Photo of John Leach

John Leach

John Leach is a human living in Bradford, UK. He makes frequent and diverse changes to the universe, though isn't entirely sure where he ends and it begins.

You can e-mail him at He has 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 kind of stuff.

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 are on Sound Cloud under the psuedonym Carrbottom John. I also do a few open mic nights around Leeds and Bradford on occasion.

I'm also now one half of the two-piece Robber John, playing guitar and singing half of the singing.

I've also voiced several characters in the Yorkshire-themed point and click comedy adventure computer game Yorkshire Gubbins.

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.
Status Updates on Twitter
A parody account issuing status updates for an imaginary and rather incompetent company of some kind. (maintained with a friend).
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 built a quadcopter, which was fun and dangerous. I documenting some, but not all of my progress on my blog.

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

News Sniffer
My News Sniffer project is free software!
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
Ruby packages for Ubuntu
I maintain Ubuntu packages for updated and performance tuned versions of Ruby
Phusion Passenger
I used to maintain Ubuntu packages for it
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 was 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've been involved with

News Sniffer
A project to monitor the corporate media (Ruby on Rails).
Leeds Ruby Thing
I organise a local Ruby programming meetup group.
The Gillroyd Parade
West Yorkshire's one-time second-best three-piece acoustic folk-scifi band (now retired).
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 articles performed on Ukeleles
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
Yorkshire Gubbins computer game by Charlotte Gore
I voiced several characters (Terry the robot, Crazy Uncle Harbert, the Barman, Bernard) in the first two episodes, with more to come I hope!

Other stuff

Other possibly interesting random downloads


Some of my photography is available here. I used to take more photos but aren't as enthusiatic nowdays, mostly preferring to take snaps on my phone some of which end up posted on twitter.

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

There are more photos still on my blog.

Much 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 a dog called Daisy. All but one chickens died over several years, with the last one going to stay with her cousins on her uncle's allotment.