The Benevolent Dictator for Life (BDFL) is the informal, slightly tongue-in-cheek title given to an individual in the open source development community who is respected, sets general directions, and makes final calls in certain decisions within the scope of a given project. The BDFL is a tacit acknowledgement that communal, consensus-based decision-making within such groups occasionally runs up against obstacles for which a single authorative voice can be useful. That BDFLs survive and flourish in such otherwise anarchistic contexts is attributed to their personal charisma and their reticence to wield their power except in rare moments.

List of Benevolent Dictators for Life