Software Freedom Conservancy

New York, United States

The Software Freedom Conservancy is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organizational home for FLOSS projects.

  • ContractPatch, Step 2: Understanding the power balance

    2016-09-26T15:39:47Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers


    September 26, 2016 by Karen Sandler

    ContractPatch, Step 2: Understanding the power balance

    Employment agreements are one of the things that I'm asked the most regularly about in the free and open source software world, almost rivaling questions about licenses. My responses have always been the usual lawyerly responses of This Is Not Legal Advice and while I Am A Lawyer, I Am Not Your Lawyer (I'm generally not acting as a lawyer on behalf of Conservancy as its Executive Director either). But even from my early days of being involved with free software, I have seen that there's a lack of understanding about employment agreements and the ability of employees to get their agreements modified. Last month, Fred announced a new initiative that we are working on together, called ContractPatch. With ContractPatch, our goal is to help provide knowledge to employees, along with sample language for better contract terms. The first step in this process is understanding the dynamics at work in employment arrangements. Step 1 is knowing that everything is negotiable and step 2 is knowing where you stand in the negotiation. Quite simply, you likely will never have as much power as you do the moment just before you sign your employment agreement.

    At the point you are presented with a job offer, your prospective employer really wants to hire you. Chances are, they've screened and interviewed a number of candidates and put a lot of work into the process. Your manager has thought deeply about who they want in the position and has probably imagined how it will all work out with you in the role. Both you and the hiring decision-maker(s) are probably very optimistic about what you'll accomplish in the role and how well you'll get along working together. At this point, no one wants to go back to the drawing board and start the process over again. You will be excited to start the new job but it's worth taking a step back to appreciate the unusual position you are in with your new employer.

    As part of the hiring process, you'll be expected to negotiate your salary (this can be complicated) and finalize all of the terms of your employment. Terms of employment can also be looked at through the lens of compensation, and asking for more favorable terms in your employment contract can be another kind of perk an employer can give you if they have a tight budget. A classic contract negotiation tactic (I even learned this in law school) is to make an agreement stronger in the first draft than you really need it to be, just so that you can give something away when pushed. This is certainly true of many company's standard agreement templates. The only way to find out is to ask.

    Once you take the job, it's harder to change your terms of employment (though it's possible, as we'll cover later). Think hard about the long term impact of signing the agreement and whether things could happen down the road that would make you feel less comfortable with working under those terms. We'll be giving you some examples of situations you want to be prepared for when we talk about specific contract provisions.

    Asking for more favorable terms doesn't have to be an adversarial process. You can ask for an agreement to be amended in a friendly way. Employers often respect workers more when they advocate for themselves.

    So, we'll help you think about how to engage with your employer while anticipating things that could go wrong down the road and how to ask for more favorable terms. You can sign up for our mailing list to be part of the conversation. While it may be easier to avoid negotiating your agreement, don't trade short term comfort for your long term benefit.

    Posted by Karen Sandler on September 26, 2016. Please email any comments on this entry to

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  • Help Send Conservancy to Embedded Linux Conference Europe

    2016-09-21T21:37:26Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers


    September 21, 2016 by Bradley M. Kuhn

    Help Send Conservancy to Embedded Linux Conference Europe

    Last month, Conservancy made a public commitment to attend Linux-related events to get feedback from developers about our work generally, and Conservancy's GPL Compliance Program for Linux Developers specifically. As always, even before that, we were regularly submitting talks to nearly any event with Linux in its name. As a small charity, we always request travel funding from the organizers, who are often quite gracious. As I mentioned in my blog posts about LCA 2016 and GUADEC 2016, the organizers covered my travel funding there, and recently both Karen and I both received travel funding to speak at LCA 2017 and DebConf 2016, as well as many other events this year.

    Recently, I submitted talks for the CFPs of Linux Foundation's Embedded Linux Conference Europe (ELC EU) and the Prpl Foundation's OpenWRT Summit. The latter was accepted, and the folks at the Prpl Foundation graciously offered to fund my flight costs to speak at the OpenWRT Summit! I've never spoken at an OpenWRT event before and I'm looking forward to the opportunity getting to know the OpenWRT and LEDE communities better by speaking at that event, and am excited to discuss Conservancy's work with them.

    OpenWRT Summit, while co-located, is a wholly separate event from LF's ELC EU. Unfortunately, I was not so lucky in my talk submissions there: my talk proposal has been waitlisted since July. I was hopeful after a talk cancellation in mid-August. (I know because the speaker who canceled suggested that I request his slot for my waitlisted talk.) Unfortunately, the LF staff informed me that they understandably filled his open slot with a sponsored session that came in.

    The good news is that my OpenWRT Summit flight is booked, and my friend (and Conservancy Board Member Emeritus) Loïc Dachary (who lives in Berlin) has agreed to let me crash with him for that week. So, I'll be in town for the entirety of ELC EU with almost no direct travel costs to Conservancy! The bad news is that it seems my ELC EU talk remains waitlisted. Therefore, I don't have a confirmed registration for the rest of ELC EU (beyond OpenWRT Summit).

    While it seems like a perfect and cost-effective opportunity to be able to attend both events, that seems harder than I thought! Once I confirmed my OpenWRT Summit travel arrangements, I asked for the hobbyist discount to register for ELC EU, but LF staff informed me yesterday that the hobbyist (as well as the other discounts) are sold out. The moral of the story is that logistics are just plain tough and time-consuming when you work for a charity with an extremely limited travel budget. ☻

    Yet, it seems a shame to waste the opportunity of being in town with so many Linux developers and not being able to see or talk to them, so Conservancy is asking for some help from you to fund the $680 of my registration costs for ELC EU. That's just about six new Conservancy supporter signups, so I hope we can get six new Supporters before Linux Foundation's ELC EU conference begins on October 10th. Either way, I look forward to seeing those developers who attend the co-located OpenWRT Summit! And, if the logistics work out — perhaps I'll see you at ELC EU as well!

    Posted by Bradley M. Kuhn on September 21, 2016. Please email any comments on this entry to

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  • Free as in Freedom, Episode 0x5D

    2016-09-21T19:54:55Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers

    On Free as in Freedom, Episode 0x5D, Bradley and Karen discuss various Conservancy trips to conferences during the first half of 2016:

  • Watch Karen Sandler keynote Stanford Medicine X conference today at 18:02 UTC!

    2016-09-16T16:18:19Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers

    Conservancy's Executive Director, Karen Sandler, will deliver a keynote today at Stanford's Medicine X conference about software freedom in medical devices:

    You can watch a livestream of her talk via the livestream URL:

    at 11:02 AM US/Pacific (18:02 UTC, 2:02PM US/Eastern) today, 16 September 2016.

    (Note that the livestream may require proprietary Javascript, but we've confirmed the stream is working with Free Software browsers on Debian GNU/Linux.)

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  • 0x5C: Basic FLOSS Concepts: Licensing 101

    2016-09-02T16:47:08Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers


    Bradley and Karen give a basic introduction of copyright licensing of Open Source and Free Software.

    This show was released on Friday 2 September 2016; its running time is 01:02:03.

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    So you weren't joking when you said you'd have a more regular schedule :-) Nice!

    sazius at 2016-09-02T16:51:02Z

    mray , Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) like this.

    (offtopic, you need a new avatar. Apparently yours was still hosted at domain :p)

    JanKusanagi at 2016-09-03T12:17:15Z

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  • Linus says: you deserve the choice to enforce the GPL

    2016-08-23T17:15:32Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers

    Linus Torvalds of the Linux Foundation says: if you wrote code in Linux, you deserve the choice to enforce the GPL.,-no-lows-linus-torvalds-on-25-years-of-linux.html

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  • Brett Smith Joins Conservancy as Director of Strategic Initiatives

    2016-08-22T17:45:53Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers


    Brett Smith Joins Conservancy as Director of Strategic Initiatives

    Free software advocate brings longtime community focus with expertise in licensing and software development

    Software Freedom Conservancy is pleased to announce the addition of Brett Smith as its Director of Strategic Initiatives. Brett will be Conservancy's fourth full-time staffer, and will contribute to the organization's charitable mission on several wide-ranging fronts — from software development, to systems administration, to organizational operations, to logistics. Brett will contribute to FLOSS projects that support Conservancy's infrastructure, including leading Conservancy's NPO Accounting Project. Brett will also provide Conservancy's member projects with additional support and mentorship, and will strengthen the public voice of the organization.

    We had an overwhelming response to our job posting, with a lot of exceptional applicants said Karen Sandler, Conservancy's Executive Director.After a careful hiring process, we're thrilled to hire Brett. He's demonstrated an impressive commitment to software freedom and has the talent to fill so many of the roles that Conservancy needs.

    I'm excited to join Conservancy, commented Brett. The organization's work has already brought tremendous benefits to the entire FLOSS community. I'm eager to work full time on initiatives like the NPO Accounting project to address needs that free software hasn't met yet.

    Brett brings to Conservancy fourteen years of experience as a free software advocate and software developer. Prior to joining Conservancy, Brett worked as a software engineer and FLOSS project maintainer for Curoverse, and as a systems engineer for the World Wide Web Consortium. Brett also further adds to Conservancy's expertise with free software license compliance: as the Free Software Foundation's License Compliance Engineer, he gained experience in managing copyleft license compliance matters, and has written and given talks on the subject. Brett's full bio is available.

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    WOW! What an amazing fit! Brett is so great!

    Christopher Allan Webber at 2016-08-22T17:59:56Z

    I'm not very familiar with FSF circles, but a previous FSF compliance engineer sounds like a great addition to the team.

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) at 2016-08-22T19:39:04Z

    (offtopic: you need a new avatar. Old one was still hosted at, domain which has now expired)

    JanKusanagi at 2016-08-22T20:49:37Z

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    awesome!  congratulations to Brett and to SFC for the great match!

    Alexandre Oliva at 2016-08-23T01:28:52Z

  • Free as in Freedom Episode 0x59: Audio Killed the Video Star

    2016-08-18T21:05:32Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers


    In this new episode of the Free as in Freedom audcast, Bradley and Karen discuss the plan for restarting Free as in Freedom and plans for episodes to come.

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  • My Keynote at GUADEC 2016

    2016-08-16T17:56:18Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers


    posted August 16, 2016 by Bradley M. Kuhn

    My Keynote at GUADEC 2016

    Last Friday, I gave the first keynote at GUADEC 2016. I was delighted for the invitation from the GNOME Foundation to deliver this talk, which I entitled Confessions of a command line geek: why I don’t use GNOME but everyone else should.

    The Chaos Computer Club assisted the GUADEC organizers in recording the talks, so you can see here a great recording of my talk here (and also, the slides). Whether the talk is great for you to watch and judge, of course. Your browser does not support the element. Perhaps you can or .

    The focus of this talk is why the GNOME desktop is such a central component for the future of software freedom. Too often, we assume that the advent of tablets and other mobile computing platforms means the laptop and desktop will disappear. And, maybe the desktop will disappear, but the laptop is going nowhere. And we need a good interface that gives software freedom to the people who use those laptops. GNOME is undoubtedly the best system we have for that task.

    There is competition. The competition is now, undeniably, Apple. Unlike Microsoft, who hitherto dominated desktops, Apple truly wants to make beautifully designed, and carefully crafted products that people will not just live with, but actually love. It's certainly possible to love something that harms you, and Apple is so carefully adept creating products that not only refuse to give you software freedom, but Apple goes a step further to regularly invent new ways to gain lock-down control and thwarting modification by their customers.

    We have a great challenge before us, and my goal in the keynote was to express that the GNOME developers are best poised to fight that battle and that they should continue in earnest in their efforts, and to offer my help — in whatever way they need it — to make it happen. And, I offer this help even though I readily admit that I don't need GNOME for myself, but we as a community need it to advance software freedom.

    I hope you all enjoy the talk, and also check out Werner Koch's keynote, We want more centralization, do we?, which was also about a very important issue. And, finally, I thank the GNOME Foundation for covering my travel expenses for this trip.

    Posted by Bradley M. Kuhn on August 16, 2016. Please email any comments on this entry to

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  • 2016-08-09T13:31:41Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers


    Hellwig Announces He Will Appeal VMware Ruling After Evidentiary Set Back in Lower Court

    In a statement on his website, Christoph Hellwig announced today that he will appeal the ruling of the Hamburg District Court, which recently dismissed his case against VMware. As Christoph underscores in his statement, the ruling concerned German evidence law and the Court did not rule on the merits of the case. The ruling centered around German evidentary rules related to documenting Christoph's contributions that appear in VMware's product. Christoph also published (in German and English) the Court's ruling which explains why the materials submitted did not satisfy German evidence rules — despite publicly available information in Linux's Git repositories. In addition, the Court chose not to seek expert testimony.

    Christoph stated on his website, I'm disappointed that the court didn't even consider the actual case of reusing the Linux code written by me, and I hope the Court of Appeal will investigate this central aspect of the lawsuit.

    Conservancy publishes today its comparison analysis between Christoph's code and VMware's code. This particular analysis uses a two step process: (a) use Linux's public Git logs to find Christoph's contributions from Christoph, and (b) use a widely accepted and heavily academically cited tool, CCFinderX, to show that VMware copied Christoph's code into their product.

    While these evidentiary points may be new to the German courts, they have been explored in US Federal Court. Conservancy previously successfully litigated as co-plaintiff with Erik Andersen over BusyBox. Many companies who settled, and the US Federal Court in their judgment against Westinghouse, ultimately accepted and agreed that Erik Andersen held copyrights in BusyBox.

    The German civil legal system is not precedent-based. As such, this initial ruling creates no legally binding precedent. Our community continues our long journey to build definitive industry precedent regarding derivative and combined works under the GPL.

    Reading the ruling, it's clear that VMware brought considerable resources to make every possible argument for dismissal, commented Karen Sandler, Conservancy's Executive Director. Christoph and Conservancy have a fraction of the resources for our enforcement efforts than VMware has at its disposal.

    We ask everyone to become a Conservancy Supporter today to aid in our fight for software freedom through this appeal and other enforcement efforts worldwide.

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  • Bradley M. Kuhn To Keynote GUADEC & OpenSym 2016

    2016-08-08T19:27:32Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers


    In the next ten days, Bradley M. Kuhn, Distinguished Technologist at Software Freedom Conservancy, will keynote two conferences in Germany — GUADEC 2016 and OpenSym 2016.

    On Friday 12 August 2016 in Karlsruhe, Germany, Kuhn will deliver a keynote at the GNOME Users and Developers European Conference (GUADEC) 2016 entitled Confessions of a Command-Line Geek: Why I Don’t Use GNOME But Everyone Else Should. Kuhn will discuss the incredible importance of the GNOME desktop project to the future of software freedom, despite that so much of “Open Source” now focuses on infrastructure projects rather than applications and GUIs.

    On Wednesday 17 August 2016 at 15:30 in Berlin, Germany, Kuhn will deliver a keynote entitled Politics of Cooption in Free and Open Communities at The International Symposium on Open Collaboration (OpenSym) 2016. Kuhn's keynote there will discuss how the advent of cooption of software freedom by for-profit companies and their trade associations has created a complex political system, and how other communities inspired by software freedom may soon face similar challenges.

    Kuhn thanks the organizers of both conferences from graciously inviting him to join other excellent keynoters at both events, and for the opportunity to share an essential message of software freedom with both of this important communities. Conservancy enthusiasts and supporters are encouraged to attend these events; registration details are available on the respective conference's websites.

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    These sound really interesting. Wish I could attend!

    Can I assume these talks will be posted online?

    James Dearing 🐲 at 2016-08-08T22:05:17Z

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  • Why You Should Speak At & Attend LinuxConf Australia

    2016-08-05T00:36:18Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers


    August 4, 2016 by Bradley M. Kuhn

    Why You Should Speak At & Attend LinuxConf Australia

    Monday 1 February 2016 was the longest day of my life, but I don't mean that in the canonical, figurative, and usually negative sense of that phrase. I mean it literally and in a positive way. I woke up that morning Amsterdam in the Netherlands — having the previous night taken a evening train from Brussels, Belgium with my friend and colleague Tom Marble. Tom and I had just spent the weekend at FOSDEM 2016, where he and I co-organize the Legal and Policy Issues DevRoom (with our mutual friends and colleagues, Richard Fontana and Karen M. Sandler).

    Tom and I headed over to AMS airport around 07:00 local time, found some breakfast and boarded our flights. Tom was homeward bound, but I was about to do the crazy thing that he'd done in the reverse a few years before: I was speaking at FOSDEM and LinuxConf Australia, back-to-back. In fact, because the airline fares were substantially cheaper this way, I didn't book a “round the world” flight, but instead two back-to-back round-trip tickets. I boarded the plane at AMS at 09:30 that morning (local time), and landed in my (new-ish) hometown of Portland, OR as afternoon there began. I went home, spent the afternoon with my wife, sister-in-law, and dogs, washed my laundry, and repacked my bag. My flight to LAX departed at 19:36 local time, a little after US/Pacific sunset.

    I crossed the Pacific ocean, the international dateline, left a day on deposit to pickup on the way back, after 24 hours of almost literally chasing the sun, I arrived in Melbourne on the morning of Wednesday 3 February, road a shuttle bus, dumped my bags at my room, and arrived just in time for the Wednesday afternoon tea break at LinuxConf Australia 2016 in Geelong.

    Nearly everyone who heard this story — or saw me while it was happening — asked me the same question: Why are you doing this?. The five to six people packed in with me in my coach section on the LAX→SYD leg are probably still asking this, because I had an allergic attack of some sort most of the flight and couldn't stop coughing, even with two full bags of Fisherman's Friends over those 15 hours.

    But, nevertheless, I gave a simple answer to everyone who questioned my crazy BRU→AMS→PDX→LAX→SYD→MEL itinerary: FOSDEM and LinuxConf AU are two of the most important events on the Free Software annual calendar. There's just no question. I'll write more about FOSDEM sometime soon, but the rest of this post, I'll dedicate to LinuxConf Australia (LCA).

    One of my biggest regrets in Free Software is that I was once — and you'll be surprised by this given my story above — a bit squeamish about the nearly 15 hour flight to get from the USA to Australia, and therefore I didn't attend LCA until 2015. LCA began way back in 1999. Keep in mind that, other than FOSDEM, no major, community-organized events have survived from that time. But LCA has the culture and mindset of the kinds of conferences that our community made in 1999.

    LCA is community organized and operated. Groups of volunteers each year plan the event. In the tradition of science fiction conventions and other hobbyist activities, groups bid for the conference and offer their time and effort to make the conference a success. They have an annual hand-off meeting to be sure the organization lessons are passed from one committee to the next, and some volunteers even repeat their involvement year after year. For organizational structure, they rely on a non-profit organization, Linux Australia, to assist with handling the funds and providing infrastructure (just like Conservancy does for our member projects and their conferences!)

    I believe fully that the success of software freedom and GNU/Linux in particularly has not primarily been because companies allow developers to spend some of their time coding on upstream. Sure, many Free Software projects couldn't survive without that component, but what really makes GNU/Linux, or any Free Software project, truly special is that there's a community of users and developers who use, improve, and learn about the software because it excites and interests them. LCA is one of the few events specifically designed to invite that sort of person to attend, and it has for almost an entire generation stood in stark contrast the highly corporate, for-profits events that slowly took over our community in the years that followed LCA's founding. (Remember all those years of LinuxWorld Expo? I wasn't even sad when IDG stopped running it!) Your browser does not support the element. Perhaps you can or .

    Speaking particularly of earlier this year, LCA 2016 in Geelong, Australia was a particular profound event for me. LCA is one of the few events that accepts my rather political talks about what's happening in Open Source and Free Software, so I gave a talk on Friday 5 February 2016 entitled Copyleft For the Next Decade: A Comprehensive Plan, which was recorded, so you can watch it. I do warn everyone that the jokes did not go over well (mine never do), so after I finished, I was feeling a bit down that I hadn't made the talk entertaining enough. But then, something amazing happened: people started walking up to me and telling me how important my message was. One individual even came up and told me that he was excited enough that he'd like to match any donation that Software Freedom Conservancy received during LCA 2016. Since it was the last day of the event, I quickly went to one of the organizers, Kathy Reid, and asked if they would announce this match during the closing ceremonies; she agreed. In a matter of just an hour or two, I'd gone from believing my talk had fallen flat to realizing that — regardless of whether I'd presented well — the concepts I discussed had connected with people.

    Then, I sat down in the closing session. I started to tear up slightly when the organizers announced the donation match. Within 90 seconds, though, that turned to full tears of joy when the incoming President of Linux Australia, Hugh Blemings, came on stage and said:

    [I'll start with] a Software Freedom Conservancy thing, as it turns out. … I can tell that most of you weren't at Bradley's talk earlier on today, but if there is one talk I'd encourage you to watch on the playback later it would be that one. There's a very very important message in there and something to take away for all of us. On behalf of the Council I'd like to announce … that we're actually in the process of making a significant donation from Linux Australia to Software Freedom Conservancy as well. I urge all of you to consider contributing individual as well, and there is much left for us to be done as a community on that front.

    I hope that this post helps organizers of events like LCA fully understand how much something like this means to us who run a small charities — and not just with regard to the financial contributions. Knowing that the organizers of community events feel so strongly positive about our work really keeps us going. We work hard and spend much time at Conservancy to serve the Open Source and Free Software community, and knowing the work is appreciated inspires us to keep working. Furthermore, we know that without these events, it's much tougher for us to reach others with our message of software freedom. So, for us, the feeling is mutual: I'm delighted that the Linux Australia and LCA folks feel so positively about Conservancy, and I now look forward to another 15 hour flight for the next LCA.

    And, on that note, I chose a strategic time to post this story. On Friday 5 August 2016, the CFP for LCA 2017 closes. So, now is the time for all of you to submit a talk. If you regularly speak at Open Source and Free Software events, or have been considering it, this event really needs to be on your calendar. I look forward to seeing all of you Hobart this January.

    Posted by Bradley M. Kuhn on August 4, 2016. Please email any comments on this entry to

    Excited about this. Especially for people entering the workforce, there's just so much to learn.

    Douglas Perkins at 2016-08-05T03:20:13Z

  • ContractPatch, step 1: Everything Is Negotiable.

    2016-08-05T00:35:45Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers


    August 4, 2016 by Fred Jennings

    ContractPatch, step 1: Everything Is Negotiable.

    About a year ago, I got talking with some friends in the tech industry about contracts. And it began to sound like something was very, very wrong.

    Working informally through personal networks of engineers, project managers, freelance designers, and many more, I ended up with a small horde of employment contracts, offer letters, work agreements, and all manner of other documents that fall under that umbrella term, “contracts.”

    And almost all of the contracts were bad.

    Not badly written, though some were. Not legally unenforceable, though some were.

    They were bad for the people who signed them.

    They waived important legal rights, gave the employer ownership of ideas and projects it had no reason to take, or imposed serious limits on future work.

    And people often didn’t realize how bad these were, the risks they’d agreed to, or what rights they’d given up.

    Among the few who did, most didn’t realize they could negotiate these terms. Others did, but weren’t sure how to start. Several assumed their employer wouldn’t enforce the more onerous terms.

    Nobody should bet their future on that assumption. Doing so is to build one’s career on a house of cards.

    But that won’t change until enough people speak up and push back, and have the tools to do so.

    That’s where this project began for me.

    About a month ago, I sat down over lunch with friends from Software Freedom Conservancy, and learned they’d embarked on a similar project at around the same time. In fact, Karen Sandler recently spoke on the subject as OSCON 2016.

    We’re calling it ContractPatch. The idea is to provide strategy and legal knowledge to workers, along with some sample language for better contract terms.

    But let’s start with the first step:

    Everything is negotiable. Keep repeating that until it sticks.

    Merely knowing that is an edge. Companies know it, but often don’t want their employees or potential hires to realize it. Some employers even structure their hiring, renewal, and termination processes to discourage negotiation. This can halt inexperienced negotiators, especially those from historically underrepresented groups who face widespread employer prejudice that can undermine their perceived ability to negotiate. Everyone will enter a negotiation with different leverage, different goals, and unique needs and strengths.

    There are no magic words, but anyone can learn the techniques and strategies to approach contract negotiations. Like any other skill, it may not be easy at first. Also like any other skill, it can be broken down into steps, practiced, and will become easier over time.

    And we’re here to teach.

    In the coming months, we’ll write about legal and strategic points in contract negotiation strategies, pre-negotiation prep and practice, methods for negotiating, and we’ll provide information on your legal rights around contracts.

    Down the road, we’ll look at specific contract provisions — especially those that impact tech workers the most, such as non-compete agreements and intellectual property assignment clauses. This will go hand-in-hand with a Github repository with forkable sample language for key contract provisions, such as payment terms, benefits, non-competition and non-solicitation agreements, and intellectual property assignment clauses.

    But let’s walk before we run. The first step is knowing you can negotiate. Next, we’ll discuss the balance of power in hiring agreement negotiations, and how to self-evaluate your position before a negotiation begins. After that, we’ll cover timing and strategies around contract renewals, raises, and other opportune moments to renegotiate.

    Whether it’s an employment offer, a mid-project contract renewal, or a termination agreement, its terms can be pushed on. Often, they can be changed. And getting there gracefully is an art, more dance than declaration.

    And we want you to know as much as you can before your next dance starts.

    Posted by Fred Jennings on August 4, 2016. Please email any comments on this entry to

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    @brashley46 ... and Monster, CareerBuilder, Dice, Indeed, and every other job-search site (including the California Employment Development Department's CalJobs site). at 2016-08-05T21:55:44Z

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    Contract with Swedish employer/client: "[You work here. This is the salary/fee.]".

    Contract with US client: "Here's our 40-page standard contract."

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) at 2016-08-07T08:08:33Z

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    My Swedish job contract is literally a 1-sheet form with fields for address, name, etc, and a 3-row box "special terms" for things like above-standard pension, above-standard vacation, subsidized lunch coupons, commission and the like.

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) at 2016-08-07T08:11:14Z

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    My first client contract ever, with my former employer: "Oh right, we should get around to writing a contract at some point".

    We didn't. :-)

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) at 2016-08-07T18:05:31Z

  • The Importance of Following Community-Oriented Principles in GPL Enforcement Work

    2016-07-19T17:19:48Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers

    posted July 19, 2016 by Bradley M. Kuhn and Karen M. Sandler


    The GNU General Public License (GPL) was designed to grant clear permissions for sharing software and to defend that freedom for users. GPL'd code now appears in so many devices that it is fundamental to modern technology. While we believe that following the GPL's requirements is neither burdensome nor unreasonable, many fail to do so. GPL enforcement — the process to encourage those who fail to correct problems and join our open software development community — is difficult diplomacy.

    Our community learned together over the last 20 years how to do this work well. Last year, Conservancy published the concise but comprehensive Principles of Communited-Oriented GPL Enforcement. The Principles were immediately endorsed by Conservancy, FSF and — the three historic community-oriented GPL enforcement organizations, as well as other non-enforcing organizations such as OSI. Recently, these principles were also endorsed by the Netfilter team, a core and essential group of Linux developers. However, despite our best efforts, we have been unable to convince all enforcers to endorse these Principles. Here, we express our concern and desire to ameliorate that situation as best we can. Furthermore, we also bring some transparency and context where enforcers seem unlikely to ever endorse the Principles.

    One impetus in drafting the Principles was our discovery of ongoing enforcement efforts that did not fit with the GPL enforcement community traditions and norms established for the last two decades. Publishing the previously unwritten guidelines has quickly separated the wheat from the chaff. Specifically, we remain aware of multiple non-community-oriented GPL enforcement efforts, where none of those engaged in these efforts have endorsed our principles nor pledged to abide by them. These “GPL monetizers”, who trace their roots to nefarious business models that seek to catch users in minor violations in order to sell an alternative proprietary license, stand in stark contrast to the work that Conservancy, FSF and have done for years.

    Most notably, a Linux developer named Patrick McHardy continues ongoing GPL enforcement actions but has not endorsed the community Principles. When Patrick began his efforts, Conservancy immediately reached out to him. After a promising initial discussion (even contemplating partnership and Patrick joining our coalition) in mid-2014, Patrick ceased answering our emails and text messages, and never cooperated with us. Conservancy has had no contact with Patrick nor his attorney since, other than a somewhat cryptic and off-topic response we received over a year ago. In the last two years, we've heard repeated rumors about Patrick's enforcement activity, as well as some reliable claims by GPL violators that Patrick failed to follow the Principles.

    In one of the many attempts we made to contact Patrick, we urged him to join us in co-drafting the Principles, and then invited him to endorse them after their publication. Neither communication received a response. We informed him that we felt the need to make this public statement, and gave him almost three months to respond. He still has not responded.

    Patrick's enforcement occurs primarily in Germany. We know well the difficulties of working transparently in that particular legal system, but both and Conservancy have done transparent enforcement in that jurisdiction and others. Yet, Patrick's actions are not transparent.

    In private and semi-private communications, many have criticized Patrick for his enforcement actions. Patrick McHardy has also been suspended from work on the Netfilter core team. While the Netfilter team itself publicly endorsed Conservancy's principles of enforcement, Patrick has not. Conservancy agrees that Patrick's apparent refusal to endorse the Principles leaves suspicion and concern, since the Principles have been endorsed by so many other Linux copyright holders, including Conservancy.

    Conservancy built a coalition of many copyright holders for Linux enforcement so that we as copyright holders in Linux could share with each other our analysis, strategy, plans and diplomacy. Much like Linux development itself, enforcement functions best when copyright holders collaborate as equals to achieve the desired result. In coding, Linux copyright holders seek to create together the best operating system kernel in history, and in an enforcement coalition like ours, we seek to achieve proper compliance in the best possible way for the community. (More collaboration is always better for various reasons, and we always urge copyright holders in Linux, Debian, Samba, and BusyBox to join our coalitions.)

    Nevertheless, Conservancy does not object to individual copyright holders who wish to enforce alone; this is their legal prerogative, and with such limited resources for (and political opposition against) GPL enforcement on Linux, everyone who wants to help is welcome. However, Conservancy must denounce anyone who refuses to either endorse the Principles, or (at least) publicly explain why the Principles are not consistent with their efforts to advance software freedom.

    There are few public facts on Patrick's enforcement actions, though there are many rumors. That his enforcement work exists is indisputable, but its true nature, intent, and practice remains somewhat veiled. The most common criticism that we hear from those who have been approached by Patrick is an accusation that he violates one specific Principle: prioritizing financial gain over compliance. Meanwhile, some who criticize Conservancy's enforcement efforts ironically believe we are “too nice” — because we don't seek to maximize financial gain, and therefore we ultimately fund some license compliance work with donations from the general public. Despite that criticism, and the simple fact that Conservancy's settlement funds from GPL enforcement usually fail to cover even the staffing costs associated with our enforcement efforts, we continue to abide by the Principle that compliance is paramount over monetary damages. While we sympathize with those who wish GPL enforcement would fund itself, we also see clear problems if an enforcer prioritizes financial gain over compliance — even if the overarching goal is more comprehensive enforcement in other areas.

    Conservancy does all our enforcement specifically through a USA 501(c)(3) charity, precisely because that makes us transparently financially accountable. The IRS requires that our work benefit the general public and never bestow private inurement to anyone. Success in enforcement should never personally benefit one individual financially, and a charity structure for GPL enforcement ensures that never happens. Furthermore, the annual Form 990 filings of charities allows for public scrutiny of both enforcement revenue and expenditure1.

    Conservancy, as a charity in the center of GPL enforcement, seeks to make enforcement transparent. We devised the Principles in part to clarify long-standing, community-accepted enforcement procedures in a formalized way, so that violators and GPL-compliant adopters alike can discern whether enforcement behavior is acceptable under community norms. We welcome public debate about any enforcement action's compliance with the Principles (i.e., its meta-compliance with the Principles). We encourage all those who enforce GPL to come forward to either endorse the Principles, or publicly propose updates or modifications to the Principles. (We've created the mailing list, principles-discuss, as a public place for that discussion.) We urge developers to state that they support enforcement undertaken in a principled manner, including litigating only as a necessary last resort and to never prioritize financial gain.

    We chose the phrase “meta-compliance with the Principles” carefully. Applying the Principles themselves to compliance with those Principles seems apt to us. For example, we publicized the concerns about Patrick's enforcement only after two years of good-faith attempts to discuss the problems with him, and we waited for more than a year before publicizing the problem, and only after both ample warning to Patrick, and discussion and coordination with the Netfilter team. Just as we would with a GPL violator, we exhausted every path we could find before making this statement publicly.

    Thus, we now call on Patrick to endorse the Principles or publicly engage in good faith with the community to discuss proper methods of enforcement. We further welcome anyone who does not currently abide by these Principles to join us anew in our coordinated community-oriented GPL enforcement work.

    In conclusion, to contrast GPL enforcement with the much more common proprietary software litigation, violators should always have a simple and solid method to quickly resolve the rare legal action around the GPL: compliance. GPL enforcers should always seek compliance as the primary and paramount resolution to any enforcement matter. In this manner, where community-oriented enforcement exists and thrives, the risk for danger from lawsuits diminishes. Today's violators can then become tomorrow's contributors.

    1 Looking at Conservancy's Form 990s, you can see by examining Page 2 (Part III) (in FY 2011, see Page 25, Schedule O, for continuation) each year how much revenue Conservancy received from enforcement settlements, and how much Conservancy spends on license compliance activity. Most notably, Conservancy has not received a single dollar in GPL enforcement revenue since FY 2012.

    Posted by Bradley M. Kuhn and Karen M. Sandler on July 19, 2016. Please email any comments on this entry to

    Douglas Perkins , Jason Self , Icaro Perseo , der.hans and 1 others like this.

    bthall , bthall , Douglas Perkins , Douglas Perkins and 5 others shared this.

    (offtopic: could you update your avatar? The old one you had was still hosted at, which has expired. Thanks!)

    JanKusanagi at 2016-08-10T11:42:18Z

  • Bro, Buildbot, and Godot Receive Mozilla MOSS Grants

    2016-07-16T18:11:04Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers

    Belated posting to identica: June 23, 2016


    Conservancy congratulates member projects Bro, Buildbot, and Godot for receiving grants from the Mozilla Foundation's Mozilla Open Source Support (MOSS) program. The MOSS program is an awards program specifically focused on supporting the Free, Libre, and Open Source Software (FLOSS) movement.

    Bro and Buildbot were grant recipients in the first round of MOSS grants in December 2015; the round focused on "Foundational Technology" — seminal FLOSS technology Mozilla uses and/or incorporates into its infrastructure and products. Bro received a $200,000 USD grant to fund, among other things, development of the Comprehensive Bro Archive Network, a public repository for sharing third-party scripts and plug-ins. Buildbot received a $15,000 USD grant to fund updates to documentation, improvements in Buildbot performance in the Amazon EC2 cloud, and other aspects of Buildbot development.

    Godot has been selected to be a grant recipient in the second round of MOSS grants, as announced yesterday. The second round targets Mozilla's "Mission Partners" — FLOSS projects who promote activities aligned with Mozilla's mission. Godot is to receive a $20,000 USD grant to fund support for Web Sockets, WebAssembly and WebGL 2.0.

    On behalf of Conservancy's member projects, Conservancy thanks Mozilla for its support of FLOSS development.

    Mike Linksvayer , , Jason Self , Christopher Allan Webber and 1 others like this.

    Mike Linksvayer shared this.

  • Free as in Freedom is back! Karen & Bradley Discuss Conservancy's Debian Copyright Aggregation Project

    2016-07-14T19:50:28Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers

    Conservancy's Executive Director, Karen Sandler, and Distinguished Technologist, Bradley M. Kuhn, have relaunched their Free as in Freedom audcast. In their first new episode in 233 days, Karen and Bradley discuss Conservancy's Debian Copyright Aggregation project.

    After you listen to the new audcast, you can also read the orignial project announcement or Bradley's blog post about it.

    Gerard Ryan , Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) , mray , Ben Sturmfels and 6 others like this.

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) , mray , Doug Whitfield , Doug Whitfield and 4 others shared this.

    Looking forward to listening. I've missed hearing your voices coming from my podcatcher :)

    James Dearing 🐲 at 2016-07-14T20:28:08Z

  • Yorba Assigns Shotwell and Geary Copyrights to Software Freedom Conservancy

    2016-05-11T16:58:08Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers


    May 10, 2016

    Yorba Assigns Shotwell and Geary Copyrights to Software Freedom Conservancy

    Software Freedom Conservancy announces that it has received an assignment of copyrights from the Yorba Foundation in order to safeguard those copyrights for the future. Yorba ceased operations in 2015 and is now completing the process of formally dissolving.

    Yorba's assignment included copyrights in Shotwell, a free and open source image management tool, and Geary, a free and open source mail client. The assignment comes as part of Yorba's winding down process, which Yorba's leadership has used to ensure that the appropriate infrastructure exists for its former projects to continue in Yorba's absence. Yorba's founder, Adam Dingle, and former executive director, Jim Nelson, commented, We're a little sad to see Yorba end, but we're still proud of what we accomplished in the six years that Yorba was active. We're pleased to see that development of both Geary and Shotwell is continuing, even in Yorba's absence. We hope that both these programs will have long and healthy lives ahead of them in the GNOME world.

    Both Shotwell and Geary have lead maintainers dedicated to continuing the work where Yorba has left off.

    The Geary community very much appreciates the excellent work done by Yorba for so many years, said Michael Gratton, maintainer of Geary. With Yorba's copyrights safely in Conservancy, we can focus on continuing to make Geary a great Free Software email experience going forward.

    My mission is to ensure that Shotwell stays the great photo manager for the Linux desktop that it is, added Jens Georg maintainer of Shotwell. I will do that by aiming to improve on its user experience in terms of stability, speed and looks while carefully selecting interesting new features such as an improved geolocation and tagging experience.

    Conservancy has expertise in copyright stewardship which it has employed on behalf of the Debian project and for members of the GPL Compliance Project for Linux Developers. Conservancy is happy to help Yorba and its former projects with this transition, said Karen Sandler, Conservancy's Executive Director. We look forward to watching these communities grow and develop.

    Yorba's assignment also included copyrights in Valencia, a freely-licensed plug-in for the gedit text editor, and gexiv2, a freely-licensed wrapper for the Exiv2 photo metadata library.

    Tyng-Ruey Chuang , Sajith Sasidharan , Douglas Perkins , Alex Jordan and 4 others like this.

    Mike Linksvayer shared this.

    I'm not a fan of the tweet version of this

    > We've taken copyright assignment from @yorba_org as they wind down, so that projects like shotwell & geary live on! …

    Too easy to read an implication that copyright assignment is needed for a project to live.

    Mike Linksvayer at 2016-05-13T19:04:57Z

    Tyng-Ruey Chuang likes this.

    (I'm glad to see the assignment happen in this case, just don't like the tweet. The blog/pump text above is good. Though I wish it explained the point of assignment since it is such a fraught topic. What does "safe" mean?)

    Mike Linksvayer at 2016-05-13T19:08:54Z

  • Conservancy is Hiring: Non-profit Problem Solver

    2016-05-10T21:44:42Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers


    April 26, 2016

    Conservancy is Hiring: Non-profit Problem Solver

    Software Freedom Conservancy is looking for a new employee to fill a number of roles within the organization.

    Conservancy is a nonprofit charity that promotes and improves free and open source software projects. We are home to almost 40 projects, including Git, Samba, Inkscape, QEMU, phpMyAdmin, and Selenium (to name a few). Conservancy is the home of Outreachy, an award winning diversity intiative, and we also work to improve software freedom generally. Our organization is involved in every area of the software freedom community: from handling bookkeeping and accounting; to license analysis, compliance, education, and enforcement; to project and community mentorship; to administration and devops work for and with our member projects; to software development in strategic areas, such as non-profit accounting, where existing free software doesn't do the job yet.

    We are a growing nonprofit with three full time staff members. We recognize that as a small software freedom nonprofit our needs are unique. We seek a fourth full-time employee who can fill more than one role within the organization. Accordingly, we are able to tailor the position for the right candidate and expect that person to grow and develop along with the organization.

    This is a full time salaried position with benefits (including health insurance and paid time off), working remotely. Ideally, this employee would be in a timezone congruent with the continental United States. Excellent fluency in English, both oral and written, is required. You must also be extremely details-oriented. This position will pay commensurate with experience, but will be a typical salary for charities in smaller US cities. A laptop running Libreboot and Debian GNU/Linux will be provided. Conservancy employees are never required to use or write non-Free Software as part of their job.

    Job description

    Our Non-profit problem solver will work in many areas, including some of the following:

    • bookkeeping
    • web design
    • software development
    • writing blogposts and other public materials
    • systems administration
    • software freedom licensing/compliance
    • fundraising
    • administrative
    • human resources
    • public speaking

    We want someone who wants to be part of our organization as an integral part of its long-term work culture, helping us to optimize the organizational workflow we currently use -- both with software automation and better logistical planning.

    Since Conservancy's needs are so varied and great, we will work with you to figure out the set of initial duties that match your current skill set with the idea that there will be room for you to grow into other areas of our work that are of interest over time. All you need to be is smart, curious, open- minded, and dedicated to software freedom.

    Applications can be submitted via email to Please include a resume or CV, cover letter, short writing sample and/or links to published work online, such as articles, free software contributions, or conference presentation videos. All materials must be in a file format that can be easily viewed with free software, such as a PDF viewable by Evince, Text, or LibreOffice format

    We are open to candidates of a variety of backgrounds and experience levels. We are uncompromising in our mission and values, and happy to train a high- potential but less experienced candidate.

    Deunan , Jason Self like this.

  • Spec-Ops Joins Conservancy as a Member Project

    2016-03-08T18:50:35Z via Dianara To: Public CC: Followers


    Spec-Ops Joins Conservancy as a Member Project

    Software Freedom Conservancy proudly welcomes Spec-Ops, a newly-created project dedicated to supporting the creation of open standards in critical areas, including payments and identity, and to developing freely-licensed software that tests and/or implements those standards. Spec-Ops joins over thirty free and open source software projects who call Conservancy their non-profit corporate home.

    "We are thrilled to join Conservancy," said Shane McCarron, Projects Manager at Spec-Ops. "Open source relies upon open standards. There is no organization more dedicated to fostering the openness of computing than Software Freedom Conservancy. Our leadership team and Standards Champions needed a space where they could focus on driving those open standards. Joining the Conservancy gives us that space. We stand on the shoulders of giants."

    "We're honored to have Spec-Ops become a member Conservancy's family," said Karen M. Sandler, Conservancy's Executive Director. "We're excited about their ambitious plans to support critical open standards development, and we look forward to providing them with the support they need."

    Spec-Ops' launching has created buzz and enthusiasm in the open standards community, and many community luminaries and veterans have come forward to announce their support. "Spec-Ops is a real answer—a solution developed by a great group of standards veterans who know firsthand how badly the commons needs tending," said Drummond Reed, Founding Board Member of the OpenID Foundation, co-chair of the OASIS XRI and XDI Technical Committees, and Co-Founder and CEO of the Respect Network. "I support Spec-Ops wholeheartedly and look forward to working with them for many years to come." Spec-Ops has published additional quotes of endorsement on their website.

    About Spec-Ops

    Spec-Ops' mission is to identify critical open standards activities and move them along. Spec-Ops puts experts in the room who understand the technology, who know about the process of creating standards, and who have no specific personal or corporate agenda — then lets them get on with it. Spec-Ops also develops free and open source software (licensed under BSD-style licenses) to test and implement these standards, in order to speed adoption and ensure their long term viability and success.

    James Dearing 🐲 , der.hans , Tyng-Ruey Chuang , j1mc and 2 others like this.

    Christopher Allan Webber , Mike Linksvayer shared this.