Brian Fox (computer programmer)

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Brian Jhan Fox
Brian J. Fox, Santa Barbara, CA 2008
Born (1959-12-11) December 11, 1959 (age 60)
Other namesbfox
OccupationComputer programmer, Technologist, author
EmployerOpus Logica, Inc.
Known forGNU Bash
  • Herbert Fox, Ph.D.
  • brother: Donal Fox
  • brother: Thaddeus Fox
  • sister: Ena Fox
  • brother: Daniel Fox
  • sister: Sara Fox-Ray
  • grand-father: Daniel Fox

Brian Jhan 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". Retrieved 2016-09-16.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "Brian Fox". Archived from the original on July 24, 2011.
  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 May 4, 2015.
  10. ^ "UCSB College of Engineering". Retrieved September 16, 2016.[permanent dead link]
  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. (August 3, 2017). "To Protect Voting, Use Open-Source Software". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 3, 2017.
  15. ^ "AppleIIc emacs".
  16. ^ "Herbert Fox". November 25, 2013. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  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]