Russ Nelson

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Russ Nelson
Russ Nelson.jpg
Russ Nelson
Born (1958-03-21) March 21, 1958 (age 63)[1]
OccupationSoftware developer
Known forBoard member and former president of Open Source Initiative[2]
TermFebruary 2005[3]
PredecessorEric S. Raymond[4]
SuccessorMichael Tiemann[3]
Political partyLibertarian Party[5]

Russell "Russ" Nelson (born March 21, 1958) is an American computer programmer. He was a founding board member of the Open Source Initiative and briefly served as its president in 2005.[6]


Nelson wrote code for some programs: In 1983, he co-wrote a MacPaint clone, Painter's Apprentice, with Patrick Naughton.[7] Nelson was the author of Freemacs (a variant of Emacs used by FreeDOS).[8] While attending university, Nelson began developing the collection of drivers later commercially released as the "Crynwr Collection".[9] In 1991, Nelson founded Crynwr Software, a company located in Potsdam, New York,[10] supporting deployment of large-scale e-mail systems, development of packet drivers, Linux kernel drivers,[11] and reverse engineering of embedded systems.[12]

In 1998, Nelson became one of the six first members to serve on the board of directors of the Open Source Initiative (holding 11 members by 2016).[2][13] In February 2005, he became the president of the Open Source Initiative, but resigned a few days later (remaining on the board), on February 23, 2005, after publishing a controversial posting on his personal blog titled "Blacks are Lazy?".[14][4][3][15] Nelson apologized to those who perceived the post (which he withdrew because it "was not well written") as racist, and indicated that he did not believe himself to be politically savvy enough for the role of president.[3] Six years later, in March 2011, he departed the board due to term limits on the position.[16][non-primary source needed]

In July 2010, Nelson worked on monitors to measure water quality.[17]


Nelson is the son of Russell Edward Nelson and Gladys Jacobsen Nelson.[18] He used to be a Quaker,[19] He has since disavowed the religion for political reasons.[20] Nelson is a pacifist, and a member of the Libertarian Party of the United States.[5]


  1. ^ Nelson, Russ. "Russ Nelson's Home Page". Retrieved 2011-04-01.
  2. ^ a b Tiemann, Michael (2006-09-19). "History of the OSI". Retrieved 2008-08-22.
  3. ^ a b c d Varghese, Sam (2005-03-09). "Racism row forces open source head out". The Age. Retrieved 2008-07-11.
  4. ^ a b LaMonica, Martin (2005-02-01). "Open-source leader steps aside at industry group". CNET News. Retrieved 2009-02-03.
  5. ^ a b Chris DiBona; Danese Cooper; Mark Stone, eds. (1 November 2005). "List of Contributors". Open sources 2.0: the continuing evolution. O'Reilly Media, Inc. pp. xix. ISBN 978-0-596-00802-4. Retrieved 1 April 2011. Libertarian.
  7. ^ Patrick Naughton (1997). Java Handbook. Tata McGraw-Hill Publishing Company Limited. ASIN B007ITC4G4.
  8. ^ "EMACS". FreeDOS - Software List. Archived from the original on 2007-09-15.
  9. ^ Bill Machrone and Michael J. Miller (1991-12-31). "8th Annual Awards for Technical Excellence". PC Magazine. Vol. 10, no. 22. New York, NY: Ziff-Davis Publishing Company. p. 136.
  10. ^ Nelson, Russ (August 1998). "Open Source Software Model". Linux Journal (52). Retrieved 2011-04-01.
  11. ^ Paul Gortmaker (1995-11-18). Linux Ethernet-Howto. Linux Documentation Project. Retrieved 2016-10-31.Linus Torvalds (1998-09-16). CREDITS. Linux Foundation. Retrieved 2016-10-31.
  12. ^ Paul Wallich (2001-09-03). "Mindstorms Not Just a Kid's Toy". IEEE. Retrieved 2016-10-31.Patrick Reynolds (1997-12-04). "The Connectix Quickcam Technical FAQ". Retrieved 2016-10-31.
  13. ^ Biancuzzi, Federico (2008-02-12). "A Look Back at 10 Years of OSI". Retrieved 2011-04-01.
  14. ^ Stuart, Finlayson. "Open source chief makes swift exit after "racist" gaffe". Information & Data Manager (IDM). Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  15. ^ "racism?".
  16. ^ "Board Meeting Report". 2011-03-18. Retrieved 2011-04-01.
  17. ^ Mac Slocum, interviewer (23 July 2010). Russ Nelson interviewed at OSCON 2010. YouTube. United States: O'Reilly Media. Archived from the original on 2021-12-12. Retrieved 1 April 2011.
  18. ^ Nelson, Russ (1 November 2005). "Open Source and the Small Entrepreneur". In Chris DiBona; Danese Cooper; Mark Stone (eds.). Open sources 2.0: the continuing evolution. O'Reilly Media, Inc. pp. 138. ISBN 978-0-596-00802-4. Retrieved 1 April 2011.
  19. ^ A Friend. "Wider Quaker World". Ottawa Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). Retrieved 2016-10-31.
  20. ^ Russ Nelson (2014-05-19). "Facebook". Russ Nelson's Facebook Timeline. Retrieved 2014-05-19.