Linux Guru Bruce Perens Leaves HP

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2002-09-09 Print this article Print

Update: The open-source evangelist talks about his plans for the future.

Bruce Perens, who recently left his position as senior Linux and open-source strategist for Hewlett-Packard Co., plans to continue in his role as an open-source evangelist—and as a thorn in Microsofts side. "I will also continue with activities like my role on the W3C patent policy board. I am also going to be offering consulting on open source policies and processes for corporations, and on public relations with the open source developer community," Perens told eWEEK in an e-mail exchange Wednesday. "As the primary author of HPs open source policy manual, and a founding member of its Open Source Review Board, I am well equipped to help other companies use open source successfully," he said.
While declining to elaborate on the reasons behind his departure from HP, Perens confirmed that while he was "terminated" by HP, it was an "amicable parting, and I hope to do some consulting for HP in the future."
An HP spokeswoman declined to comment, citing corporate policy against discussing employment history of current or former HP employees. Perens was appointed to HP some 18 months ago to help focus and propel the companys Linux and open-source vision and to serve as the companys point man for the open-source community, where he was well respected and had significant ties. One of his most notable achievements was leading the Debian Project to create a Linux distribution based on open-source software. He also helped to craft the Debian Social Contract, which later became the Open Source Definition. Industry sources said talk is that Perens and HP management clashed about his vocal support and often outspoken style. The sources said he was expected to tone down his often sharp anti-Microsoft rhetoric following the merger of HP and Compaq Computer Corp., given the extent of the new companys Microsoft business. Ironically, at the time of his appointment in December 2000, Perens told eWEEK that part of his job description was to "challenge HP management" and that his goal was to ensure that the company integrated the Linux operating system into its business plan in a far greater way than it currently did. "My goal is to increase the role of Linux across HP as well as to facilitate greater communication with the Linux and open-source development communities. I will also be working towards ensuring that whatever hardware we produce, an open-source developer will be able to write his own driver for it. If I can achieve that alone I will have accomplished something significant," he said.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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