Nikolai Bezroukov

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Nikolai Bezroukov is a Senior Internet Security Analyst at BASF Corporation and webmaster of Open Source Software University, a volunteer technical site for the United Nations Sustainable Development Networking Programme (SDNP) that helps with Internet connectivity and distributes Linux to developing countries.

He was the author of the (popular in the USSR) software development environment Neat and a compiler for the relational database language RYAOD. Editor Neated and formatter Neatxt, which were parts of the Neat package, were popular tools for publishing Samizdat books on computers.

Early career[edit]

From 1989 to 1996 he was founder and editor-in-chief of Softpanorama bulletin, an influential Russian language e-zine. From 1996 he is the webmaster of, a site devoted to "slightly skeptical" materials for computer science education, with a focus on "critical thinking about system administration and software development as professions, revealing the hidden elegance of Unix and its concepts and stressing the importance of scripting languages such as Perl and Python".


He created one of the first classification systems for computer viruses, an influential Russian language book on the subject - Computer Virology (1991) - and organized the first conference of anti-virus researchers for the region. The latter helped to gain popularity for Lozinski and Kasperski antiviruses: both were presenters at the conference, along with Vesselin Bontchev (Burgaria). His later VB97 conference review[1] became popular and is reproduced by multiple hacker and antivirus defence web sites.

From 1994 to 1996 he was a Fulbright scholar at the University of Pittsburgh working on issues of anti-virus and UNIX security research.[citation needed]

He claims to have coined the term "Orthodox File Managers" (OFM) in 1996 in the first e-book devoted to the subject that systematized the field and tried to define the common features of major implementations of this class of file managers: such as FAR, Total Commander and Midnight Commander.[2] It also defined a standard for OFM implementations, which is periodically revised by the author.

Since 1998 he became a prominent, albeit controversial, critic of simplistic, quasireligious views on the possibilities of open source and the dangers of its commercialization. In 1999 he introduced the highly controversial term "Vulgar Raymondism" and in 2005 coined the names of two philosophical schools on writing open source software: "Software Realism" and "Software Idealism". In 1999 he published two influential[3] papers devoted to analyses and critique of Eric Raymond's views on the development of open source software:[4] and .[5] These papers discuss the similarities between open source software development and academic research – Bezroukov states that "...creation of a program is similar to the creation of applied theory. I would like to classify programming as a special kind, or at least a close relative, of scientific [activity]", and both communities have similar motivations and problems.[6] He argues against idealistic views of open source as a panacea for all software ills. The first paper produced a sharp response from Eric Raymond.[7]

In 2000 he published a third paper[8] in which he analyzed the essence of Stallman's software development model and provided a comprehensive critique of GPL's foundations.

In 2005 he published the next of his series of papers devoted to a critical assessment of open source development, in which he tried to analyze achievements and pitfalls of two similar operating systems: Linux and Solaris.[9]

He is also the author of a popular biography of Donald Knuth[10]


  1. ^ Bezroukov "Overview of The Seventh International Virus Bulletin Conference (VB’97)" Accessed 6 September 2011.
  2. ^ Bezroukov, "Orthodox File Managers". Accessed 23 September 2010.
  3. ^ Karl Eugen Kurbel (23 June 2008). The Making of Information Systems: Software Engineering and Management in a Globalized World. Springer. pp. 222–. ISBN 978-3-540-79260-4. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  4. ^ Bezroukov, Open source software development as a special type of academic research: Critique of vulgar Raymondism" Accessed 23 September 2010.
  5. ^ Bezroukov, A second look at the Cathedral and the Bazaar" Accessed 23 September 2010.
  6. ^ Jan Bergstra; Mark Burgess (19 December 2007). Handbook of Network and System Administration. Elsevier. pp. 202–. ISBN 978-0-444-52198-9. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  7. ^ Eric S. Raymond,"Response to Nikolai Bezroukov"
  8. ^ Bezroukov, Labyrinth of Software Freedom Accessed 23 September 2010.
  9. ^ Bezroukov, Solaris vs. Linux: Ecosystem-based Approach and Framework for the Comparison in Large Enterprise Environments Accessed 23 September 2010.
  10. ^ Bezroukov, Donald Knuth: Leonard Euler of Computer Science Accessed 23 September 2010.

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