Zak Greant

Catalyst at Magnolia International Ltd.

Basel Area, Switzerland
  1. Magnolia International Ltd.,
  2. Various,
  3. Various publishers (New Riders, Sams, O'Reilly, Wrox, ...)
  1. Foo Associates Inc.,
  2. Wikimedia Foundation,
  3. Mugo Web
  1. Southern Alberta Institute of Technology
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Catalyst / Community Manager

Magnolia International Ltd.
– Present (2 years 8 months)Vancouver, Canada

I work with Swiss open source CMS vendor Magnolia Intl. on a variety of community, event, free software/open source and knowledge management initiatives.

Conference Presenter

– Present (12 years 11 months)

Over the 2000's, I frequently spoke at technology conferences on topics related to Free Software and Open Source. I have presented full-length session at over sixty events, including:
* OSCON (2002-2008)
* Mozilla 24 (2007)
* MySQL Users Conference (2003-2006)
* LinuxTAG (2002 - 2005)
* International PHP Conference (2001-2005, 2007)
* FOSDEM 2004, OSDBCon 2005, MySQL ComCon 2004, ApacheCon 2002, ApacheCon Europe 2005, EuroOSCON 2006, etc.

My pace has slowed in the 2010s, but I still keynote the occasional event, such as the 2012 Evergreen International Conference.

Technical Editor

Various publishers (New Riders, Sams, O'Reilly, Wrox, ...)
– Present (15 years)

I have served as technical editor on over 60 technology and tech industry books.

Most of the titles have had a strong focus on PHP or MySQL. Notable titles include:
* Mastering Regular Expressions (3rd ed.) by Jeffrey E. F. Friedl
* Advanced PHP Programming by Georg Schlossnagle
* MySQL (3rd Edition) by Paul DuBois
* Practical Manager's Guide to Open Source by Maria Winslow
* MySQL Tutorial by Laura Thomson and Luke Welling

Chief Strategist & Founder

Foo Associates Inc.
(10 years 7 months)Vancouver, Canada Area

Foo Associates is a small consulting firm that I owned from 2001 until 2011. Prior to 2006, it was a sole proprietorship. From 2006 onwards, it was an incorporated company.

Contractor/Technical Writer

Wikimedia Foundation
(10 months)

Contract position focused on improving the MediaWiki documentation and developing the MediaWiki documentation community.

President / Partner

Mugo Web
(2 years 7 months)Vancouver, Canada Area

Mugo Web is a small web development firm specializing in eZ Publish. My role as president was largely hands-off, with day-to-day operations of the company being handled by the other three partners.


8.5x14 Media Corp.
(1 year 3 months)Vancouver, Canada Area

Developed an open source startup in the legal services industry.


Mozilla Foundation
(3 years 9 months)

From July 2005 until mid-March 2009, I was a Mozilla Foundation staff member. My primary duties included advocating the Mozilla values and the Mozilla Manifesto, representing Mozilla at events and developing initiatives and programs to further the Mozilla mission.

Member of Advisory Board

(7 months)

In this role, I advised Continuent on matters of Free Software and Open Source community development, community relations and licensing strategies.

Director of Legal Affairs and Open Source Strategy

eZ systems AS
(2 years 2 months)

Managed eZ's legal affairs, including liaising with corporate counsel, developing and deploying licensing strategies, managing trademark issues, supporting the sales team around open source license issues, etc. Helped eZ develop sustainable open source competitive strategies that match their corporate values. Researched, developed and deployed partner program. Represented eZ at various international events.

Managing Director, North America

eZ systems AS
(1 year 2 months)Vancouver, Canada Area

Set up and ran North American subsidiary for eZ Systems AS. Developed North American go-to-market strategy, hired initial team, managed staff and day-to-day operations, etc.

Technical Evangelist

Sxip Networks
(7 months)

I led Sxip's efforts to work with and within the Free Software and Open Source communities.

Community Advocate

(2 years 10 months)

The primary duties of this role were:
* building and maintaining relationships with groups and individuals in the Electronic Frontier/Free Software/Open Source and MySQL communities on behalf of MySQL AB
* working to address community concerns over choices made by MySQL on issues such as Free Software/Open Source licensing
* representing MySQL AB at various industry conferences (ApacheCon, OSCON, LinuxWorld, FOSDEM, etc.)
* general public relations and marketing activities such as editing or creation of formal MySQL AB communications (press releases, position statements, ...)
* coordination of MySQL AB resources for community projects and events

In addition, I performed the following major duties that were outside the scope of the role:
* support for the sales team on licensing and technical issues
* content chair for the MySQL User's Conference 2003 and 2004
* technical edit of MySQL-related books and articles on behalf of MySQL
* maintainence and development of relationships with various publishers and authors

Lead Author

PHP Functions Essential: New Riders
(1 year)

Acted as lead author for the PHP Functions Essential reference. The book was based on a review of the PHP source code and was well-received, consistently selling even now that it is outdated.

A complete draft of the book is online at and is licensed under a permissive open license.

The page for the book is

Creative Director

Nucleus Information Services
(2 years 7 months)

Managed small website development team that developed interactive websites for small and medium business clients. Main duties included team management, proposal development, client management, site design, site development and site coding. Other duties included print design, copy writing and editing and server admin.

A list of some of the sites developed during this time is frozen in time at Note that many of the sites linked from are now defunct, replaced or are in a state of netcrosis.

PHP Quality Assurance Team Leader

(1 year 1 month)

The PHP/QA Team is a small group of developers whose primary goal is to support the PHP core developers by providing them with timely quality assurance.

I helped found the PHP Quality Assurance Team in November 2000 (See and led the team for about a year. This included activities like helping coordinate the activities of the QA team members and working on improving the systems to perform QA.

Dental Technician

Complete Dental Ceramics
(2 years)

Various tasks. Focused on creating working models for bridges, crowns, dentures and dental appliances from dental impressions.


  1. English

    Native or bilingual proficiency
  2. German

    Elementary proficiency


PHP Functions Essential Reference(Link)

New Riders/Sams

A clear, authoritative function reference for circa-2002 PHP. Each individual function reference is supported by an example of basic use and a more complete example that shows how to accomplish a meaningful task.

  • Zak Greant,
  • Lars Torben Wilson,
  • Graeme Merrall,
  • Brett Michlitsch

Volunteer Experience & Causes

Board Member

Vancouver PHP User Group
– Present (8 years)Science and Technology

Board Observer / Head of IT Services

Open Source Initiative (OSI)
(1 year 10 months)Science and Technology

Participated in OSI board meetings as non-voting member. In May 2008, I also took on management of the OSI's IT infrastructure. Duties primarily consist of managing relationships with vendor and contractors, coordinating other volunteers, administering servers, and planning, managing and deploying services.

Free Software Foundation Licensing Compliance Lab

Free Software Foundation
(4 years 3 months)Civil Rights and Social Action

As a part of the Free Software Foundation's License Compliance Lab team, I provided support to Free Software developers and others on questions related to Free Software licensing.

eLiberatica Founder/Co-Chair

(1 year 5 months)Science and Technology

I helped found and produce the first eLiberatica conference. Key accomplishments for the event include having presentations by founders of the Apache, MySQL and PHP projects, along with key staff from major Free Software and Open Source advocacy groups.

PHP Quality Assurance Team Lead

PHP Community
(1 year 1 month)Science and Technology

The PHP/QA Team was a small group of developers whose primary goal is to support the PHP core team by providing them with timely quality assurance. I helped found the PHP Quality Assurance Team in November 2000 and led the team for about a year. This included activities like helping coordinate the activities of the QA team members and working on improving our QA systems.

Opportunities Zak is looking for:

Causes Zak cares about:

  • Animal Welfare
  • Arts and Culture
  • Children
  • Civil Rights and Social Action
  • Economic Empowerment
  • Environment
  • Health
  • Human Rights
  • Disaster and Humanitarian Relief
  • Poverty Alleviation
  • Science and Technology
  • Free Software/Open Source
  • Electronic Frontier

Organizations Zak supports:

  • Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • Free Software Foundation
  • Free Software Foundation Europe
  • Open Source Initiative (OSI)
  • BC Civil Liberties Association
  • Greenpeace
  • Amnesty International


  • Open Source
  • MySQL
  • PHP
  • Web Development
  • HTML
  • Linux
  • Programming
  • Software Development
  • Public Speaking
  • Apache
  • LAMP
  • Free Software
  • JavaScript
  • CSS
  • Subversion
  • Start-ups
  • Open Source Software
  • Open Source Licensing
  • Community Development
  • Media Relations
  • System Administration
  • jQuery
  • SQL
  • Web Applications
  • Databases
  • Mobile Applications
  • Event Management
  • Online Communities
  • Editing
  • Writing
  • Event Planning
  • Bash
  • Strategic Planning
  • Cooking
  • Ombuds
  • Facilitation
  • Counselling
  • CMS
  • PostgreSQL
  • Git
  • See 25+  See less


Additional Info

  1. Interests

    • In no particular order: People,
    • Free Software,
    • the Electronic Frontier,
    • Carving/Sculpting,
    • Cooking,
    • Guitar,
    • Music,
    • Programming,
    • RPGs,
    • Reading,
    • Travel,
    • Good Food,
    • Writing.
  2. Personal Details

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