Software Freedom Conservancy Appoints Deb Nicholson, Karl Fogel and Tom Marble to its Evaluations Committee

Thanks Peter Brown for Service on Conservancy's Board of Directors

June 22, 2015

Software Freedom Conservancy announces today that it has added three free software luminaries to its Evaluations Committee: Karl Fogel, Tom Marble and Deb Nicholson. Conservancy's Evaluations Committee is responsible for selecting which projects are offered membership in Conservancy. Meeting monthy, the committee serves as a gatekeeper, monitoring Conservancy's mission to support, promote and defend software freedom. The evaluations conducted by the comittee are often complex and require a very broad collective skill set to be successful. Ensuring that there are a strong group of independent commttee members who are experts in the field is fundamental. The Evaluations Committee is appointed by Conservancy's Board of Directors.

"Deb, Karl and Tom are all leaders in free software and people from whom I've sought advice from in the past on a variety of issues," commented Karen Sandler, Executive Director of Conservancy. "We couldn't be more thrilled for them to officially take on this role."

  • Deb
  • Deb Nicholson wants to make the world a better place with technology and social justice for all. After many years of local political organizing, she started handling outreach for the Free Software Foundation and became an enthusiastic free software activist. She likes talking to developers about software patents, to project maintainers about leadership and to activists about free software. She is currently the Community Outreach Director at the Open Invention Network and the Community Manager at GNU MediaGoblin. She also serves on the board at Open Hatch, a.k.a. Free Software's Welcoming Committee. Nicholson also organizes Boston Software Freedom Day.

  • Karl
  • Karl Fogel is an open source developer, author, and copyright reform activist. He is a partner at Open Tech Strategies which provides strategic consulting for collaborative open technology ventures. He is also the founder and executive director of After working on CVS and writing Open Source Development With CVS (Coriolis, 1999), he went to CollabNet, Inc as a founding developer in the Subversion project. Based on his experiences there, he wrote Producing Open Source Software: How to Run a Successful Free Software Project (O'Reilly, 2005), which is a highly-cited resource in the open source community. After a brief stint as an Open Source Specialist at Google in 2006, he left to found In addition to, he also serves as Open Civics Development Specialist at Civic Commons and sat on the board of the Open Source Initiative. Fogel now serves as the chairperson of the Evaluations Committee.
  • Tom
  • Tom Marble is best known for being the first "OpenJDK Ambassador" on the Sun Microsystems core team that open sourced the Java programming language. He continues to apply his community experiences in open source projects and his interest in intellectual property by co-organizing the legal and policy issues track at Europe's largest open source conference, FOSDEM. Marble is committed to increasing diversity in technology by volunteering as an organizer for ClojureBridge, a weekend workshop for women to learn the Clojure programming language, as well as Debian's participation in Outreachy. He is the founder of Informatique, Inc., a consultancy which leverages his hardware, software and legal engineering background for client projects as diverse as telematics for electric vehicles, probabilistic model checking, autonomous cyber defense, and multiplayer online gaming.

In other management changes, Conservancy also thanks Peter Brown who has recently stepped down from Conservancy's Board of Directors due an increase in his other non-free software nonprofit commitments. "Peter has provided key contributions to Conservancy over the last few years," said Sandler. "His management and long-time free software experience will be missed."

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