May 23, 2024

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The Free Software Foundation Appoints a New Executive Director

The Free Software Foundation announced its new executive director this week.

Back in 2010 John Sullivan had become the Free Software Foundation’s previous executive director, but last year after more than 11 years he’d decided to resign.

Taking his place will be the FSF’s program manager for the last three years, who writes in a new blog post:
The past three years working at the FSF as program manager have been educational and motivational. They have reinforced my belief that what we do is important, and that our goal to give the four freedoms to all computer users continues to be crucial. The work we do reminds people to recognize the power they have to demand change. This change will help free their own digital lives, and their loved ones’.

I am grateful to John Sullivan for his leadership and support. His legacy of nineteen years will be hard to live up to, and I look forward to working with him, the FSF board, and the staff on this transition….

We will continue our unwavering focus on our mission, especially working to increase understanding and adoption of copyleft, and bringing new people into the movement by communicating the necessity of the four freedoms. In the short term, we’re focused on making the upcoming LibrePlanet conference [March 19-20] the best online edition yet for you. After that, I plan to reach out and ask for your thoughts and ideas on what else the FSF can do this year and beyond to advance the cause of user freedom.

As a free software activist, like many of you, each day, I am presented with almost innumerable choices between freedom and convenience, and each day I choose freedom wherever I can. I have learned to do this by questioning my tools, by joining this community, and by learning more and more about the ways that I can stand up for myself. If I can do that, I firmly believe we can reach anyone. I hope that you’ll join me in rejecting the ways that Big Tech tries to deprive us of our freedoms, and to help set a positive example for computer users around the globe.

In freedom,

Zoë Kooyman
Executive Director
From the FSF’s announcement:
Kooyman assumes the executive director role following a series of recent steps taken to make the non-profit’s governance and board recruitment practices more transparent and participatory, including a new community engagement process that empowers associate members of the FSF to nominate and evaluate candidates for the board of directors for the first time in the organization’s 37-year history.

“I want to learn from the community, and will focus on relationship building, and on strengthening the free software movement together,” Kooyman said. “Our immediate priority is to convene another successful LibrePlanet conference on March 19 and 20, bringing community activists, domain experts, and other users together to discuss current issues in technology and ethics. With the current and future threats users face, it’s critical that we spread the free software message wider than ever before and that we help people understand the steps they can take to defend our user rights and freedom.”