Pieter Hintjens

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Pieter Hintjens
Pieter Hintjens at EuroPython2014.jpg
Born (1962-12-03) 3 December 1962 (age 53)
Nationality Belgian
Occupation CEO, software developer, author
Website hintjens.com

Pieter Hintjens (born 3 December 1962[1]) is a Belgian software developer, author, and past president of the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII), an association that fights against software patents. In 2007, he was nominated one of the "50 most influential people in IP" by Managing Intellectual Property magazine.

He is the CEO and chief software designer for iMatix, a firm that has produced many free software applications, such as the ØMQ high performance message library, the OpenAMQ AMQP messaging service, Libero, GSL code generator, and the Xitami web server.[citation needed]

He is active in open standards development, being the author of the original Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP), a founder of the Digital Standards Organization, and the editor of the RestMS web messaging protocol.[2] RestMS is developed using a peer-to-peer, share-alike, branch and merge model (COSS) developed by Hintjens and others for the Digital Standards Organization in 2008.[3]

He was CEO of Wikidot Inc., one of the fastest growing wikifarms, until February 2010.

In 2006, he started the CAPSoff campaign to reform the keyboard, starting with the removal of the Caps Lock key. He described this campaign as an example of an online campaign conducted entirely using free services like Wikidot and Google groups. Some new keyboards are starting to drop the Caps Lock key. In September 2006, he launched the "Million Dollar Keyboard" competition for the best keyboard design to do away with the Caps Lock key. It was funded by donations from the campaign's supporters and eventually raised €194.91.[4] The competition was won by Shai Coleman's "Colemak" keyboard layout.[5]


Pieter Hintjens is the founder of the ZeroMQ community. ZeroMQ is a high-performance asynchronous messaging library aimed at use in scalable distributed or concurrent applications. It follows a philosophy of Hintjens about large distributed dynamic systems, and empowers application developers in creating such code. In Nov 2013, Hintjens announced EdgeNet, a project building off ZeroMQ for mesh networks.[6] EdgeNet aims to build a fully secure, anonymous peer-to-peer Internet.[7] He is the main author of several ZeroMQ projects: CZMQ, zproto, and Malamute.


  • "The Psychopath Code", 2015
  • "ZeroMQ: Messaging for Many Applications", O'Reilly Media, 2013
  • "Culture and Empire: Digital Revolution", 2013
  • "Code Connected Volume 1", 2013


He is of the opinion that "public distrust will bring down the patent system in [his] lifetime".[8] According to him, the purpose of the patent system is not to make patent owners wealthy but to record innovations for future generations, the argument that the patent system makes economies work better is simplistic, that patents (especially ones related to software) are written purposely to be difficult to understand, and litigation is "an evil" as it destroys companies and wastes resources, and that mediation is better.[8]

He has also written that "a sustainable patent system is needed for cultural and scientific reasons, and on that basis, I'm going to propose five steps to get there. These steps are: to stop the polemics, to resolve conflicts of interest, to construct appropriate models, to return to basics, and to engage in constructive dialogue".[9]

In October 2007, he warned that after mortgages and consumer debt, patents were a third bubble waiting to damage the global economy, writing: "House prices fall and bad debt shakes the financial markets across the US and Europe. Bankers look nervously at their portfolios of consumer debt and mortgages. But some analysts say that it's patents, not houses or loans, that will tip the global financial market into crisis".[10]

He is the author of the Devil's Wiki, which defines patent as "A medieval economic tool by which politicians attempt to stimulate trade and wealth by banning innovation and competition in crucial areas of technology".[11]


  1. ^ "Pieter Hintjens". The Hintjens' Wiki. Retrieved 2 February 2007. 
  2. ^ RestMS.org, RestMS - a RESTful Messaging Service
  3. ^ "Consensus-Oriented Specification System". Digistan. 
  4. ^ Coleman, Shai (2007-12-17). "List of donations". Colemak website. Retrieved 2008-01-04. 
  5. ^ "Competition Results". CAPSoff.org. 2007-01-04. Retrieved 2007-11-02. 
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ [2]
  8. ^ a b New, William (26 January 2007). "Piracy, Innovation Top Developed-Country Industry Priority List". Intellectual Property Watch. Retrieved 2 February 2007. 
  9. ^ Digital Majority, A sustainable patent system?
  10. ^ Digital Majority, Will the patent system trigger financial collapse in 2008?
  11. ^ "Patent". Devil's Wiki. 

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