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You are here: Home FSF News FSF seeks full-time senior GNU/Linux systems administrator

FSF seeks full-time senior GNU/Linux systems administrator

by Joshua Gay Contributions Published on Aug 01, 2011 04:07 PM
The ideal candidate will be a well-rounded GNU/Linux systems administrator who enjoys learning and problem-solving. (S)he will be familiar with the free software community and how it works, and will be more interested in making a substantial contribution to software freedom and having employment consistent with ethical ideals than obtaining the highest salary.

This is an opportunity to work for the organization that started the GNU Project, authored the GPL, and launched the free software movement. The position includes frequent contact with many of the core developers of various GNU software packages, and currently reports to the Executive Director.

Together, the senior systems administrators have a great deal of influence over technology decisions within the FSF.

The job must be worked on-site at the FSF's downtown Boston offices. Both a phone interview and an in-person, on-site interview will be required. Relocation expenses are negotiable.

Example systems administration tasks include:

  • Be a lead voice in the Foundation's software system decision making
  • Install and maintain fully free GNU/Linux systems on servers, desktops, laptops, and embedded devices
  • Support GNU developers and FSF staff in their use of FSF-owned systems
  • Monitor and improve system security and network infrastructure
  • Spec and purchase new equipment
  • Coordinate work of volunteer systems administrators
  • Learn about and work with cutting-edge free technologies like Coreboot
  • Blog publicly about the technologies and techniques used at the FSF

Programming is occasionally required, such as:

  • Fix bugs and submit patches upstream for the software used at the FSF
  • Design and write new software when existing software doesn't fit the bill
  • Improve and maintain existing custom software

Useful specific experience includes:

  • 5 years experience as a GNU/Linux (or other Unix-like) systems administrator
  • 3+ years experience with at least two programming languages
  • 2+ years experience with an apt-based GNU/Linux distribution
  • 1+ years experience with SQL (preferably PostgreSQL or MySQL)
  • Undergraduate college degree, or in lieu of degree, substantially more experience than that listed above
  • A portfolio of contributions to free software projects

Expected technical skills are:

  • Expert knowledge of systems administration for GNU/Linux with apt-based distributions
  • In-depth understanding of key network protocols such as TCP/IP, BGP, DNS, SMTP, HTTP, FTP, NFS, DHCP, etc.
  • In-depth understanding of key system components such as virtualization, automated systems management, software RAID, MTAs, etc.
  • Familiarity with at least two of Perl, PHP, Python or Ruby. High proficiency (expert preferred) in at least one of these languages
  • Thorough knowledge of network and system security, especially as related to the kernel Linux and common Internet services
  • Knowledge of network routing and related services in GNU/Linux, such as iptables and stateful firewalls.
  • Ability to design SQL databases
  • Ability to spec, purchase, assemble, and debug components for custom-build server systems

We will prefer candidates with additional skills, such as:

  • In-depth knowledge of CiviCRM, Xen, Puppet, Exim, Spamassassin, Mailman, Quagga, Apache, RT, Coreboot, Squid, Zope, Plone, Semantic Mediawiki, CAS, Django, SQL Ledger
  • Knowledge of version control systems: Bazaar, Git, Subversion, CVS
  • Soldering, making your own Ethernet cable, extremely high Nethack scores

We also require:

  • A willingness to learn and understand how political and philosophical positions of an organization impact computing requirements
  • An ability to work as part of a team and to handle and coordinate contributions from a volunteer core
  • Being open-minded and tolerant of others

To apply:

The FSF is a 501(c)(3) charity that operates under a union contract which fixes the position's salary each year (currently at $57,512). We offer a supportive work environment including a 40-hour work week norm, full family health insurance, partial dental coverage, paid vacation and holidays, and flexible working hours.

We are an equal opportunity employer, committed to promoting a diverse workplace, and do not discriminate based on gender, sex, race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, marital status, or sexual orientation.

To apply, e-mail your cover letter and resume in a free format to You must include "FT Systems Administrator" in the subject line.

The position is available immediately, and we will be accepting applications until it is filled.

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