March 21-22
MIT Stata Center
Cambridge, MA

Program Speakers

Keynote speakers

[ Benjamin Mako Hill - Photo ]

Benjamin Mako Hill

Benjamin Mako Hill is a social scientist, technologist, and activist. In all three roles, he works to understand why some attempts at peer production — like Wikipedia and GNU/Linux — build large volunteer communities while the vast majority never attract even a second contributor. He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Washington. He is also a faculty affiliate at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society and an affiliate at the Institute for Quantitative Social Science — both at Harvard University. He has also been a leader, developer, and contributor to the free software community for more than a decade as part of the Debian and Ubuntu projects. He is the author of several best-selling technical books, a member of the Free Software Foundation board of directors and an advisor to the Wikimedia Foundation. Hill has a Masters degree from the MIT Media Lab and a PhD from MIT in an interdepartmental program between the Sloan School of Management and the Media Lab.

[ Karen Sandler - Photo ]

Karen Sandler

Karen M. Sandler is the Executive Director of the Software Freedom Conservancy. She is known for her advocacy for free software, particularly in relation to the software on medical devices. Prior to joining Conservancy, she was Executive Director of the GNOME Foundation where she now serves on the Board of Directors. Before that, she was General Counsel of the Software Freedom Law Center. Karen co-organizes Outreachy, the award winning Outreach Program for Women, and is an advisor to the Ada Initiative. She is also pro bono counsel to the Free Software Foundation, GNOME and QuestionCopyright.Org. Karen is a recipient of the O'Reilly Open Source Award and co-host of the oggcast, Free as in Freedom.

[ Richard Stallman - Photo ]

Richard Stallman

Richard is a software developer and software freedom activist. In 1983 he announced the project to develop the GNU operating system, a Unix-like operating system meant to be entirely free software, and has been the project's leader ever since. With that announcement Richard also launched the Free Software Movement. In October 1985 he started the Free Software Foundation.

Since the mid-1990s, Richard has spent most of his time in political advocacy for free software, and spreading the ethical ideas of the movement, as well as campaigning against both software patents and dangerous extension of copyright laws. Before that, Richard developed a number of widely used software components of GNU, including the original Emacs, the GNU Compiler Collection, the GNU symbolic debugger (gdb), GNU Emacs, and various other programs for the GNU operating system.

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

Richard graduated from Harvard in 1974 with a BA in physics. During his college years, he also 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. He also developed the AI technique of dependency-directed backtracking, also known as truth maintenance. In January 1984 he resigned from MIT to start the GNU project.

Session speakers

[ Nicole Allen - Photo ]

Nicole Allen, SPARC

Nicole Allen is the Director of Open Education for SPARC. In this role she leads SPARC's work on Open Educational Resources (OER), focusing on public policy and engaging and supporting the library community on this issue.

[ Ellen Ball - Photo ]

Ellen Ball, Partners in Health

Ellen Ball is a software engineer at Partners In Health since 2004 where she has developed electronic medical record systems in many countries. Systems are implemented with OpenMRS, free software for developing medical record systems in resource-constrained settings. She is currently working on the ebola response. Ellen has a BS/MS in Electrical/Biomedical Engineering from Rutgers. Before becoming a social justice warrior, she worked at IBM Research on Visualization Data Explorer which became OpenDX.

[ Ginger Coons - Photo ]

ginger coons, University of Toronto/Libre Graphics magazine

ginger "all-lower-case" coons has been variously called a designer, artist, academic-in-training, technician and talker-about-things. When not building, writing, drawing, editing or holding forth, ginger is also PhD candidate in the Critical Making Lab and the Semaphore research cluster in the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto, studying the movement of born-digital methods to physical production processes through rapid prototyping.

[ Marianne Corvellec - Photo ]

Marianne Corvellec, April

Marianne Corvellec has been a Free Software activist with April since 2011. April is an advocacy association which has been promoting and defending Free Software in France and Europe since 1996. Marianne's focus has been on legal and institutional issues.

[ Dave Crossland - Photo ]

Dave Crossland, Crafting Type

Computers were irresistible to me, growing up in the suburbia of southwest England in the 1990s. But being “good with computers” pointed towards the life depicted in Office Space, so in high school I dropped maths and physics for contemporary art and socio-linguistics. Combining my interests in art and computers eventually led me to graphic design at college. I decided to free fonts.

[ Molly de Blanc - Photo ]

Molly de Blanc

Molly de Blanc likes free culture, education, science, and software. She runs a lightning talk series in Somerville, MA.

[ Remy DeCausemaker - Photo ]

Remy DeCausemaker, Hacks/HackersROC

Remy is a co-founding organizer of the Rochester, NY chapter of Hacks/Hackers, an international organization that brings together journalists and developers to hack the future of News and Reporting.

[ Martin Dluhoš - Photo ]

Martin Dluhoš, Charles University

After graduating with a CS degree from a small liberal arts college in Iowa, Martin worked for a year as a sysadmin at the FSF. In 2013, he decided to embark on a six-month volunteering project in Nepal, where he worked with a local educational non-profit Open Learning Exchange affiliated with One Laptop Per Child. Nowadays, he is back home in the Czech Republic taking more CS courses at Charles University in Prague and contemplating what education means.

Timothy Duffy, yellr

Tim Duffy is an active civic hacker out of Rochester, NY. He is a co-founder of the Rochester chapter of Hacks/Hackers. He is passionate about Free Software, Open Data, Open Gov, and Open Source.

[ Luis Falcón - Photo ]

Luis Falcón, GNU Health

Dr. Luis Falcón (Las Palmas, Spain) holds a degree in Computer Science and Mathematics from the California State University (USA) and in Medicine from IUCS, Buenos Aires (Argentina). Luis is a social, animal rights and Free/Libre Software activist. In 2006 founded GNU Solidario, a nonprofit organization that delivers Health and Education with Free Software. He is the author of GNU Health (, the award-winning Free/Libre Health and Hospital Information System. He currently lives in Canary Islands, Spain.

[ Sucheta Ghoshal - Photo ]

Sucheta Ghoshal, Wikimedia Foundation

Sucheta Ghoshal has been engaged with MediaWiki development for a long time now -- writing code for Wikipedia mostly in JavaScript and PHP. She is currently working as a front-end developer in the Editing Team of the Wikimedia Foundation. She was an OPW intern with the Wikimedia Foundation, and has also volunteered as a mentor for the same program.

[ April Glaser - Photo ]

April Glaser, Library Freedom Project

April Glaser works with the Library Freedom Project to help organize around a range of digital rights issues in libraries. Previously she worked at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Open Technology Institute, and Prometheus Radio Project. April continues to work directly with community organizations interested in promoting free speech, privacy, and innovation in digital spaces, with a current focus on a privacy-conscious mesh networking project in Oakland, CA.

[ Shauna Gordon-McKeon - Photo ]

Shauna Gordon-McKeon, OpenHatch

Shauna Gordon-McKeon is a program director for OpenHatch, where she develops and runs an event series introducing college students to free software. She also volunteers with the Open Science Collaboration, a network of academic and citizen scientists with an interest in open science, metascience, and good scientific practices.

[ Seda Gürses - Photo ]

Seda Gürses, New York University

I am a post-doctoral research at NYU working on privacy, surveillance, requirements engineering and PETs. I am also a member of the arts collective Constant VZW and Alternatif Bilisim Dernegi, an association based in Turkey working on digital rights.

Jennie Rose Halperin, Mozilla

Jennie Rose Halperin is a Project Manager and Researcher for the Community Building Team at the Mozilla Corporation. Her work focuses on building healthy digital communities and communities of practice on the Open Web. Jennie's work for Supporting Cultural Heritage Open Source Systems (SCHOSS) through LYRASIS has focused on community and governance in cultural heritage and free software.

A Community Superstar, super facilitator, Wikipedian, and Webmaker Mentor, her work explores free software, open access, and open standards in cultural spaces. At Mozilla, she engages with diverse international communities to develop their impact through sustained contribution, recognition, and meaningful projects.

Prior to Mozilla, she worked in academic libraries, archives, and museums, curation, and digital scholarship in the United States and Germany. She graduated from Barnard College and received her Masters in Library Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Humboldt Universität zu Berlin. You can find her on the Internet at She tweets @little_wow.

[ Sara Hassani - Photo ]

Sara Nephew Hassani, Carmel Institute

Sara Nephew Hassani is Executive Director of Carmel Institute – a small online school for junior high and high school students. Carmel Institute offers a project-based, individualized, relationship-centered alternative to traditional school. We treat programming as an essential literacy that enables students to engage deeply with core subject areas – including science, humanities, social science, and arts. Sara earned her PhD in sociology from Princeton University, where she wrote about the dimensions and implications of the digital divide -- among other topics.

[ Andrea Hickerson - Photo ]

Andrea Hickerson

Andrea Hickerson is an Assistant Professor of Journalism in the School of Communication at RIT. She is the co-founder of the Digital Journalism Incubator, funded by a grant from the Knight Foundation, which supports experiments in collaborative multimedia journalism.

[ Sebastien Jodogne  - Photo ]

Sebastien Jodogne, Orthanc

Sébastien holds a PhD. degree in Computer Science from the University of Liège (Belgium). His research work was acknowledged by the IBM Belgium Award in 2002. Between 2006 and 2011, he implemented high-performance image analysis software for machine vision, CCTV and broadcasting. Since 2011, he has been working as a medical imaging engineer at the University Hospital of Liège, where he develops the free software Orthanc for medical imaging. His research interests include computer vision, machine learning and software engineering.

[ Frank Karlitschek - Photo ]

Frank Karlitschek, ownCloud

Frank Karlitschek is a long time free software contributor and former board member of the KDE e.V. He managed engineering teams for over 10 years and worked as head of unit and managing director at different internet companies. In 2010 he started the ownCloud project and is leading the community project since then. In 2011 he co-founded ownCloud Inc. to offer commercial services around ownCloud.

[ Bradley Kuhn - Photo ]

Bradley Kuhn, Software Freedom Conservancy

Bradley M. Kuhn is President and Distinguished Technologist at Software Freedom Conservancy, on Free Software Foundation's Board of Directors, and editor-in-chief of Kuhn was FSF's Executive Director from 2001-2005, where he led FSF's GPL enforcement, launched its Associate Member program, and invented Affero GPL. Kuhn was appointed Conservancy's President in April 2006, volunteered from 2006-2010, and has been on staff since 2011. Kuhn holds a B.S from Loyola University in Maryland, and an M.S. from the University of Cincinnati.

[ Bassam Kurdali - Photo ]

Bassam Kurdali, Urchin

Bassam is a 3D animator/filmmaker whose 2006 short, Elephants Dream, was the first "open movie." It established the viability of libre tools in a production environment and set precedent by offering its source data under a permissive license for learning, remixing and re-use. His character, ManCandy, began as an easily animatable test bed for rigging experiments. Multiple iterations have been released to the public, and Bassam demonstrates him in the animated tutorial video + short, The ManCandy FAQ. Under the sign of the urchin, Bassam is continuing to pursue a model of production that invests in commonwealth. He teaches, writes and lectures around the world on free production and free software technique. Raised in Damascus, Bassam trained in the United States as an electrical and software engineer.

[ Jonathan Le Lous - Photo ]

Jonathan Le Lous, April

Jonathan has been involved with the Free Software Movement for ten years, in France and now in Canada.

[ Alison Macrina - Photo ]

Alison Macrina, The Library Freedom Project

Alison Macrina is a librarian and the founder of the Library Freedom Project, an initiative among librarians, technologists, and civil liberties advocates that aims to make real the promises of intellectual freedom and privacy in libraries.

[ Sanjoy Mahajan - Photo ]

Sanjoy Mahajan, MIT

Sanjoy Mahajan is Visiting Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT, and Associate Professor of Applied Science and Engineering at Olin College. He received his PhD in theoretical physics from Caltech, and taught in the physics department at the University of Cambridge. While at Cambridge, he helped found the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences in Cape Town, was its first curriculum director, and taught the first courses in physics and computer science.

[ Deb Nicholson - Photo ]

Deb Nicholson, OpenHatch

Deb Nicholson wants to make the world a better place with technology and social justice for all. After many years of local political organizing, she started handling outreach for the Free Software Foundation and became an enthusiastic free software activist. She likes talking to developers about software patents, to project maintainers about leadership and to activists about free software. She is currently the Community Outreach Director at the Open Invention Network and the Community Manager at GNU MediaGoblin. She also serves on the board at Open Hatch, a.k.a. Free Software's Welcoming Committee. She lives with her husband in Cambridge, Massachusetts -- surrounded by a community of food nerds and noisy musicians.

[ Jonas Öberg - Photo ]

Jonas Öberg, Commons Machinery

Jonas is a Shuttleworth Foundation Fellow where he works on enabling a persistent link between digital works and their metadata, to automate the process of attribution and making it easier for people to use digital works, especially those licensed under free licenses.

Prior to working with the Shuttleworth Foundation, he was the Regional Coordinator for Creative Commons in Europe, lecturer in Software Engineering at the University of Gothenburg and co-founded the Free Software Foundation Europe where he also served as vice president for seven years.

When he needs to avoid computers and technology, he's renovating a 19th century house in northern Sweden.

[ Erika Owens - Photo ]

Erika Owens, Knight-Mozilla OpenNews

Erika is a web journalist based in Philadelphia, Pa. She works with Knight-Mozilla OpenNews to help journalists, developers, designers, data geeks, and civic hackers create awesome projects together on the open web. Prior to joining OpenNews, Erika was web editor at the Philadelphia Public School Notebook where she oversaw the Notebook's site as it became the go-to place for news and conversation about public education in Philadelphia. She loves nonprofit journalism, people watching, and laughing heartily.

[ Paige Peterson - Photo ]

Paige Peterson, MaidSafe

Paige currently works out of San Francisco for MaidSafe doing web development and US communication management and co-organizes bi-monthly events for one of the largest bitcoin meetups in the world. She previously worked for Open Garden doing community management and graduated from MassArt with an MFA in the Studio for Interrelated Media (SIM) program in '10. She believes that by understanding the evolution of natural systems, we can build more sustainable and secure technologies.

[ Laura Quilter - Photo ]

Laura Quilter, UMass Amherst

I'm Laura Quilter, the Copyright and Information Policy Librarian and attorney at the UMass Amherst Libraries. I educate the campus community on copyright and related matters, through workshops and consultations. I believe that individuals can understand enough about copyright to answer their own questions in most instances. I support sharing, and the free and open access to information. I study and work to eliminate abuses of copyright.

[ Jara Rocha - Photo ]

Jara Rocha, Bau School of Design

Jara Rocha is a cultural mediator, developing projects at the intersection of digital humanities, free culture and design. Her main research questions have to do with the materialities of present cultures, and are conceived through two fundamental gestures: critical thinking and speculative doing. She started the Gender and Technology group at Medialab-Prado and curated the project 404: School Not Found at Intermediae, both based in Madrid. She is a core member of GReDiTS/Objetologías research group at Bau School of Design in Barcelona, where she lives and teaches since 2013.

[ Ruben Rodriguez Perez - Photo ]

Ruben Rodriguez Perez, GNU, Trisquel

Founder of the Trisquel GNU/Linux project, Ruben is a computer engineer and free software developer from Spain. He has worked on free software projects for the last twelve years, with a particular focus on educational software.

[ Leah Rowe - Photo ]

Leah Rowe, Libreboot

Leah is the lead maintainer behind the libreboot project, free boot firmware that replaces the proprietary BIOS or UEFI firmware on supported hardware. Based on coreboot, the aim of libreboot is to provide users with boot firmware that is 100% free software.

Leah also runs the Gluglug, a company that sells computers with libreboot and Trisquel GNU/Linux pre-installed.

More information about libreboot can be found at

[ Mark Sadecki - Photo ]

Mark Sadecki, edX

Mark Sadecki is a Web accessibility engineer for edX, a free software MOOC provider and online learning platform where he oversees the organization's accessibility initiative. Previously, Mark worked at the W3C as Staff Contact for the HTML Accessibility Task Force which manages the progress of accessibility solutions in the Open Web Platform. He is passionate about free standards and the decentralization of the Web and works in Web Accessibility because he believes everyone should be able to use the Web.

[ Seth Schoen - Photo ]

Seth Schoen, Electronic Frontier Foundation

Seth Schoen is Senior Staff Technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco. As the first-ever staff technologist at EFF, he helps EFF's staff and the public understand the technologies they use. He works on technology research and development to protect users' freedom and privacy.

Seth has been working on the Let's Encrypt project with EFF, the University of Michigan, Mozilla, and our other partners for several years, and is thrilled to see it poised to launch publicly.

[ Michael Seaton - Photo ]

Michael Seaton, Partners In Health

Mike is lead software developer at Partners In Health, a Boston-based non-profit whose mission is to provide a preferential option for the poor in health care. Mike's focus at PIH over the last 9 years has been to develop innovative electronic medical record systems to support patient care in rural health facilities throughout Haiti, Rwanda, Malawi, Peru, and Lesotho. Mike is a long-time core contributor and technical lead of OpenMRS, a free software medical record system.

[ Ken Starks - Photo ]

Ken Starks, Reglue

"Daddy, how does a computer work?" That simple six-word question led Ken down a path that not only changed his life, but the lives of hundreds of others. Since 2005, Ken and his organization has taken in broken or decommissioned computers, refurbished them, and then placed them into the homes of financially disadvantaged kids in Texas. Everything Reglue does is anchored on one simple premise: a child's exposure to technology should never be predicated on the ability to afford it.

[ Brett Smith - Photo ]

Brett Smith, Curoverse/Arvados

Brett Smith has been working with free software for his entire career, starting with college employment as the FSF's shipping manager and Richard Stallman's speaking organizer. Since then, he's been a software engineer, a system administrator, and the FSF's license compliance engineer. Right now he gets paid to develop Arvados full-time. He also holds an Extra class amateur radio license, and uses it to help communications teams at local events like the Boston Marathon.

[ Ben Sturmfels - Photo ]

Ben Sturmfels

Ben Sturmfels is a software engineer and free software activist from Ballarat, Australia. He organises Free Software Melbourne and leads the End Software Patents Australia campaign.

[ Maira Sutton - Photo ]

Maira Sutton, Electronic Frontier Foundation

Maira works with the Electronic Frontier Foundation as a Global Policy Analyst, monitoring and advocating for human rights as it applies to emerging tech policy. She leads EFF's international work in defending users rights against expansive copyright provisions that restrict users' rights and impede innovation, particularly in opaque international policymaking venues such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP).

[ Robinson Tryon - Photo ]

Robinson Tryon, The Document Foundation

Robinson is a Free Software evangelist employed as QA Engineer for The Document Foundation (TDF), the German non-profit behind LibreOffice and the Document Liberation Project, and as volunteer coordinator of LibreOffice community outreach and education in the US. When he's not speaking about LibreOffice or poking at code, you may find him tinkering in his basement, growing beans and hops in his garden, brewing beer in his kitchen, roasting something over the fire, or floating around a lake somewhere.

[ Ward Vandewege - Photo ]

Ward Vandewege, Arvados

Ward Vandewege started his career as a systems administrator and software developer, with a focus on free software. Ward currently leads the engineering and operations teams at Curoverse. He is also responsible for designing, building, and operating the computer clusters for the Personal Genome Project (PGP). Before Curoverse, Ward was at the FSF where he served as senior systems administrator and eventually as CTO.

[ Christopher Webber - Photo ]

Christopher Webber, GNU MediaGoblin

Lead developer of GNU MediaGoblin. Python developer, free software and free culture activist. Previously tech lead of Creative Commons. Has run two successful crowdfunding campaigns funding MediaGoblin in conjunction with the Free Software Foundation.

[ Stefano Zacchiroli - Photo ]

Stefano Zacchiroli, Debian, IRILL

Associate Professor of Computer Science at University Paris Diderot. His research interests span formal methods and their applications to Quality Assurance in Free Software distributions. He has been an official member of the Debian Project since 2001, taking care of many tasks from package maintenance to distribution-wide Quality Assurance. He has been elected to serve as Debian Project Leader for 3 terms in a row, over the period 2010-2013. He is a Board Director of the Open Source Initiative.