Software Freedom Conservancy

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Conservancy Adds Dr. Laura Fortunato and Bdale Garbee to its Board of Directors

Our board grows from seven to nine members today.

November 1, 2018

Our Board of Directors grows from seven to nine members today. As the Conservancy continues to grow, it makes sense to draw on a wider field of expertise to inform our work. Tony Sebro, former Conservancy staff member and now Deputy General Counsel at the Wikimedia Foundation, joined our board at the beginning of the year. Today we bring on two brand new board members, one an academic with interests in reproducibility and open research, the other a longtime free software activist and expert. We look forward to both broadening and deepening our impact in the coming years and a larger board is a critical piece of our long-term plan to support and promote software freedom in more places than ever before.

Dr. Laura Fortunato is associate professor of evolutionary anthropology at the University of Oxford, where she researches the evolution of human social and cultural behavior, working at the interface of anthropology and biology. An advocate of reproducible computational methods in research, including the use of Free/Open-Source tools, she founded the Reproducible Research Oxford project, with the aim to foster a culture of reproducibility and open research at Oxford.

Laura holds a degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Padova and masters and PhD in Anthropology from University College London. Before joining Oxford she was an Omidyar fellow at the Santa Fe Institute, where she is currently an External Professor and a member of the Science Steering Committee. She is also a member of the steering group of the UK Reproducibility Network, a peer-led consortium that aims to promote robust research practice in the UK. Laura brings extensive experience from the academic world to the Conservancy board.

Dr. Fortunato says, "I have been following the work of Conservancy for years, as Free/Open-Source software features prominently in both my research and my approach to the training of students. Joining the board will bolster my efforts to bring an explicit emphasis on software freedom in discussions around reproducibility and open research, as these discussions gain momentum across academic fields."

Bdale Garbeehas been a Debian developer since 1994 and has worked to further free software in many capacities, both technical and strategic. He currently serves on the Conservancy's Evaluation Committee, which is tasked with the review of potential new member projects. In the past, he served on the board of directors at Software in the Public Interest, the non-profit home of many free software and hardware projects including Debian, OpenWrt and PostgreSQL. Bdale brings more than 30 years of experience contributing to and supporting community-driven free software projects, and a depth of knowledge about how corporations interact with free software, to his new role on the Conservancy's board of directors.

"The emphasis the Conservancy places on freedom and the immense value of the services provided to a diverse group of important software projects make it easy for me to want to contribute further by joining the board", said Bdale.

"As Conservancy continues to expand its critical work for software freedom, we need a board that reflects a wide variety of experience and perspective," said Karen Sandler, Conservancy's Executive Director. "Laura and Bdale each provide expertise in an area our organization needs. We are so grateful that they are willing to give their time to our cause."

Conservancy, a public charity focused on ethical technology, is the home of over forty member projects dedicated to developing free and open source software. Conservancy acts as a corporate umbrella, allowing member projects to operate as charitable initiatives without having to independently manage their own corporate structure and administrative services.

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