Benjamin Mako Hill

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Benjamin Mako Hill
Benjamin Mako Hill
Born (1980-12-02) December 2, 1980 (age 33)
Residence Seattle[1]
Occupation Assistant Professor
Employer University of Washington
Spouse(s) Mika Matsuzaki (2006-present)

Benjamin Mako Hill (born December 2, 1980) is a Debian hacker, intellectual property researcher, activist, author and avid cyclist[citation needed]. He is a contributor and free software developer as part of the Debian and Ubuntu projects as well as the author of two best-selling technical books on the subject, Debian GNU/Linux 3.1 Bible [2] and The Official Ubuntu Book.[3]

Hill is an assistant professor in Communication at the University of Washington,[4] and currently serves as a member of the Free Software Foundation board of directors.[5]


Hill has a Master's degree from the MIT Media Lab and received a PhD in an interdepartmental program involving the MIT Sloan School of Management and the MIT Media Lab. Since fall 2013, he is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Washington.[6] He is also a Fellow at the MIT Center for Civic Media where he coordinates the development of software for civic organizing. He has worked as an advisor and contractor for the One Laptop per Child project. He is a speaker for the GNU Project,[7] and serves on the board of Software Freedom International (the organization that organizes Software Freedom Day). Since 2006 he is married to Mika Matsuzaki, having used mathematically constrained wedding vows at the marriage ceremony.[8]


Since 1999, Hill has been an active member of Debian. He has served as a delegate of the Debian Project Leader, managing money and equipment.[citation needed] He is a founder and coordinator[citation needed] of Debian Non-Profit,[9] a Debian custom distribution designed to fill the needs of small non-profit organizations. In addition he served on the board of Software in the Public Interest from March 2003 until July 2006,[10][11] serving as the organisation's vice-president from August 2004.[12]


Hill is also a core-developer and founding member of Ubuntu, and continues to be an active contributor to the project. In addition to technical responsibilities, he coordinated the construction of a community around the Ubuntu Project as project "community manager" (later ceding the role to Jono Bacon) during Ubuntu's first year and a half. During this period, he worked full-time for Canonical Ltd. Within the Project, he served on the "Community Council" governance board that oversees all non-technical aspects of the project, until October 2011.

Other work[edit]

In addition to software development, Hill writes extensively. He has been published in academic books and conference proceedings and in magazines, newsletters, and online journals. He is the author of the Free Software Project Management HOWTO, the canonical document on managing FOSS projects, and has published academic work on FOSS from anthropological, sociological, management and software engineering perspectives and has written and spoken about intellectual property, copyright, and collaboration more generally.

Hill has worked for several years as a consultant for FOSS projects specializing in coordinating releases of software as free or open software and structuring development efforts to encourage community involvement.[citation needed] He spends a significant amount of his time traveling and giving talks on FOSS and intellectual property primarily in Europe and North America.

Previous to his current positions, Hill pursued research full-time as a graduate researcher at the MIT Media Laboratory. At the lab, he has worked in both the Electronic Publishing and Computing Culture groups on collaborative writing and decision-making software. One project, Selectricity is an award-winning voting tool which received prizes and grants from MTV and Cisco.

He serves on the advisory board of the Wikimedia Foundation,[13] the advisory council of the Open Knowledge Foundation[14] and the board of the Free Software Foundation.[15] He was a founding member of the Ubuntu Community Council[16] in 2009.


  1. ^ Hill, Benjamin. "Contacting Benjamin Mako Hill". Retrieved March 17, 2014. 
  2. ^ ISBN 978-0-7645-7644-7
  3. ^ ISBN 978-0-13-243594-9
  4. ^ "Hill, Benjamin Mako". University of Washington. Retrieved February 6, 2014. 
  5. ^ "FSF - Leadership". Free Software Foundation. June 25, 2007. Retrieved July 16, 2007. 
  6. ^ Domke, David. "Twitter / uwdomke". Twitter. Retrieved 13 December 2012. 
  7. ^ "GNU speakers". Free Software Foundation. July 17, 2007. Retrieved July 17, 2007. 
  8. ^ "Art, Activism and Other Fun Projects :: Benjamin Mako Hill". Retrieved October 18, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Non-Profit". Debian. Retrieved October 18, 2011. 
  10. ^ Akkerman, Wichert (February 22, 2003). "Result for vote regarding new members for the board of directors". Retrieved July 16, 2007. 
  11. ^ Hill, Benjamin (July 5, 2006). "Stepping Down From Software in the Public Interest, Inc.". Retrieved July 16, 2007. 
  12. ^ Graham, David (September 7, 2004). "Minutes for August 10th, 2004". Retrieved July 16, 2007. 
  13. ^ Beesley, Angela; Devouard, Florence; KIZU, Naoko; Möller, Erik; Dillen, Oscar; Moreau, Nicholas; Kaganer, Paul; Pathoschild; Aprabhala. "Advisory Board". Retrieved July 16, 2007. 
  14. ^ "Advisory Council". Retrieved 1 October 2014. 
  15. ^ "Staff and Board". Retrieved 1 October 2014. 
  16. ^ "Poll Results: Ubuntu Community Council 2009". Retrieved 1 October 2014. 

External links[edit]