The full list of FSF board members, including biographies can be found at https://www.fsf.org/about/staff-and-board.
"Seeing how Kat Walsh has championed software freedom in other organizations, she is a natural choice for the FSF board," said FSF president Richard M. Stallman.
A lawyer with extensive background in the free culture movement, Walsh brings a wealth of experience with law and licensing to the FSF board. In particular, her skills will help support and oversee the FSF's licensing work on the GNU General Public License (GPL) as well as the LGPL and GFDL. Kat worked as a staff lawyer at Creative Commons, where she was on the team that drafted the last major revision to the family of Creative Commons licenses, completed in November 2013 with the release of the 4.0 licenses.
Walsh also brings a deep understanding of non-profit management. An active contributor to Wikipedia, Walsh was elected to the board of directors of the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) for three terms between 2006 and 2013 and served as the organization's chair from 2012 to 2013. During her tenure on the board, she helped oversee the organization's growth from a staff of 3 to over 150. In 2005, the FSF awarded Wikipedia the first ever Free Software Award for Projects of Social Benefit, which is presented annually to the project or team responsible for applying free software, or the ideas of the free software movement, in a project that intentionally and significantly benefits society in other aspects of life.
FSF board member Benjamin Mako Hill said, "As a WMF advisory board member since 2007, I have worked with Kat extensively and have seen her deep commitment to free software firsthand. Kat's consistent and clear advocacy for free software, free documentation, and free media formats in the Wikipedia community and the Wikimedia organization has played an important role in Wikimedia's strong defense of free software and its advocacy of free software principles more broadly. I am thrilled she will bring that commitment and passion to the FSF board."
FSF executive director John Sullivan said, "In addition to her commitment to free software, Kat's deep experience in nonprofit management and her leadership in licensing bring important skills to the FSF board. Kat has been an FSF associate member and supporter for many years and we are excited that she agreed to step into a leadership position within our organization and movement."
Walsh is a member of the Virginia State Bar and the US Patent Bar, and holds a JD from George Mason University. On accepting the invitation to join the board, Walsh said, "I'm honored to join the leadership of this organization—the FSF's work and principles support a free society by enabling individuals to control the software that is an increasing part of everyone's life, particularly as the consequences of losing that control—particularly loss of privacy and freedom of speech—become greater. I look forward to using my skills to help advance its mission."
The announcement was made at LibrePlanet, a conference organized by the FSF and MIT's SIPB that is being held this weekend in Cambridge, Massachusetts. LibrePlanet has been held annually since 2009 and brings together participants from around the world for talks and events related to the broader free software movement. Walsh, who has attended every LibrePlanet meeting, was in attendance for the announcement.About the Free Software Foundation
The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software—particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants—and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software, and its Web sites, located at fsf.org and gnu.org, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF's work can be made at https://donate.fsf.org. Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.
More information about the FSF, as well as important information for journalists and publishers, is at https://www.fsf.org/press.Media Contacts
Free Software Foundation
+1 (617) 542 5942
Organized around the theme "Free Software Everywhere," the conference's sessions touch on the many places and ways in which free software is used around the world, as well as ways to make free software ubiquitous. Keynote speakers include Free Software Foundation founder Richard Stallman, Software Freedom Conservancy executive director Karen Sandler, and University of Washington professor Benjamin Mako Hill.
This year's LibrePlanet conference will feature over 30 sessions, such as Attribution revolution -- turning copyright upside-down, Fighting surveillance with a free, distributed, and federated net, and Librarians fight back: free software solutions for digital privacy, as well as a hands-on workshop showing participants how to replace even the low-level proprietary software on laptops with something that respects their freedom.
"If you're bothered by the loss of control over your computer and cell phone and all your digital information, and want to know what you can do about it, come to LibrePlanet. The LibrePlanet program is full of presenters who are working from a variety of disciplines to protect our freedom, privacy, and security as computer users," said Libby Reinish, a campaigns manager at the Free Software Foundation.
Online registration for LibrePlanet 2015 is now open; attendees may also register in person at the event.About LibrePlanet
LibrePlanet is the annual conference of the Free Software Foundation, and is co-produced by the Student Information Processing Board. What was once a small gathering of FSF members has grown into a larger event for anyone with an interest in the values of software freedom. LibrePlanet is always gratis for associate members of the FSF. To sign up for announcements about LibrePlanet 2015, visit https://www.libreplanet.org/2015.
LibrePlanet 2014 was held at MIT from March 22-23, 2014. Over 350 attendees from all over the world came together for conversations, demonstrations, and keynotes centered around the theme of "Free Software, Free Society." You can watch videos from past conferences at http://media.libreplanet.org.About the Free Software Foundation
The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software -- particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants -- and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software, and its Web sites, located at fsf.org and gnu.org, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF's work can be made at https://donate.fsf.org. Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.
More information about the FSF, as well as important information for journalists and publishers, is at https://www.fsf.org/press.Media Contact
Free Software Foundation
+1 (617) 542 5942
On Thursday, March 5, 2015, Christoph Hellwig, with support from the Software Freedom Conservancy, filed suit in Hamburg, Germany against VMware Global, Inc. Hellwig is a prominent contributor to the kernel Linux, releasing his contributions under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2. VMware, like everyone, is free to use, modify, and distribute such software under the GPL, so long as they make available the human-readable source code corresponding to their version of the software when they distribute it.
This simple and fair obligation is the cornerstone of the successful cooperation we've seen for decades between organizations both for-profit and non-profit, users, and developers—the same cooperation which has given us the GNU/Linux operating system and inspired a wealth of free software programs for nearly every imaginable use.
Unfortunately, VMware has broken this promise by not releasing the source code for the version of the operating system kernel they distribute with their ESXi software. Now, after many years of trying to work with VMware amicably, the Software Freedom Conservancy and Hellwig have sought the help of German courts to resolve the matter. While the Free Software Foundation (FSF) is not directly involved in the suit, we support the effort.
"From our conversations with the Software Freedom Conservancy, I know that they have been completely reasonable in their expectations with VMware and have taken all appropriate steps to address this failure before resorting to the courts. Their motivation is to stand up for the rights of computer users and developers worldwide, the very same rights VMware has enjoyed as a distributor of GPL-covered software. The point of the GPL is that nobody can claim those rights and then kick away the ladder to prevent others from also receiving them. We hope VMware will step up and do the right thing," said John Sullivan, FSF's executive director.
The suit and preceding GPL compliance process undertaken by Conservancy mirror the work that the FSF does in its own Licensing and Compliance Lab. Both the FSF and Conservancy take a fair, non-profit approach to GPL enforcement, favoring education and collaboration as a means of helping others properly distribute free software. Lawsuits are always a last resort.
You can support Conservancy's work on this case by making a donation.Media Contact
Free Software Foundation
+1 (617) 542 5942