Photo of John Leach

John Leach

John Leach is a human living in Bradford, UK. He makes regular and diverse changes to the universe. He doesn't care much for writing about myself in the 3rd person.

You can e-mail me at I have a gpg key if you need it for some reason.

What I'm doing at the moment

I co-founded and run Brightbox, a UK-based "infrastructure as a service". You can build cloud servers, load balancers and all that jazz.

When I make the time I also work on one or two personal projects too, like News Sniffer, various Ubuntu packages or building quadcopters.

I'm learning to sing and play guitar at the same time. I'm also learning to play accordion, which is hard enough to play on its own. Some of my recordings appear here on sound cloud.

Things I have written or said or made

Recent stuff

My blog
My personal blog about kind of everything, tech, politics, cookery, photography, music.
My twitter feed
Updated multiple times a day, usually.
My github page
I push most of my code there nowadays
My work blog
I also blog occasionally on my company's blog.
Everybody Loves Eric Raymond
A web comic I created starring Richard Stallman, Eric S. Raymond and others. Dormant for a while now.
Bruce Schneier Facts
Things you might not know about Bruce Schneier. I wrote the app and the first few facts and curate the rest.
Service to allow instant creation of dns records. More info on my blog
UNIX: Rediscovering the wheel
A talk I've given at a few conferences about rediscovering some of the great features of UNIX-like operating systems. This was recorded at the 2010 Scottish Ruby Conference. I gave the same talk at the London Ruby User Group
Beautiful command-line interface design
A talk I've given about writing command-line programs with good interfaces
My lanyrd profile
I've given talks at various conferences
My quadcopter project
I'm building a quadcopter, which is fun and dangerous. I'm documenting it on my blog.
Google Plus
I have a Google Plus profile. I've no idea why.

Free software I've written or been involved with

I'm a supporter of software freedom and mostly use, and write, free software.

Recent stuff

Web Page Parser
A Ruby library to parse web pages, like BBC News
Xapian Fu
A nicer Ruby library for the Xapian full text indexer
Phusion Passenger
I maintain Ubuntu packages for it
Ruby 1.9.3, 2.0 and 2.2 packages for Ubuntu
I maintain Ubuntu packages for updated and performance tuned versions of Ruby
News Sniffer
My News Sniffer project is free software!
A Ruby "domain specific language" for writing Netfilter firewall rules
Ubuntu Linux Distro
Bug testing. and package development.
PowerDNS Pipe
A little Ruby library to make writing PowerDNS pipe backend scripts easier.
A Ruby library for reading and writing to Wordpress blogs via the XMLRPC interface.
Brightbox CLI
A command line interface for the Brightbox Cloud API
A Ruby library for Ceph's Reliable Autonomic Distributed Object Store (RADOS).
A distributed network storage and file system. I've been testing it and reporting lots of bugs.
Puppet recipes
I write lots of puppet recipes as part of my job. We make them available under a free software license
Puppet git receiver
A tool to receive and apply puppet manifests via git.
OpenStack Swift
We use Swift at Brightbox and have fixed a few bugs here and there.

Ancient stuff

Firestorm Network Intrusion Detection System (NIDS)
Plugin developer, bug fixer, beta tester (C)
Ethereal (now Wireshark)
Wrote support for Firestorm ELOG alert logs (C)
Flickr Tools
Some scripts to do cool stuff with images from flickr (Python)
Wikipedia - an online free encyclopedia
Words and photos
Watch Your Mouth
Software to monitor the BBC News 'Have Your Say' website for censored comments. Superseded by News Sniffer now

Other projects I'm involved with

News Sniffer
A project to monitor the corporate media (Ruby on Rails).
Compost This
A database of things you can and can't compost. (Ruby on Rails)
Recycle This
A blog of how to reuse stuff, rather than it going to landfill.
Geekz Shop
We (used to) sell geeky stuff, like t-shirts and stickers, featuring infamous geeks (retired now!)
Wikipedia on Ukeleles
The Gillroyd Parade
West Yorkshire's one-time second-best three-piece acoustic folk-scifi band (now retired).
Leeds Ruby Thing
I organise a local social meetup for Ruby coders.
West Yorkshire Linux User Group
I (used to) help arrange the meetings and maintain the website
Eye Vagina
I pranked some people on chat roulette, which seemed to amuse the Internet
Leeds Ruby Thing
I organise a local Ruby programming meetup group.

Other stuff

Other possibly interesting random downloads


Some of my photography is available here. The best place to start is probably one of the selections galleries. Then perhaps onto places or portraits.

I have more photos (with some duplicated) on my Flickr photostream

I'm working on moving all my photos to my blog, so there are some there too.

Most of my photography is under a Creative Commons attribution license so you can use it freely as long as you credit me and pass the same rights onto others.


I live with my best friend Louisa Parry who I like a lot.

I'm a legal guardian of two black cats, Kaufman and Matilda, one black, white and ginger cat called Strange and some chickens.