John Sullivan

Biography

John 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.

Talks

Day Closing Keynote: What do you mean you can't Skype?!

Track: Plenary Session

Living free in a non-free world.

A GNU priority for a GNU era

Track: Cloud

At its 30th anniversary in September, GNU announced an, ahem, GNU priority for the project -- a focus on advancing and protecting user freedom on the Web and the surrounding Internet.

The project that started around a central concern for individual freedom on individual computers is turning more of its energy toward helping users protect themselves from the threats posed by so-called "cloud computing" and "software as a service."

An effective response to these threats will have two prongs. One will be critical, identifying the problems and threats and the agendas behind them. Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) needs to kept out of the core language of the Web. JavaScript needs to be treated the same as other software -- it needs to be free, for all of the same reasons our operating system needs to be free. We need to resist enticements to replace our local computing with remotely hosted software and tenuous promises.

The other prong will be productive, striving to write the software that needs to be written for users to be able to conveniently do all of the things they want to do using only free software on their own machines.

I will talk about the role of FSF and GNU in this project, and invite conversation about that as well as other possible approaches.

Title: Executive Director

Organization: Free Software Foundation

Website: http://www.fsf.org


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