Brian Jhan Fox
Fox in 2008
Born (1959-12-11) December 11, 1959 (age 64)
Employer(s)Opus Logica, Inc.
Known forGNU Bash
RelativesDonal Fox (brother)

Brian Jhan Fox (born 1959) is an American computer programmer and free software advocate. He is the original author of the GNU Bash shell, which he announced as a beta in June 1989.[1] He continued as the primary maintainer of bash until at least early 1993.[2][3] Fox also built the first interactive online banking software in the U.S. for Wells Fargo in 1995,[4] and he created an open source election system in 2008.

Free Software Foundation

In 1985, Fox worked with Richard Stallman at Stallman's newly created Free Software Foundation.[5] At the FSF, Fox authored GNU Bash,[6] GNU Makeinfo, GNU Info, GNU Finger, GNU Echo[7] and the readline[8] and history libraries.

He was also the maintainer of GNU Emacs for a time, making many contributions to the software which was created and maintained for the GNU Project between 1986 and 1994.[4]

Open source election systems

In 2008, Fox collaborated with Alan Dechert and Brent Turner to create a completely open source election system. The system was coded together with Parker Abercrombie, and demonstrated at the LinuxWorld conference in Moscone Center in San Francisco, August 5–7, 2008.[9]

Fox also is a founding member of both the California Association of Voting Officials (CAVO)[10] and the National Association of Voting Officials (NAVO).[11] These not-for-profit organizations promote open source voting systems for use in public elections. Fox co-wrote a New York Times piece in 2015 with former CIA head R. James Woolsey advocating open source election systems as a means of securing US elections against interference from foreign actors.[12]

Other software

Fox also wrote AMACS, a cut-down implementation of Emacs for the Apple II series.[13]


He is the fourth born in a family of six siblings, composer and musician Donal Fox, Thaddeus Fox, sister Ena Fox, Daniel Fox and sister Sara Fox-Ray. He is the son of physicist and educator Herbert Fox[14] and grandson of artist Daniel Fox, creator of the Monopoly Man.[15]


  1. ^ Brian Fox (forwarded by Leonard H. Tower Jr.) (June 7, 1989). "Bash is in beta release!". Newsgroupgnu.announce. Usenet: Retrieved October 28, 2010.
  2. ^ "January 1993 GNU's Bulletin". Newsgroupgnu.announce. April 20, 1993. Usenet: Retrieved October 28, 2010.
  3. ^ Chet Ramey (October 31, 2010), Dates in your Computerworld interview, retrieved October 31, 2010
  4. ^ a b "A Bash with Brian Fox: GNU Software and Entrepreneurship". Archived from the original on November 19, 2011.
  5. ^ "Brian Fox". Archived from the original on July 24, 2011.
  6. ^ The GNU Bash Reference Manual Archived July 16, 2006, at the Wayback Machine, (HTML version Archived February 2, 2006, at the Wayback Machine) by Chet Ramey and Brian Fox, ISBN 0-9541617-7-7
  7. ^ "echo.c".
  8. ^ Chet Ramey and Brian Fox. "The GNU Readline Page" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on July 31, 2003. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  9. ^ "OVC at LinuxWorld 2008". YouTube. Alan Dechert. August 23, 2008. Archived from the original on December 13, 2021. Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  10. ^ "Board Members". California Association of Voting Officials. Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  11. ^ "Board Members". National Association of Voting Officials. Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  12. ^ Woolsey, R. James; Fox, Brian J. (August 3, 2017). "To Protect Voting, Use Open-Source Software". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 3, 2017.
  13. ^ "AppleIIc emacs".
  14. ^ "Herbert Fox". November 25, 2013. Archived from the original on February 23, 2015. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  15. ^ Assoc. of Game and Puzzle Collectors Quarterly www.AGPC.ORG summer 2013 Vol.15 No. 2. Page 18. Meet Dan Fox-- The Artist Who Created "Mr. Monopoly" by Philip E.Orbanes