Russ Nelson

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For other people of the same name, see Russell Nelson (disambiguation).
"Crynwr" redirects here. For the Quakers, see Crynwyr.
Russ Nelson
Russ Nelson 2.jpg
Russ Nelson (2007)
Born (1958-03-21) March 21, 1958 (age 57)[1]
Occupation Software developer
Known for Board member and former President of Open Source Initiative[2]
Term February 2005[3]
Predecessor Eric S. Raymond[4]
Successor Michael Tiemann[3]
Political party Libertarian 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]


In 1983, Nelson co-wrote a MacPaint clone, Painter's Apprentice, with Patrick Naughton.[7] Nelson was the original developer 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"[citation needed] In 1991, he founded Crynwr Software, a company located in Potsdam, New York,[9] supporting deployment of large-scale e-mail systems, development of packet drivers, Linux kernel drivers, and reverse engineering of embedded systems.[10]

In 1998, Nelson became one of the first group to serve on the Board of Directors of the Open Source Initiative.[2][11] 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, because a posting on his personal blog was deemed to be racist.[4][3] 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.[12]

In July 2010, Nelson worked on monitors to measure water quality.[13]


Nelson is the son of Russell Edward Nelson and Gladys Jacobsen Nelson.[14] He used to be a Quaker,[15] He has since disavowed the religion for political reasons.[16] 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, ed. (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. 
  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. ^ Nelson, Russ (August 1998). "Open Source Software Model". Linux Journal (52). Retrieved 2011-04-01. 
  10. ^ "Crynwr". Retrieved 2014-05-19. 
  11. ^ Biancuzzi, Federico (2008-02-12). "A Look Back at 10 Years of OSI". Retrieved 2011-04-01. 
  12. ^ "Board Meeting Report". 2011-03-18. Retrieved 2011-04-01. 
  13. ^ Mac Slocum, interviewer (23 July 2010). Russ Nelson interviewed at OSCON 2010. YouTube (United States: O'Reilly Media). Retrieved 1 April 2011. 
  14. ^ Nelson, Russ (1 November 2005). "Open Source and the Small Entrepreneur". In Chris DiBona, Danese Cooper, Mark Stone. Open sources 2.0: the continuing evolution. O'Reilly Media, Inc. p. 138. ISBN 978-0-596-00802-4. Retrieved 1 April 2011. 
  15. ^ openconcept (2005-12-12). "". Ottawa Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). Retrieved 2008-09-01. 
  16. ^ Russ Nelson (2014-05-19). "Facebook". Russ Nelson's Facebook Timeline. Retrieved 2014-05-19.