Mark Spencer (computer engineer)

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Mark Spencer
Mark Spencer (cropped).jpg
Mark Spencer at the 2006 O'Reilly Emerging Telephony Conference
Born (1977-04-08) April 8, 1977 (age 45)
Alma materAuburn University
OccupationComputer engineer

Mark Spencer (born April 8, 1977) is an American computer engineer and is the original author of the GTK+-based instant messaging client Gaim (which has since been renamed to Pidgin), the L2TP daemon l2tpd and the Cheops Network User Interface.

Mark Spencer is also the creator of Asterisk, a Linux-based open-sourced PBX. He is the founder, chairman and CTO of Digium, an open-source telecommunications supplier most notable for its development and sponsorship of Asterisk. Spencer shifted from CEO to Chairman and CTO in early 2007.

Early life[edit]

Spencer was born and raised in Auburn, Alabama.[1] He attended Auburn University where both his parents were professors.[2] In high school, he was mentored by another Auburn professor, Thaddeus Roppel,[2] and Mark Smith, co-founder of Adtran.[1]


While attending Auburn University, Spencer co-oped at Adtran when he wrote l2tpd. He went on to start a Linux technical support business. Spencer did not have enough money to buy a PBX (private branch exchange) for his company so he decided to write Asterisk and later founded Digium.

As a pilot, Mark founded Avilution, LLC. to create Android apps including QuickWeather and AviationMaps. AviationMaps was later spun out to FlightPro, then DroidEFB. Adapting a similar strategy as Asterisk, he developed the eXtensible Flight System, XFS, a cross-platform avionics architecture. XFS has already been integrated in the Zenith CH750 STOL aircraft in the form of both a three-screen panel and the "Unpanel," a portrait-orientation (also landscape) screen to replace the entire traditional glass cockpit.[3]


  1. ^ a b Marshall, Mike (November 17, 2011). "Mark Spencer of Digium: 'You have to have internal inspiration to do exceptional work'". The Huntsville Times. Retrieved 2018-03-29.
  2. ^ a b Hardy, Quentin (March 24, 2006). "Dial D for Disruption". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-03-29.
  3. ^ "'Unpanel' replaces traditional instruments on new Zenith model". 2017-07-24. Retrieved 2021-04-08.

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