April 21, 2022

Tell us a little about yourself, and how you got involved with FreeBSD/Open Source?

I first got involved with FreeBSD/Open Source because of my brother and his husband who are BSD / open source people. Frankly, I needed a job and knowing them led me to contracting at Mt. XINU (UNIX™. backwards, get it?)  I have worked in advertising / design and IT since then, but I found I missed working directly with engineers, and really admired the passion and principles of open source developers. When my brother started Sendmail Inc., I pestered his business partner into giving me a marketing job and one thing led to another. After 4 years with the USENIX Association, the chance came up to work for Google’s Open Source Programs Office. I couldn’t say no to that!  Working at Google on programs like Google Summer of Code for 14+ years has led me deep into the wider FOSS community with literally 100s of projects and very happily so.

Why are you passionate about serving on the FreeBSD Foundation Board?

The general FOSS public doesn’t seem to understand the importance and usefulness of BSD. Too many developers have been dismissive of BSD to me, touting Linux as “successful” and BSD as “failed” and “old hat”. This is a narrative, a mythology, that I want to see changed. I want to contribute to that change.

What excited you about our work?

The Foundation supports the Project which supports critical systems around the world. I’ve given a number of talks in which I plead with developers to *not* create yet another FOSS foundation, pointing out that the business mechanics of running a large global project is complicated, requiring specialized knowledge and consuming a LOT of time. The Foundation offloads the minutia of the business side of sustaining this critical project so that the developers can focus on the architecture and the code. IMHO the Foundation does this exceptionally well. It’s inspiring to get a chance to –  hopefully – contribute to such a well-run organization. 

What are you hoping to bring to the organization and the community through your new leadership role?

The first thing I want to do is listen and learn from the Board, staff and Project members where there are opportunities to help, and then map my skills and experience to where I may be able to contribute.

More specifically:

  • I have organizational, fundraising and marketing experience with a wide variety of FOSS projects from both the not for profit and corporate perspectives. 
  • I have an eclectic personal network of people who might be able to support the foundation and/or the project in some way. For example, I’m the Google lead of Science Foo Camp and the related alumni network of several thousand scientists and technologists from around the world. I contend that all science is computer science these days; hyperbole but also mostly true. Given BSD’s roots in academia and the permissiveness of the BSD licenses, the Project is the natural choice for researchers and  science-derived businesses that form part of the Science Foo Camp alumni community . I’d love to see the Foundation highlight these uses of BSD where it exists and encourage its use where it could be applied.

How do you see your background and experience complementing the current board? 

I haven’t met all my fellow board members yet so it’s too soon to say. Let me get back to you.