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Staff and Board

by Free Software Foundation Contributions Published on Aug 10, 2016 10:43 AM
Meet the staff and board of directors of the Free Software Foundation.


  • Geoffrey Knauth

    Geoffrey Knauth, President and Treasurer

    Geoffrey is an independent software contractor, has worked as a programmer, senior associate, systems engineer, and systems analyst at various companies and has contributed to the GNU Objective-C project. He is fluent in Russian and French and has a working knowledge of German, which helps him maintain relationships with computer scientists, mathematicians, and physicists of the Russian Academy of Sciences and with United States economists, scientists, and agencies. He holds a BA in Economics from Harvard University and is the treasurer of the FSF.


  • John Sullivan

    John Sullivan, Executive Director, Clerk

    John started working with GNU Press and the Free Software Foundation in 2003 and then became the FSF's first Campaigns Manager, working on outreach efforts like Defective by Design, BadVista, and PlayOgg. In 2011, John became the Executive Director after four years as Manager of Operations.

    His background is mainly in the humanities, with an MFA in Writing and Poetics and a BA in Philosophy, but he has been spending too much time with computers and online communities since the days of the Commodore 64. He's become a dedicated GNU Emacs user after first trying it around 1996, and contributes code to several of its extensions.

    Prior to the FSF, John worked as a college debate team instructor for both Harvard and Michigan State University.

  • Andrew Engelbrecht, Senior Systems Administrator

    Andrew was a long time volunteer at the FSF, where he gained experience in system administration and developed his passion for software freedom. He was hired as a web developer at the FSF in 2016, and promoted to Senior Systems Administrator in 2018. He is interested in machine learning and the question of how its emergence will shape our society in the near and distant future. He enjoys cycling, programming, house music, and tasty vegan food.

  • Craig Topham, Copyright & Licensing Associate

    For general licensing questions:

    Craig has been an Associate Member since 2007, and he came to work for the Free Software Foundation as a Copyright and Licensing Associate at the end of 2018. Prior to the FSF, Craig worked as a PC/Network Technician for the City of Eugene, Oregon for twelve years. Some of Craig's FSF duties include: handling copyright assignments, GPL compliance for FSF-copyrighted works, and helping with the Respect Your Freedom program. Besides the desire to see free software thrive, Craig also envisions a world where everyone's inner light shines bright. You can find him every other Friday hosting the Free Software Directory meeting on freenode #fsf from 12:00-15:00 Eastern time.

  • Dana Morgenstein, Outreach & Communications Coordinator

    Dana joined the FSF team in July 2017 after ten years of working as a writer, editor, and blogger in the juvenile products industry. She enjoys cartoons, cats, karaoke, trivia, very good books, and very bad books.

  • Donald Robertson, Licensing and Compliance Manager

    General licensing questions:

    GPG key: 13A0 851D 6307 FC54 FCCB 81BA 2C10 0831 6F3E 89B7

    Donald joined the FSF in 2008 as the Copyright Administrator and has held several positions in the organization before becoming the Licensing & Compliance Manager. Donald is a graduate of the New England School of Law and interned for the Hon. William G. Young at the federal district courthouse in Boston. Donald was previously the managing editor of the New England Law Review and wrote and published An Open Definition: Derivative Works of Software and the Free and Open Source Movement, 42 New. Eng. L. Rev. 339 (2008).

  • Greg Farough, Campaigns Manager

    Greg's introduction to free software came by way of the Punkcast video blog in 2006, when intending to see a concert bootleg, they saw an RMS speech instead. From that moment forward, they resolved to use an exclusively free system. Greg has previously worked as a goat herder, labor organizer, and tutor of Attic Greek. Greg is a straight edge vegan, and is an emeritus of many loud and talentless bands in the American Midwest. They have a special fondness for glitchy guitar pedals, horror movies, and GNU Emacs (which gives some people just as many nightmares). Though their last name is pronounced like the Egyptian ruler and the Hollywood actress, they are neither.

  • Ian Kelling, Senior Systems Administrator

    Ian was an FSF volunteer before joining the FSF in May 2017 as a senior systems administrator. He's also a free software developer and has contributed to various projects including GNU Emacs.

  • Jeanne Rasata, Membership Coordinator

    Jeanne Rasata started at the FSF in 2006 as the program assistant. She is now the membership coordinator.

  • John Hsieh

    John Hsieh, Deputy Director

    John joined the FSF in April 2016, after spending more than a decade in senior management positions with human service and social justice organizations in Boston and New York. In addition to his nonprofit career, he has held various roles in lobbying, management consulting, and start-ups. John studied business, computer science, political science, and women's and gender studies at the undergraduate level; he also holds an MBA and an MS in Community Economic Development.

  • Matt Lavallee, Operations Assistant

    Matt Lavallee joined the FSF as Operations Assistant in July 2016. He mails your orders from the FSF shop, picks up the phone when you call, and does all kinds of other useful things. He is a former bookkeeper, cheesemonger, and radio DJ. When not working he cultivates his sophisticated taste in books and music and rides his bicycle around.

  • Michael McMahon, Web Developer

    Michael joined the FSF tech team as Web Developer in January 2019 after working with GNU/Linux in manufacturing, gaming, and education. He enjoys tinkering, board games, DJing, public speaking, parenting, and cats.

  • Ruben Rodriguez, Chief Technology Officer

    Spaniard, software engineer, photographer, GNU hacker, guitar player, ape descendent. Ruben started his career developing free software for research centers and universities, then founded the Trisquel project and other nonprofits. He has been collaborating with the FSF tech team since 2008, and finally joined as a senior systems administrator in 2015. He likes dogs and paragliding, and dislikes writing about himself.

  • Zoë Kooyman, Program Manager

    Zoë is a globetrotter who was born in the Netherlands. She moved to Boston from Australia, where she lived for four years. After obtaining her Master of Arts in Amsterdam, she traveled around the globe working for one of the largest entertainment event organizers in the world. She joined the FSF in March 2019 as program manager. She is always up for a challenging hike, and in true Dutch style she enjoys cycling, cheese, and drop.

GPG keyring of the FSF staff and board

Board of directors

Alexandre Oliva

Alex "lxo" Oliva lives two lives. In one, he's a respectable (i.e., free) software hacker, having worked as GNU Toolchain developer since 2000 at Red Hat and AdaCore, and he does his taxes in Brazil with free software he's maintained since 2007. In the other life, he's a software freedom activist, who speaks, writes, and attempts to motivate people to take the red pill and escape the surveillance matrix most of us live in. He's used GNU since 1991, and contributed to it since 1993. He's maintained GNU Linux-libre since 2008, and launched the 0G project to escape the surveillance black hole in 2019. He co-founded FSF Latin America, and he's a member of LibrePlanet São Paulo, a GNU Speaker, and the recipient of the 2016 FSF Award for the Advancement of Free Software. He graduated as a Computing Engineer and became MSc in Computer Sciences at University of Campinas, where he got acquainted with free software.

Gerald J. Sussman, Professor of Electrical Engineering at MIT

Gerald has been involved in artificial intelligence research at MIT since 1964. He co-authored Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs and Structure and Interpretation of Classical Mechanics and is the recipient of numerous awards, including ACM's Karl Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award and the Amar G. Bose award for teaching. He is a fellow of numerous institutions including the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Association for Artificial Intelligence, the ACM, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the New York Academy of Arts, and Sciences.

Henry Poole, founder of CivicActions

Henry Poole is an internet strategist with three decades' experience in information technology and more than a decade's with online communities and commerce. He was the first technologist to set up a blog for a member of the US House of Representatives. He has presented at conferences in Europe and in the US, and was the technical editor of Demystifying Multimedia. He co-founded CivicActions, a grassroots campaign technology consulting firm in 2004, helping provide network-centric free software technology solutions focusing on transforming the world.

Kat Walsh

Kat Walsh is a copyright, internet policy, and technology lawyer. She was most recently at Creative Commons, where she was one of the drafters of version 4.0 of the CC license suite, and previously worked for the American Library Association in their information technology policy office. Kat came to the free software community through free culture. An early Wikipedian and advocate for free cultural works, she was on the Wikimedia Foundation board of trustees from 2006-2013 (Chair 2012-13), where she advised on strategic, policy, and legal issues, and currently serves on its advisory board. She is also on the board of the Foundation. Kat holds a J.D. from George Mason University School of Law and a B.A. from Stetson University; she is a member of the Virginia State Bar and the US Patent Bar.

Odile Bénassy

Odile uses only free software since the nineties and works as a free software developer. She has been active in French volunteer groups like association APRIL and Aful, Parinux, Ofset and the Rencontres Mondiales du Logiciel Libre.

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