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Matcher interview with Justin Flory

by Daniel Takamori on November 30, 2022

Portrait of Justin W. Flory

Photo CC-BY Justin W. Flory

This year for our fundraising season, we are highlighting some of the incredible donors contributing to our matching fund (of $104,759!!). First up in our interview series is Justin W. Flory who has generously provided matching funds. He has repped Software Freedom Conservancy at a lot of recent conferences and it's always exciting to see him handing out our stickers and speaking to people about it. We were so happy to catch up with them and see what drives his passion behind software freedom and ethical technology.

Software Freedom Conservancy: Why do you care about software freedom? How long have you been involved?
Justin W. Flory: My trajectory in life and career for the last eight years was molded by the Software Freedom movement. As a teenager, I used Linux and Open Source software to run my own multiplayer game server for Minecraft. This exposed me both to open source as a concept but also the communities responsible for the production of great things made together with others. Fundamentally, my interest and passion for Free Software come from a human-centered perspective as a method to build more responsible technology for and by society.

SFC: How do you use free software in your life?
JF: I run Fedora Linux since 2014. It began with my first personal laptop that I received as a high school student. Subsequently, since the Fedora Project only ships Free & Open Source software, libraries, and codecs by default, I have been exposed to a wide range of open tools and services. Since October 2022, I am now working full-time at Red Hat on the Fedora Project. We use a hosted Matrix server from Element for our community chat and a Discourse forum for project discussions. I am an ardent user of Firefox for many years, including my extensive self-made categorization system and library of bookmarks covering several topic areas.

SFC: On the spectrum on developer to end user, where do you lie? And how do you think we could do better bridging that divide?
JF: Somewhere in the middle. Today I work as a Community Architect, but I previously worked in systems engineering and received a degree in networking & systems administration. Being a community person in a project like Fedora requires me to wear both the developer and end-user hat, both for our actual users and the people who participate in many different capacities in the project.

SFC: What is it that you see Software Freedom Conservancy does that other groups are not?
JF: The SFC are the hidden heroes of the Software Freedom movement. I love the breadth of issues that the Conservancy addresses that are of particular relevance to the survival of the Software Freedom movement. The critically-important work of enforcing reciprocal licenses guarantees the promise of Free Software licenses and ensures that licensors of copyleft software have their rights respected. Additionally, the creation and sustenance of the Outreachy program introduces numerous people of many diverse backgrounds to the movement. Outreachy opens doors for others to become a part of the young story of Free Culture and Free Software.
For a lover and supporter of Free Software, I do not see any charity or foundation that has as much of a profound impact in the ecosystem as the Conservancy.

SFC: How do you see our role amongst the various FLOSS organizations?
JF: The SFC does both the hidden labor that strengthens the foundations of FLOSS as well as key advocacy and activism to further the collective interests of the movement. The activism includes copyleft compliance work (e.g. Vizio suit) and directly supporting the many member projects supported by the Conservancy.

SFC: What's got you most excited from the past year of our work?
JF: I participated as an Outreachy mentor for the first time since 2019 and I was so excited by how the Conservancy is growing the team around Outreachy. Getting back in as a mentor helped demonstrate to me how much care and empathy the Conservancy builds into how Outreachy is handled. It might not be new work, but it is work that has a high value to me and I definitely felt grateful for it in 2022.

SFC: Do you think we are doing a good job reaching a wider audience and do you see us at places you expect?
JF: I think COVID has made this difficult, and the most recent fragmentation of Twitter compounds it. I think Copyleft Conf filled an important space in the ecosystem, and I am hopeful for its return to continue filling this space and bringing people back together again on important issues.

SFC: Have you been involved with any of our member projects in the past?
JF: I have not participated directly, but I am the user of several projects like git, Inkscape, and Etherpad.

SFC: What other organizations are you supporting this year?
JF: I am also supporting two other organizations, Green Card Voices and the Rail Passengers Association.
Green Card Voices is a U.S. non-profit organization dedicated to build inclusive and integrated communities between immigrants and their neighbors through multimedia storytelling, and Rail Passengers Association advocates on behalf of America's rail passengers for improved, expanded, and safer train service. 

Justin W. Flory is one of our individual matchers this year. He is originally from the Greater Atlanta Area in the United States. Travel is one of his passions, especially traveling by rail. He knows a profuse amount about espresso and coffee, and once studied the secrets of wine from a Croatian winemaker. Music is one of his favorite artistic expressions and he curates both a physical and digital music collection. It isn't surprising when he ends up flipping through crates at a record store. The best way to find him online is through his blog at blog.jwf.io.

Tags: supporter, volunteer

Supporting Software Freedom with Your Time through Conservancy

by Deb Nicholson on May 7, 2020

The current global pandemic has affected everyone, but the experience of essential workers couldn't be more different from the experience of remote tech workers. Even within tech, many people have found themselves with no free time at all while they work to balance child-rearing, care-giving and remote work, while some of their friends, siblings and peers have found that they suddenly have a lot of extra time.

This post is for free software enthusiasts who find themselves with extra time. Conservancy and its member projects have a variety of different ways that you could meaningfully volunteer your time -- remotely, of course.


Translation is great way to help spread free software. MicroBlocks needs help with translation to help them make their fun projects available to more new coders, all over the world. The contact email is: interest@microblocks.fun. Etherpad, a key tool for remote collaboration, is also currently seeking translation help.


In a few weeks, we will need help with some of the bits and pieces associated with our upcoming migration to Bean Count. Moving ten years of financial records is a big undertaking. Folks who are python savvy and/or have experience with Bean Count should drop us a note at info@sfconservancy.org with "Bean Count Help" in the subject.

Many of our projects could use more technical volunteers, here are two that have nice specific lists of tasks they could use help with. Reproducible Builds has a handy list of technical tasks that they could use help with on their site. Inkscape has a thorough list of both coding (and non-coding) tasks that they could use help with on their site.


Compliance is more important than ever. As more and more people come to rely on their digital devices and applications, we want to ensure that these tools empower, rather than spy on, the user. Compliance is big part of how we make sure there is source code that folks can examine -- and alter if necesary.

At a high level, this is how Conservancy's compliance process works:

  • People like you tell us about products or services they use where the source code for GPLed parts isn't provided or is incomplete
  • We investigate and contact the company if we can't find complete build and installation instructions
  • We work with the company to get the complete source - in rare cases we file a lawsuit (only when all other avenues fail)

We're specifically interested to hear from people who are able to check their devices (TVs, smartphones, tablets, et.c) to see if they contain any GPLed software. Here's how to do that:

  • If you think the device uses Linux, BusyBox, Android, etc., or the manual mentions "open source" then ask the manufacturer for source code
  • If they don't reply, or refuse to provide it, please report this to us
  • Or, if you can't build their source code or install the result on your device for some reason, let us know
  • We will start the process to resolve it (so you can get the source!), following up in a few days

For more details, see our reporting page or email us at compliance@sfconservancy.org.


We're always interested in talking to FOSS-savvy folks who want to write for our blog. A robust free software movement includes lots of voices. Some topics we'd like to see include; stories about driving free software adoption at your work or school, ways to improve governance or work-flow at community-driven free software projects, how your company embraced copyleft or sharing strategies for growing and/or diversifying free software communities. If writing about free software sounds exciting to you, email us at info@sfconservancy.org with "Guest Blogging" in the subject.

Some of our projects have also put out calls for help with writing. Selenium could use help answering questions, writing documentation, and updating information on their website. Inkscape has a thorough list of both non-coding (and coding) tasks that they could use help with here.

Grant Research

This one's a little specialized, but if you are at all familiar with the grant space or are interested in learning, we could use some help identifying grant application opportunities. If that sounds like your wheelhouse, then please email us at info@sfconservancy.org with "Grant Research" in the subject.

Thanks for considering volunteering your time to support software freedom!

Tags: conservancy, volunteer

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