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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.


  • John Sullivan

    John Sullivan, Executive Director, Clerk -- Outgoing

    John (he/him) 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

    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

    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.

  • Donald Robertson

    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

    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).

  • Ian Kelling

    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

    Jeanne Rasata, Membership Coordinator

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

  • Michael McMahon

    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.

  • Zoë Kooyman

    Zoë Kooyman, Program Manager

    Zoë is a globetrotter born in the Netherlands, she moved to Boston after living in Australia for four years, and is currently in Switzerland. After obtaining her Masters 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 travels by bicycle.

GPG keyring of the FSF staff and board

Board of directors

More about the role of the FSF's board of directors

  • 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.

    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.

    Ian Kelling

    Ian holds a bachelor's degree in computer science and is a continuous user, developer, and advocate for free software. His past experience working as a software developer for proprietary software companies, while using, learning, and contributing to GNU/Linux on his own time, solidified his personal belief in complete software freedom. He now works exclusively on GNU/Linux. He has contributed to pieces of free software like GNU Emacs, community efforts like the Free Software Directory and others, and has been a speaker at the Seattle GNU/Linux conference (SeaGL). Ian joined the Free Software Foundation in 2017, where he is a senior systems administrator and the FSF union steward.

    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.

    Richard M. Stallman

    GPG key: 6781 9B34 3B2A B70D ED93 2087 2C64 64AF 2A8E 4C02

    Richard Stallman founded the free software movement in 1983 when he announced he would develop the GNU operating system, a Unix-like operating system meant to consist entirely of free software. He has been the GNU project's leader ever since. In October 1985 he started the Free Software Foundation.

    Since the mid-1990s, Stallman has spent most of his time in political advocacy for free software. Before that, Richard developed a number of widely used programs that are components of GNU.

    Stallman pioneered the concept of copyleft, and is the main author of the GNU General Public License, the most widely used free software license.

    Stallman graduated from Harvard in 1974 with a BA in physics. During his college years and after, he worked as a staff hacker at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab, learning operating system development by doing it. He wrote the first extensible Emacs text editor there in 1975.

  • Voting members

    About the distinction between voting and board members

    • Geoffrey Knauth
    • Gerald J. Sussman
    • Henry Poole
    • Ian Kelling
    • Odile Bénassy
    • Richard M. Stallman
    • Alexandre Oliva
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