Sam Hocevar

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Sam Hocevar
Samhocevar pm.png
Hocevar in 2007
Samuel Hocevar

(1978-08-05) 5 August 1978 (age 44)
Forbach, Moselle, France
Alma materÉcole centrale Paris
TitleLead Engine Developer, Dontnod Entertainment

Samuel Hocevar (born 5 August 1978) is a French software and video game developer. He was the project leader of the Debian operating system from 17 April 2007 to 16 April 2008, and one of the founding members of Goatse Security.


Hocevar was born in Forbach, Moselle, France. From 1995 to 1997, he took preparatory classes at the Lycée Fabert in Metz, Moselle, France.[1] He graduated in 2002 from École centrale Paris, after receiving the "Award of Information Technology and Communication" from the SNCF as the most promising student in his class.[2] He specialized in electromechanical systems and applied mechatronics, and project management.

From 2005 to 2006, Hocevar was a Wikimedia France board member.[3]

Hocevar has been active in the Debian project, and was elected Debian project leader on 17 April 2007.[4][5] Hocevar's Debian leadership platform stated a preference for finishing larger numbers of small projects in succession, echoing the Japanese management philosophy of Kaizen that constant, incremental improvements to a project would generate more gains per unit of time than large single leaps of performance.[6] Hocevar was succeeded by Steve McIntyre on 16 April 2008.

Hocevar has also contributed to the VideoLAN project.[7] He has made large contributions to almost all software of the VideoLAN project, especially to VLC media player and libdvdcss, since 1998. He is the author of various free software programs, such as zzuf, a data fuzzer, and libcaca, a color ASCII art renderer. He is also the current maintainer of the Extension Language Kit Scheme interpreter, which has found use in many multimedia applications including audio processing.[8]

Hocevar has worked on reverse engineering and image processing. He reverse engineered DVD subtitles in 2000,[9] and in 2005, it was found that the DRM software which triggered the Sony BMG CD copy protection scandal had unlawfully pirated open source code from the VideoLAN project which Hocevar was involved in authoring.[10][11] Hocevar's experience in image processing includes authoring a CAPTCHA decoding framework called PWNtcha.[12][13][14] PWNtcha was the first CAPTCHA decoder framework to defeat multiple CAPTCHAs and was referred to as the "most famous" CAPTCHA breaker in a 2009 Stanford University publication.[15]

Hocevar authored the WTFPL version 2, an extremely liberal, permissive free software license that is recognized by the Free Software Foundation.[16] He has also been cited for his "whimsical" copyleft activism.[17]

Hocevar is part of Goatse Security, an information security working group which revealed a security flaw in AT&T's website, leading to the release of 114,000 email addresses of Apple iPad users.[18]


  1. ^ "Samuel HOCEVAR - CV." (DVI, PDF, PS Archived 2006-09-24 at the Wayback Machine). Sam Hocevar Official Website. Retrieved on September 18, 2010.
  2. ^ "École Centrale Paris". Archived from the original on 27 November 2006. Retrieved 19 April 2007.
  3. ^ "2005-2006 WikiMedia France Conseil d'administration" (in French). Retrieved 9 April 2007.
  4. ^ "debian-devel-announce mailing list: Debian Project Leader Election 2007 Results". Retrieved 9 April 2007.
  5. ^ Sean Michael Kerner (9 April 2007). "Debian Etch Takes Over Command From Sarge". InternetNews. Retrieved 24 April 2007.
  6. ^ Sam Hocevar. " Platform for Sam Hocevar". Debian project. Retrieved 20 March 2010.
  7. ^ "VideoLAN Team". Retrieved 18 February 2010.
  8. ^ Rumori, Martin (2005), "sam+hocevar"+elk&hl=en&as_sdt=1000 footils – Using the foo Sound Synthesis System as an Audio Scripting Language, Cologne, Germany: Klanglabor, Academy Of Media Arts, retrieved 20 March 2010
  9. ^ "DVD subtitles". Retrieved 9 April 2007.
  10. ^ "Suspicious Activity? Indeed". Retrieved 20 March 2010.
  11. ^ Hussain, Muhammed Afzal (2005), "CD-DRM & Sony BMG: A Case Study", Penn State University Citeseer, Penn State University, p. 8, retrieved 20 March 2010[dead link]
  12. ^ Hocevar, Sam; Niger, Gary (2008), written at Cherbourg-Octeville, France, "Reinstating Floyd-Steinberg: Improved Metrics for Quality Assessment of Error Diffusion Algorithms", Lecture Notes in Computer Science; Vol. 5099: Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Image and Signal Processing, Berlin, Heidelberg, Germany: Springer-Verlag, ISBN 978-3-540-69904-0, retrieved 20 March 2010
  13. ^ "PWNtcha website". Retrieved 9 April 2007.
  14. ^ "Defeating Captcha". Slashdot. 24 August 2005. Retrieved 9 April 2007.
  15. ^ Bursztein, Elie; Bethard, Steven; Fabry, Celine; Mitchell, John C.; Jurafsky, Dan (2009), written at Oakland, California, United States, "How Good are Humans at Solving CAPTCHAs? A Large Scale Evaluation" (PDF), Program of IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, Stanford, California: Stanford University, archived from the original (PDF) on 21 May 2012, retrieved 23 March 2013
  16. ^ "Licenses — Free Software Foundation". Free Software Foundation.
  17. ^ Eaton-Salners, Alex (2004), "DVD Copy Control Association v. Bunner: Freedom of Speech and Trade Secrets", Berkeley Technology Law Journal, Berkeley, California: UC Berkeley Law, retrieved 20 March 2010
  18. ^ Keizer, Gregg (2010), "iPad hacker arrested on multiple drug charges after FBI search", Network World, IDG, archived from the original on 20 September 2011, retrieved 2 August 2010, Another Goatse member, French hacker Sam Hocevar, said he couldn't answer questions about Auernheimer's arrest.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Anthony Towns
Debian Project Leader
April 2007 - April 2008
Succeeded by
Steve McIntyre