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Free software is what we humans are talking more about

by peterb Contributions Published on Mar 07, 2011 01:24 PM
After six years as the executive director, today is my last day at the Free Software Foundation. And what a great time it has been.

I leave confident that the success of free software is as inevitable as progress itself: all we can do is help speed it along, and be true to promoting the core values of freedom and sharing.

When I joined the FSF in 2001, free software was not so well known. The values we promoted were often ignored in the corporate adoption and promotion of free software under the banner of open source.

Peter Brown

It was shortly after my appointment as ED in 2005 that we began preparations for the public revision of the GNU GPL, the world's most popular free software license. By the following year it was clear that resistance to that revision would hinge on digital restrictions management (DRM). The Digital Millennium Copyright Act had frightened many into the idea that acceptance of digital restrictions was inevitable.

It was in this environment that we launched our first large scale activist campaign, to fight back against DRM. It was a huge success for the FSF and helped us forge a new course and a new campaigns team.

Since then, the FSF has become an active campaigning organization, with tens of thousands of supporters helping us effectively spread the message about free software, and the case against digital restrictions and software patents.

Though open source is still the popular term promoted by corporations with large marketing budgets who want to avoid the implications of ethical behavior, free software is what we humans are talking more about. :)

As for me, I'm taking a short break with some upcoming travel and then looking for a new challenge. I hope to see many at the upcoming LibrePlanet 2011 conference, and I plan to continue in a volunteer role for the FSF, supporting fundraising efforts.

I would like to sign off with a message of support for my successor John Sullivan, who is awesome! He will be a great ED for the FSF, and I thank him for all the support he gave me over the years. And thanks to all the staff at the FSF who have worked so hard and made it such a fun time for me.

Of course, the best thing about working for the FSF is working for Richard Stallman. It is rare to find someone who puts an ethical cause ahead of everything else in their life. Can you think of anyone like that? I'm grateful for his ethical leadership, and hope one day to see him truly receive the recognition he deserves, for the freedom movement he launched.

Peter Brown

Contact me at peterb at gnu dot org

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