Karen M. Sandler - Executive Director
Karen M. Sandler is the executive director of Conservancy. Karen is known as a cyborg lawyer for her advocacy for free software, particularly in relation to the software on medical devices. Prior to joining Conservancy, she was executive director of the GNOME Foundation. Before that, she was general counsel of the Software Freedom Law Center. Karen co-organizes Outreachy, the award-winning outreach program for women globally and for people of color who are underrepresented in US tech. She is also pro bono counsel to the FSF and GNOME. Karen is a recipient of the O’Reilly Open Source Award and cohost of the oggcast Free as in Freedom.
Karen received her law degree from Columbia Law School in 2000, where she was a James Kent Scholar and co-founder of the Columbia Science and Technology Law Review. Karen received her bachelor’s degree in engineering from The Cooper Union.
Bradley M. Kuhn - President and Distinguished Technologist
Bradley M. Kuhn is the President and Distinguished Technologist at Software Freedom Conservancy and on the Board of Directors of the Free Software Foundation (FSF). Kuhn began his work in the software freedom movement as a volunteer in 1992, when he became an early adopter of the GNU/Linux operating system, and began contributing to various FLOSS projects. He worked during the 1990s as a system administrator and software developer for various companies, and taught AP Computer Science at Walnut Hills High School in Cincinnati. Kuhn's non-profit career began in 2000, when he was hired by the FSF. As FSF's Executive Director from 2001–2005, Kuhn led FSF's GPL enforcement, launched its Associate Member program, and invented the Affero GPL. From 2005-2010, Kuhn worked as the Policy Analyst and Technology Director of the Software Freedom Law Center. Kuhn was the primary volunteer for Conservancy from 2006–2010, and has been a full-time staffer since early 2011. Kuhn holds a summa cum laude B.S. in Computer Science from Loyola University in Maryland, and an M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Cincinnati. Kuhn's Master's thesis discussed methods for dynamic interoperability of FLOSS programming languages. Kuhn received the O'Reilly Open Source Award in 2012, in recognition for his lifelong policy work on copyleft licensing.
Brett Smith - Director of Strategic Initiatives
Brett Smith began his FLOSS advocacy in 2000 at college, organizing student groups and discussing the issues with professors and journalists. He also spent a couple of those summers interning at the Free Software Foundation, and working in various assisting roles there when he returned to campus. Later on he worked as the FSF's License Compliance Engineer from 2006-2012, helping to shepherd the GPLv3 drafting process and do outreach after the license was released. From there, he worked as a Systems Engineer at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and an Arvados maintainer at Curoverse before joining Conservancy as Director of Strategic Initiatives in 2016. He holds a BS in Computer Science from the University of Kentucky.
Deb Nicholson - Director of Community Operations
Deb Nicholson is the Director of Community Operations at the Software Freedom Conservancy where she supports the work of its member projects and facilitates collaboration with the wider free and open source software community. After years of local organizing on free speech, marriage equality, government transparency and access to the political process, she joined the free software movement in 2006. While working for the Free Software Foundation, she created the Women’s Caucus to increase recruitment and retention of women in the free software community. She piloted messaging and directed outreach activities at the Open Invention Network, a shared defensive patent pool for free and open source software. She won the O’Reilly Open Source Award for her work as GNU MediaGoblin‘s Community Liaison and as a founding board member at OpenHatch. She also continues to serve as a founding organizer of the Seattle GNU/Linux Conference, an annual event dedicated to surfacing new voices and welcoming new people to the free software community.
Deb received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Bradford College and lives with her husband and her lucky black cat in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Denver Gingerich - FLOSS License Compliance Engineer
Denver works part-time managing the technical side of Conservancy's license compliance work, triaging new reports and verifying complete and corresponding source (C&CS). His roles elsewhere have recently included financial trading software development on GNU/Linux and previously involved writing system software for hardware companies, including driver writing for the kernel named Linux at ATI (now AMD) and Qualcomm. He founded a company that designs and builds magnetic stripe readers for security hobbyists where he designed the hardware and developed the device's tools and firmware, which are both free software. Denver also writes free software in his spare time, with patches accepted into Wine, the kernel named Linux, and GNU wdiff. Denver received his BMath in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo. He gives presentations about digital civil rights and protecting the free software ecosystem, having spoken at conferences such as CopyCamp Toronto, FOSSLC's Summercamp, and the Open Video Conference.