Arnt Gulbrandsen

Hi. This is the web page of Arnt Gulbrandsen, unix greybeard, programmer and holder of much opinion.


Email, postal address Schweppermannstr. 8, 81671 München, Germany.

Recognising me

Arnt Gulbrandsen

The same picture is available in print resolution, and even in colour.

In real life I tend to look a little more active. When I speak, I gesticulate. When I listen, my hands restlessly play with my braid or with one of my (too many) gadgets.


I've written quite a bit of software (mostly open source, mostly for Unix/Linux) in the past decades. My biggest work is on the Qt GUI toolkit, particularly its widgets and documentation, its free edition, as well as on Archiveopteryx — I put years of work into each of those.

My formal title at Trolltech was Assistant Gardener, but the only gardening I did was to set up a cron job so we'd remember to water Eirik's plants when he was away.

Instead I designed Qt's documentation format, wrote the first version(s) of qdoc, wrote acres of code and most of the documentation until I left Trolltech around 2.3. Since leaving Trolltech I've written a new, better documentation tool and refined my thinking on the subject quite a bit.

My other great work is on Archiveopteryx, a mail archive server based on an SQL database. I wrote lots of code and did much else. I still do a little: Although Abhijit Menon-Sen and I have stopped developing new features, we do fix bugs.

I've also done some smaller open-source work, such as some TCP/IP bits in the linux kernel, Caldera's Lizard (the first GUI installer for linux, the first decently intelligent one, and the first to include a game to keep you occupied while the installation completes), the original version of Leafnode, the postscript rot13 and a variety of other stuff, big and small. And I've done proprietary work on a range of subjects, ranging from AWS+java+puppet devops to android development and even DRM-protected video streaming.

I am author or co-author of 5-10 RFCs, most notably the one for DNS SRV, which specifies how Jabber/­XMPP/­SIP/­LDAP/etc clients locate their servers, and sometimes how servers locate other servers. Imagine my joy when Microsoft was the first notable implementer. The other RFCs mostly relate to mail, particularly IMAP.

I'm also known for being the first spamfighter, even though I did not do very much.

Perhaps I am the world's worst programmer, since I once wrote a program with 0.5 bugs per byte. Few people can have achieved a higher bug density.

About my blog

I have a blog, which I started in order to write about literate programming and source code documentation. Sometimes I also write about hardware I have and whatever else wants to be written, particularly when I need to let off some steam.


You won't find much information about my private life either here or elsewhere on the internet. The lack of such information is not a mistake. Surely you have something productive to do.