Linux Guru Bruce Perens Leaves HP

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.