Hintjens was born in Congo in 1962 and grew up in East Africa.
Hintjens served as CEO and chief software designer for iMatix, a firm that produced free software applications, such as the ZeroMQ high performance message library, the OpenAMQ AMQP messaging service, Libero, the GSL code generator, and the Xitami web server.
He was active in open standards development, being the author of the original Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP), a founder of the Digital Standards Organization, and the editor of the RestMS web messaging protocol. RestMS is developed using a peer-to-peer, share-alike, branch and merge model (COSS) developed by Hintjens and others for the Digital Standards Organization in 2008.
He was CEO of Wikidot Inc., one of the fastest growing wikifarms, until February 2010.
In 2010 Hintjens was diagnosed with bile duct cancer, which was successfully surgically removed. However, in April 2016, it returned and he was diagnosed with terminal cholangiocarcinoma. Hintjens underwent voluntary euthanasia on 4 October 2016.