Interest in open standards:
- I've watched the development of open software standards for 25 years and today my opinion is that the challenge has changed from a technical one to a political one. My interest is in defending open standards, as a critical part of our modern technological infrastructure. The best way to defend and promote open standards is, IMO, a community based approach. The wisdom of crowds, if you like.
- From 1991 to the present day, I have designed, written, and published many free software applications together with colleagues. This has taught me a lot about how to support hundred-thousand person communities without going crazy.
- In 2004-5 I designed the Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP) for and with JPMorganChase. This taught me a lot about the standardization process and capture by vendors using a variety of tactics.
- From 2005 to 2008 I was president of the FFII, which taught me a lot about how to build communities. The FFII has been described as a "wiki organization" and in many ways Digistan is designed as an FFII/2.0.
- I designed and launched the Digistan project in 2007, following my (hardly unique) observation that the world of open standards was under heavy attack from legacy vendors, and needed to organize in order to defend itself.
- Other projects that I've launched with varying degrees of success: EUPACO, Esoma, EthiPat, ODFworks, and OpenAMQ.
Declaration of interests:
- My business, iMatix develops free software, sells support services, and participates in the AMQP working group.
- I am an investor in and CEO of Wikidot, the infrastructure used for Digistan's microsites.
- I am not paid for my work on Digistan, nor on any related projects such as Esoma or EUPACO. I wish I was.
- I do activism because the topics interest me, and because I meet many interesting people, including many who work "for the other side".
- I am writing a book on the topic of the "Digital Revolution" and particularly, the conflicts it engenders and how these play out.
Born 1962 in Congo, grew up in East Africa, went to boarding school in Scotland, university (CompSci) in York, then military service in Belgium, and a career as a software architect and developer. Very broad experience, especially in social & technical architectures for large projects. Active in free software development for web technologies from 1991 onwards. Married with two young children, lives in Brussels, speaks English, French & Dutch fluently, smatterings of other languages. Has traveled extensively for work. Active in the political wing of the digital revolution since 2005, organizing the FFII, Esoma, and Digistan, speaking at conferences, and campaigning on many issues. Member of Mensa and of Rotary.