Group: FSF:Tech Team Volunteers

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This page is linked from the FSF volunteer page.

The FSF tech team wants your help!

The FSF Tech Team consists of two full time staff members (plus, sometimes, an inter or two). Along with teams of volunteers (such as the Savannah Hackers and the GNU Webmasters), we maintain and improve the infrastructure and services that power the free software movement. Starting in 2023, our small team began steps to increase the number and types of tasks that we can accept volunteer help with. In 2024 we have even more planned.

Whether you have a few hours a week, or a few hours every couple of months please read on and consider joining in!

What makes a good volunteer

  • You run GNU/Linux on your personal computer.
  • You are reasonably familiar with using the command line.
  • You know some basics of GNU/Linux server administration.
  • You can create a virtual machine on a computer you own with virt-manager or virsh and expose a port to the internet.
  • You are reasonably familiar with using git.
  • You can write technical documentation.
  • You are comfortable communicating on mumble, IRC, and email (we also have room in our Boston office).
  • You have at least a few hours to spend.

How to volunteer

  • Possibly just dive into different work listed below.
  • Join IRC:, channel #fsfsys and say hi and that you are interested in helping out.
  • Catch up on IRC history. Get 1-2 days of chat history by saying "fsysbot catch me up" in #fsfsys. NOTE: This not a public log. We assume you know that anyone can join and request the last 24-48 hours of logs which are shared only to that person and that sharing does not imply permission to reshare the log. More info on logging is on Libera.Chat.
  • Join our mailing list
  • Apply to a tech team internship by following the FSF internship documentation.

It it also helpful to email and tell us:

  • Things you are interested in working on (see project ideas below).
  • Overview of skills you have or a resume.
  • How much time you estimate you have.

The tech team or other volunteers will reply.

Examples of ways to contribute

There are many more possibilities, this is just some of the more obvious things.

Core FSF work that needs lots of collaboration with the tech team

  • Upgrading the operating system and software on one of our virtual machines. Document and fix various issues that come up.
  • Help creating the new FSF forge.

Work that can be done more independently

  • Write public documentation on FSF & GNU run services, software, machines, network, etc.
  • Help make an FSF-run web site available as a Tor hidden service.
    • Helping to convert an existing site to use relative links instead of absolute links is also helpful towards this goal.
  • Improve Email Self-Defense's edward GPG bot.
    • Upgrade to support newer ciphers.
    • Improve general usability and use cases (e.g. autocrypt).
  • Improve our web extensions JShelter and LibreJS.
  • Improve H-Node.
  • Improve the FSF History page.
    • The page is just HTML and CSS, but we would love help creating a custom static site generator to create the page from markdown.
    • Add translation support.
  • Improve our debbugs instance.
    • Upgrading to the latest Trisquel release.
    • Updating to the latest upstream version along with our changes if possible.
  • See How to send a patch or A longer & more opinionated guide for sending patches for the LibrePlanet conference website repository.
    • Removing validation errors and warnings.
    • Improving accessibility.
    • Adding translation support.
    • Adding optional dark or light mode support.
  • If you have significant security experience, there might be some specific work to help secure FSF run systems. In that case, please send a detailed resume to and we can probably find you a project to work on.

Ideas and tasks for making the tech team more volunteer-centric

  • Migrate most FSF tech internal documentation & code to be public. Make much of the remainder open to trusted volunteers.
  • Create a FSF tech team public bug/issue tracker. We plan to use Savannah bug tracker first. Eventually, we could also use debbugs or another system we deploy.
  • Redirect most emails to sysadmin@fsf/ from staff request tracker to become public or open to trusted volunteers.
  • Make our monitoring systems be more public.
  • Do outreach: Talk about volunteer opportunities & our work in various places. Social media, blogs, podcast, etc.
  • Have more visible fun.
  • Respond faster to volunteers.
  • The new name for the tech team volunteers plus tech team staff is FSF SysOps (short for system operators). The goal for the new name will help us speak about it, give the group an identity, and help recruit people.
  • Idea: Event for volunteers to hack on something together.

About the FSF tech team

We blog about our work at

Overview of FSF Tech Team work:

  • Support the Free Software movement, the FSF, FSF staff, GNU and GNU developers in a wide variety of ways including technical support and advice.
  • Install and maintain fully free GNU/Linux systems on servers, desktops, laptops, and embedded devices.
  • Coordinate and mentor interns and volunteer system administrators.
  • Support GNU developers and FSF representatives in their use of FSF-run systems.
  • Blog and speak for the FSF.
  • Coordinate and do technical work needed for the LibrePlanet conference.
  • Report bugs, fix bugs and submit patches upstream for the software we use.
  • Occasionally help design, write, and release software when there is a specific need.
  • (staff only) Share in the on-call rotation to deal with core system emergencies.

Tech team staff:

Active tech team volunteers:

  • Amin Bandali
  • Corwin Brust
  • Bob Proulx

Tech team staff are able to give roughly daily assistance to volunteers, but we have to balance other priorities and limit our assistance based on how much we expect a volunteer to contribute. In the past few years, two big projects we announced plans for, the FSF forge and the FSF website remake, have not been completed as other work took priority. In 2022, we started to work on more volunteer outreach. We want your help!

We publish some technical documentation on the Savannah wiki.

We store various things in the repositories at Note: How to email a patch or A longer & more opinionated guide for emailing patches.

List of notable services we maintain or help maintain (including non-major systems we counted 63 services, platforms, and Web sites in 2022

Web browser extensionswe assist in developing

Non-public services/software for GNU and/or FSF:

Notable tools used internally:


Nothing here yet. You can edit this page!

Ideas for things to add to this page:

  • Tips for handling when it feels like you have taken on too much or cannot keep up.
  • Tips for communicating with the tech team and the rest of the FSF.