Brian Fox (computer programmer)

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Brian J. Fox
Brian J. Fox, Santa Barbara, CA 2008
Brian J. Fox

(1959-12-11) December 11, 1959 (age 59)
ResidenceSanta Barbara, CA
Other namesbfox
OccupationComputer programmer, Technologist, author
EmployerOpus Logica, Inc.
Known forGNU Bash

Brian J. Fox (born 1959) is an American computer programmer, entrepreneur,[1] consultant, author, and free software advocate. He is the original author of the GNU Bash shell, which he announced as a beta in June 1989.[2] He continued as the primary maintainer of bash until at least early 1993.[3][4] Fox also built the first interactive online banking software in the U.S. for Wells Fargo in 1995,[5] and he created an open source election system in 2008.

Free Software Foundation[edit]

In 1985 Fox worked with Richard Stallman at Stallman's newly created Free Software Foundation.[6] At the FSF, Fox authored GNU Bash,[7] GNU Makeinfo, GNU Info, GNU Finger, GNU Echo[8] and the readline[9] and history libraries.

He was also the maintainer of GNU Emacs for a time, and made many contributions to the software that was created for the GNU Project between 1986 and 1994.[citation needed][10]

Open source election systems[edit]

In 2008, Fox collaborated with Alan Dechert and Brent Turner to create a completely open source election system. The system was coded together with Parker Abercrombie, and demonstrated at the LinuxWorld conference in Moscone Center in San Francisco, August 5–7, 2008.[11]

Fox also is a founding member of both the California Association of Voting Officials (CAVO)[12] and the National Association of Voting Officials (NAVO).[13] These not-for-profit organizations promote open source voting systems for use in public elections. Fox co-wrote a New York Times piece in 2017 with former CIA head R. James Woolsey advocating open source election systems as a means of securing US elections against Russian interference.[14]

Other software[edit]

Fox also wrote AMACS, a cut-down implementation of Emacs for the Apple II series.[15]


He is the fourth born in a family of 6 siblings, composer and musician Donal Fox, Thaddeus Fox, sister Ena Fox, Daniel Fox and sister Sara Fox-Ray. He lives in Santa Barbara with longtime partner Lissa Liggett and their three children.

He is the son of physicist and educator Herbert Fox[16] and grandson of artist Daniel Fox, creator of the Monopoly Man.[17]


  1. ^ "Virtual World Computing". Virtual World Computing (VWC). Archived from the original on September 7, 2011. Retrieved September 11, 2011.
  2. ^ Brian Fox (forwarded by Leonard H. Tower Jr.) (June 7, 1989). "Bash is in beta release!". Newsgroupgnu.announce. Usenet: Retrieved October 28, 2010.
  3. ^ "January 1993 GNU's Bulletin". Newsgroupgnu.announce. April 20, 1993. Usenet: Retrieved October 28, 2010.
  4. ^ Chet Ramey (October 31, 2010), Dates in your Computerworld interview, retrieved October 31, 2010
  5. ^ "A Bash with Brian Fox: GNU Software and Entrepreneurship". Archived from the original Check |url= value (help) on August 19, 2013. Retrieved 2016-09-16.
  6. ^ "Brian Fox". Archived from the original on 2011-07-24.
  7. ^ The GNU Bash Reference Manual, (HTML version) by Chet Ramey and Brian Fox, ISBN 0-9541617-7-7
  8. ^ "echo.c".
  9. ^ Chet Ramey and Brian Fox. "The GNU Readline Page" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-05-04.
  10. ^, College of Engineering,. "UCSB College of Engineering". Retrieved 2016-09-16.
  11. ^ "OVC at LinuxWorld 2008". YouTube. Alan Dechert. August 23, 2008. Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  12. ^ "Board Members". California Association of Voting Officials. Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  13. ^ "Board Members". National Association of Voting Officials. Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  14. ^ Woolsey, R. James; Fox, Brian J. (2017-08-03). "To Protect Voting, Use Open-Source Software". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-08-03.
  15. ^ "AppleIIc emacs".
  16. ^ "Herbert Fox". 2013-11-25. Retrieved 2015-05-04.
  17. ^ Assoc. of Game and Puzzle Collectors Quarterly www.AGPC.ORG summer 2013 Vol.15 No. 2. Page 18. Meet Dan Fox-- The Artist Who Created "Mr. Monopoly" by Philip E.Orbanes

External links[edit]