotus Notes. He grew up in Chicago, Illinois, later moving to Park Ridge, Illinois and graduating from Maine South High School in 1973 where he learned to program on a GE-400 mainframe and did technical work on school theater productions. He received his bachelor’s degree in computer science in 1979 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he worked on the PLATO system, and began his working career at Data General Corporation where he worked for Jonathan Sachs. After leaving Data General, Ozzie worked at Software Arts for Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston, the creators of VisiCalc, on that product and TK Solver. Shortly thereafter, he was recruited by Sachs and Mitch Kapor to work for Lotus Development to develop what became Lotus Symphony. Ozzie left Lotus Development in 1984 and founded Iris Associates to create the product later sold by Lotus as Lotus Notes, based in part on his experiences using the PLATO Notes group messaging system. Iris Associates was acquired by Lotus in 1994, and Lotus itself was acquired by IBM in 1995.
Gene Myron Amdahl is a Norwegian American computer architect and hi-tech entrepreneur, chiefly known for his work on mainframe computers at IBM and later his own companies, especially Amdahl Corporation. He is perhaps best known for formulating Amdahl’s law, which states a fundamental limitation of parallel computing. Amdahl was born to immigrant parents of Norwegian and Swedish descent in Flandreau, South Dakota. After serving in the Navy during WWII he completed a degree in engineering physics at South Dakota State University in 1948. He went on to study theoretical physics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and completed his doctorate there in 1952 with a thesis titled A Logical Design of an Intermediate Speed Digital Computer and creating his first computer, the WISC. He then went straight from Wisconsin to a well-paid position at IBM in June 1952.
William Nelson Joy, commonly known as Bill Joy, is an American computer scientist. Joy co-founded Sun Microsystems in 1982 along with Vinod Khosla, Scott McNealy and Andy Bechtolsheim, and served as chief scientist at the company until 2003. He is widely known for having written the essay “Why the future doesn’t need us”, where he expresses deep concerns over the development of modern technologies. He played an integral role in the early development of BSD UNIX while a graduate student at Berkeley, and he is the original author of the vi text editor. In 2000 Joy gained notoriety with the publication of his article in Wired Magazine, “Why the future doesn’t need us”, in which he declared, in what some have described as a “neo-Luddite” position, that he was convinced that growing advances in genetic engineering and nanotechnology would bring risks to humanity. He argued that intelligent robots would replace humanity, at the very least in intellectual and social dominance, in the relatively near future. He advocates a position of relinquishment of GNR (Genetics, Nanotechnology, and Robotics) technologies, rather than going into an arms race between negative uses of the technology and defense against those negative uses (good nano-machines patrolling and defending against Grey Goo “bad” nano-machines). Many of his arguments have been addressed by Ray Kurzweil and by others.