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Displaying posts tagged Year In Review 2015

2015 YIR: Laying a Foundation for Growing Outreachy

by Marina Zhurakhinskaya on December 31, 2015

[ This blog post is the fifth in our series, Conservancy 2015: Year in Review. ]

Marina Zhurakhinskaya, one of the coordinators of Conservancy's Outreachy program, writes about all the exciting things that happened in Outreachy's first year in its new home at Conservancy.

2015 was a year of transition and expansion for Outreachy, which was only possible with the fiscal and legal support Conservancy provided us. Becoming a Conservancy Supporter will ensure the future in which more free software success stories like Outreachy's are possible.

Outreachy helps people from groups underrepresented in free software get involved through paid, mentored, remote internships with a variety of free software projects. After successfully growing as the GNOME Foundation project for four years, Outreachy needed a new home which could support its further growth, be designed to work with a multitude of free software projects, and provide extensive accounting services. With the current participation numbers of about 35 interns and 15 sponsoring organizations a round, and two rounds a year, Outreachy requires processing about 210 intern payments and 30 sponsor invoices a year. Additionally, Outreachy requires processing travel reimbursements, preparing tax documents, and providing letters of participation for some interns. Legal entity hosting Outreachy needs to enter into participation agreements with interns and mentors, as well as into custom sponsorship agreements with some sponsors.

In February, Outreachy announced its transition to Conservancy and adopted its current name. The alternative of creating its own non-profit was prohibitive because of the overhead and time commitment that would have required. Conservancy was a perfect new home, which provided a lot of the services Outreachy needed and allowed seamlessly continuing the program throughout 2015. The transition to Conservancy was completed in May. 30 interns were accepted for the May-August round with Karen Sandler, Sarah Sharp, and Marina Zhurakhinskaya serving as Outreachy's Project Leadership Committee and coordinators.

With the program's needs met, we were able to turn our minds to expanding the reach of the program. In September, Outreachy announced the expantion to people of color underrepresented in tech in the U.S., while continuing to be open to cis and trans women, trans men, and genderqueer people worldwide. This expansion was guided by the lack of diversity revealed by the employee demographic data released by many leading U.S. tech companies. Three new cooridinators, Cindy Pallares-Quezada, Tony Sebro, and Bryan Smith joined Karen Sandler, Sarah Sharp, and Marina Zhurakhinskaya to help with the expansion. 37 interns were accepted for the December-March round.

One of the most important measures of success for Outreachy is its alums speaking at free software conferences. In 2015, 27 alums had full-time sessions at conferences such as linux.conf.au, LibrePlanet, FOSSASIA, OpenStack Summit, Open Source Bridge, FISL, and LinuxCon. Isabel Jimenez gave a keynote about the benefits of contributing to open source at All Things Open. In a major recognition for an Outreachy alum, Yan Zhu was named among the women to watch in IT security by SC Magazine.

Outreachy coordinators are also being recognized for their contributions to free and open source software. Sarah Sharp won the inaugural Women in Open Source Award, sponsored by Red Hat, and generously donated her stipend to Outreachy. Marina Zhurakhinskaya won an O'Reilly Open Source Award.

Outreachy coordinators, mentors, and alums promoted Outreachy and diversity in free and open source software in the following articles and conference sessions:

Outreachy is made possible thanks to the contributions of its many coordinators, mentors, and sponsors. For May and December rounds, with the credit given for the highest level of sponsorship, Intel and Mozilla sponsored Outreachy at the Ceiling Smasher level, Red Hat at the Equalizer level, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Linux Foundation, and OpenStack Foundation at the Promoter level, and Cadasta, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Endless, Free Software Foundation, GNOME, Goldman Sachs, IBM, M-Lab, Mapbox, Mapzen, Mifos, Open Source Robotics Foundation, Perl, Samsung, Twitter, VideoLAN, Wikimedia Foundation, and Xen Project at the Includer level. Additionally, Red Hat supports Outreachy by contributing Marina Zhurakhinskaya's time towards the organization of the program and the GNOME Foundation provides infrastructure support. However, first and foremost, Outreachy is possible thanks to Conservancy being in place to be its non-profit home and handle the fiscal and legal needs of the program.

Conservancy's service of helping free software projects establish a foundation for growth without the prohibitive overhead of creating their own non-profits is a cornerstone of the free software community. We need Conservancy securely in place to continue providing exceptional support for its 33 member projects and to offer this support to new projects. To help free software thrive, please join Outreachy's Project Leadership Committee members Karen Sandler, Sarah Sharp, and Marina Zhurakhinskaya in becoming a Conservancy Supporter.

Tags: conservancy, Year In Review 2015

2015 YIR: Conservancy Wins DMCA Exception for Smart TVs

by Bradley M. Kuhn on December 18, 2015

[ This is a blog post is the fourth in our series, Conservancy 2015: Year in Review . ]

For 7 years, culminating in a major victory this year, Conservancy has fought for your right to do cool things with your digital television. As part of the review process for exceptions to the DMCA, Conservancy fought for and won an exception for so-called “Smart TVs”.

In early February 2015, Conservancy filed a formal long form comment with the Copyright office, following up on our initial petition in 2014.

**Photo of Williamson testifying at the DMCA hearing**

We continued in this process, even though we have extremely limited resources compared to other organizations working in this area. We funded travel expenses for our pro-bono attorney on this matter, Aaron Williamson of Tor Ekland P.C., to testify at a hearing on the matter.

In October, our hard work yielded success. The Copyright Office granted the exception in their issued ruling.

What does that mean for your software freedom? If you own a television with a digital Linux-based firmware on it, you can extract that firmware, and figure out how to replace it with a more Free-Software-friendly firmware stack like SamyGo without fearing a DMCA violation.

The road to this type of software freedom was even longer for Conservancy. We sued Samsung (along with many other defendants) back in 2008, and assured that Samsung released the copylefted components in their firmware. Like the OpenWRT project, the SamyGo project exists thanks to active GPL enforcement by non-profit charities like Conservancy. With this DMCA exception, we can be assured of a clear and equal playing field for hobbyists and life-hackers who wish to modify the devices in their home.

Would you like us to continue this important work? This is precisely the type of activity we'll cut from our budget if we don't get meet our target of 2,500 Supporters.

Tags: conservancy, GPL, Year In Review 2015

2015 YIR: Bradley and Karen Speak at FOSDEM 2015

by Bradley M. Kuhn and Karen M. Sandler on December 16, 2015

[ This is a blog post is the third in our series, Conservancy 2015: Year in Review . ]

At the end of January 2015, Bradley and Karen came back from LCA and left almost immediately for FOSDEM 2015, where they co-organized the FOSDEM 2015 Legal & Policies Issues DevRoom with Tom Marble and Richard Fontana. Karen gave an amazing FOSDEM-wide keynote (in the giant room :) entitled Identity Crisis: Are we who we say we are?, and Bradley gave a talk in the DevRoom.

Sadly, it looks like the cameras were not functioning for Karen's keynote, but you can read her interview with the FOSDEM organizers about the talk. Fortunately, there is video for Bradley's talk, entitled Fork and Ignore: Fighting a GPL Violation By Coding Instead (The Story of Kallithea). The video of the talk is included here (and is also available on Youtube). The slides aren't clear on the video, but you can follow along with the slides on Bradley's website.)

Bradley's talk in particular tells a story of one of Conservancy's successes from the previous year, the launch of the Kallithea project. Just a few weeks ago, Conservancy launched its own Kallithea instance for Conservancy's public repositories.

Karen and Bradley are again co-organizers of the Legal & Policy DevRoom at FODEM 2016.

Tags: conservancy, GPL, Kallithea, Year In Review 2015

2015 YIR: Bradley M. Kuhn Speaks About Future of Copyleft

by Bradley M. Kuhn and Karen M. Sandler on December 12, 2015

[ This is a blog post is the second in our series, Conservancy 2015: Year in Review ]

Thanks to the generosity of the LinuxConf Australia (LCA) organizers, who funded both Karen's and Bradley's visit to LinuxConf AU 2015, both were able to attend and speak at LCA 2015. Yesterday, our Year In Review post included a video of Karen Sandler's talk at LCA 2015. Today's video shows Bradley M. Kuhn's talk, Considering the Future of Copyleft: How Will The Next Generation Perceive the GPL?, which was delivered on 15 January 2015.

Copyleft licenses, particularly the GPL, are widely used throughout the Open Source and Free Software communities. Recent debates have led many to various conclusions about the popularity of copyleft. This talk discusses where copyleft stands today, how it interacts with the modern Free Software world, and how copyleft advocates may need to adapt to the future of Free Software licensing.

Specifically, Bradley gives a historical perspective of how the Open Source and Free Software communities perceive copyleft now, and why they do. He discusses what challenges this history leaves for the current situation in software freedom politics. Told with examples from his own twenty years of work in our community, Bradley describes the political challenges facing copyleft and what we as a community should do about it.

Bradley will premiere a follow-up talk to this one, entitled Copyleft For the Next Decade: A Comprehensive Plan at LinuxConf Australia 2016.

This video is also available on on Youtube and in as a direct download in webm format.

Tags: conservancy, GPL, Year In Review 2015

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