Contact information

Lars Wirzenius
(Other information available on request.)


I am a computer programmer, and have been programming since 1984.

My main programming languages are C and Python. I know TDD, HTML, TCP/IP, and many other acronyms.

I am an expert in the Linux environment. Linux and Unix environments are the only ones I am looking to work in.

I want to develop software, at all levels from architectural design down to writing even the lowest level code to implement the architecture. I am not a tester, and I prefer to do very limited amounts of system or network administration work.

Stuff I know best

  • The Python language. I've used Python since 1993, and most of my new code in the past decade has been written in Python.
    • code samples: see my programs page
    • Tutorial I gave for the Debian-Women project about Python, in 2006
  • The C language. I've used C since 1987, mainly on various Unix-like environments, plus a little bit of embedded development. (I don't know much C++.)
  • Linux in general, Debian in particular.

I also know, at least somewhat, a variety of other things: Ikiwiki, Perl, Markdown, HTML/CSS.

Work and training

Codethink 2011-current. I have served in a variety of roles, including technical lead, architect, and developer, for Baserock, a new way of building and developing embedded and appliance Linux systems.

Consultant 2005-2011. I've worked on variety of projects for several clients. In 2005-2006 I was under contract to improve the technical quality of the Debian operating system, and as part of that work developed piuparts, a package testing tool for checking that packages can be installed, upgraded, and removed without problems.

In 2007-2009 I contracted to Canonical, Ltd. to do Ubuntu development. As part of that I developed the Computer Janitor tool to find unnecessary packages, and do some configuration tweaks, such as adding or removing mount options to improve performance.

In 2010 I contracted to Catalyst, Ltd, in New Zealand, to work on Koha, an integrated library management system.

Collabora Ltd 2011 I helped a client package some of their internal things for MeeGo. Was let go because client decided to not do much MeeGo stuff anymore.

Branchable 2010-current. This is a blog/wiki/website hosting service built on top of ikiwiki, together with Joey Hess. The entire stack is free software. Business model is to charge site owners, rather than try to milk venture capitalists or insert sites into sites and try to get revenue from that. The goal is not maximize sites, but to provide a service to those who value freedom for themselves and their sites.

Oliotalo 2002-2004. Oliotalo develops applications for machine to machine communication: embedded computers are attached to vehicles, waste collectors, or other such machines, and communicate wirelessly with a server. This allows remote monitoring and telemetry and improves logistics and lowers maintenance costs. I have designed and implemented the embedded Lisp interpreter Hedgehog with which the embedded computers are programmed in Oliotalo projects. Using Hedgehog, I have developed alone and with others several embedded applications. I have also been responsible for Linux system administration for the company., 2001- Started a miniature shell-server ISP on the side with two friends.

Akumiitti Telematics / Keko Technologies 2001-2002. Keko developed a platform for machine to machine communication. I designed and implemented an embedded software platform, the KEKO Terminal. Keko went bankrupt just as the product was getting finished for its first release, but before the product could be used.

Wapit Ltd 1999-2001. I was project and team leader for the Kannel, an SMS and WAP gateway. Kannel is a multithreaded, multiprocess server that can handle high traffic loads. I was responsible for architectural design, implementation, and project management. Wapit went bankrupt, but Kannel is still in commercial production use worldwide.

Helsinki University of Technology / CS laboratory / HiBase project 1997-1999. HiBase was a research project to develop a main memory database and functional programming language. The project ended in 2001 when Nokia withdrew funding. I participated in its implementation by doing C programming and Linux system administration.

University of Helsinki / Department of Computer Science 1993-1996. I was a teaching assistant, helping students with homework and checking their answers. I gave one lectured course on C programming.

Translator examination board summer 1990. I implemented a database of official translators with dBase IV.

University of Helsinki / Department of Computer Science 1988-2002. Student, part-time studies from 1993 onwards on account of working full time. Not graduated.

Extor Oy summer 1988. I made technical drawings, mainly for sales use, with AutoCAD.

Natural languages

  • Finnish: native language (mother's side)
  • Swedish: native language (father's side)
  • English: excellent
  • German: very poor

Interviews, talks



  • Free software, 1990-. I develop software as a hobby, although I never publish most of it. Some exceptions:
    • the whole current list
    • Obnam, a backup program.
    • Sound Converter, a GUI program to convert audio files to other formats. Now maintained and developed by Gautier Portet.
    • Enemies of Carlotta, a mailing list manager. No longer actively developed.
    • isutf8, part of moreutils, a tool for determining if a file is correctly UTF-8 encoded. Written to aid my ISO-8859-1 to Unicode transition.
    • CoverageTestRunner, runs Python unit tests and fails them if they don't have full coverage (not counting explicitly excluded parts)
    • Dimbola, a new attempt at a photo manager a la Adobe Lightroom
  • Linux. I helped start its development in 1991, and have been part of the Linux world ever since.
    • Wrote sprintf, used by kernel logging engine. This is my only kernel code contribution.
    • Moderator of the Usenet newsgroup comp.os.linux.announce 1992-1997
    • Helped start and run the Linux Documentation Project, from 1992 to about 1997. Wrote the Linux System Administrators' Guide, since taken over by others.
  • Debian.
  • Photography. I've been an amateur photographer since 2001, but do not currently publish my pictures anywhere.
  • Effi is a political organization protecting basic human freedoms; sister organization to the American EFF. Board member 2009.
  • Alter Ego ry is the role-playing association at the University of Helsinki. Board member 2000, listmaster 2001-2003.
  • IKI ry is a non-profit association for providing permanent e-mail and web addresses. Board member 1996-1998, 2002.
  • OtaDATA ry is an assocation for people interested in computers. Board member 1997, vice president 1998.
  • Usenet news sfnet hierarchy co-ordinator 1995, in charge of deciding which groups to create.
  • Spektrum rf is a student association for computer science, math, physics, and chemistry students at the University of Helsinki. Board member 1994, also other duties 1991-1995.