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Benjamin Mako Hill (born December 2, 1980) is a free software activist,hacker, and author. He is a contributor and free software developer as part of the Debian and Ubuntu projects as well as the co-author of three technical manuals on the subject, Debian GNU/Linux 3.1 Bible, The Official Ubuntu Server Book, and The Official Ubuntu Book.
Since 1999, Hill has been an active member of Debian. He has served as a delegate of the Debian Project Leader, and is a founder and coordinator of Debian Non-Profit, 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, serving as the organisation's vice-president from August 2004.
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. His work included contributing to a code of conduct and diversity statement for the project.
In addition to software development, Hill writes extensively. He has been published in academic books and magazines, newsletters, and online journals, and Slate Magazine republished one of his blog posts. 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. He has also studied the sociology of community involvement in web communities, and been widely published and cited about projects like Scratch and Wikipedia. He has talked about these topics publicly, as well as giving a keynote address at 2008 OSCON.
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. 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 was a fellow at the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet & Society and the MIT Center for Civic Media.