Software Freedom Conservancy

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Displaying posts by Kate Chapman

Why I Support Conservancy—and Joined Its Board

by Kate Chapman on February 8, 2017

When Karen first approached me about joining Software Freedom Conservancy’s board, I tried to think about when I first became aware of the organization. I think it probably involves some non-profit law geeking out somewhere at a conference. As someone who has started and been involved in a few non-profits in their early days I think the services Conservancy provides to Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) projects are crucial. Many groups simply want to focus on developing software, rather than the legal and infrastruture tasks required to set up an entire legal entity. It adds another layer of complexity beyond simply organizing code and humans towards a common goal. This is one of the reasons I decided to join Conservancy’s Board of Directors.

One project I’m passionate that we provide a home to is Outreachy. I first became a user of FOSS in 2000 or so. I installed Mandrake Linux on my laptop and starting using it for everything. I was also a Computer Science student at the time. I spent much of that time feeling different while I sat in classrooms with almost entirely white men. I took a break from trying to use Mandrake when my computer ate my term paper and I moved over to studying Geography. I didn’t really return to free software again for 7 years. After graduating from college I worked primarily as a .NET programmer. I then started contributing to a JavaScript library, later got involved in OpenStreetMap and began working on FOSS full-time in various capacities. I think back and wish something like Outreachy had been there to help get me started. I’m delighted that I can support it today.

To make the “F” in FOSS truly free we need people to be able represent the groups making the software we want the world to use. The only way to do that is to get more people involved. Supported, paid internships is part of the way to make this happen. Conservancy is the home for Outreachy and a vital part of this work. I’m delighted I can support that, hopefully making it easier for others to learn and get involved than it was for me.

I hope you are able to help support us in our fundraising drive and can afford to give this year. Currently an anonymous donor is matching 150 Supporter sign-ups and we have plenty of spots left to go. Will one be you? My Supporter sign-up is already matched!

Tags: conservancy, supporter

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