Software Freedom Conservancy

Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) is an organization that provides a non-profit home and infrastructure support, including legal services, for free/open source software projects. The organization was established in 2006, with the help of the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC). As of June 2018, the organization had over 40 member projects.[1]

Software Freedom Conservancy
Software Freedom Conservancy logo
FoundedApril 7, 2006
Key people
Karen Sandler (executive director)
Bradley M. Kuhn (president)


Software Freedom Conservancy was established in 2006, with the backing of the Software Freedom Law Center.[2][3]

In 2007 Conservancy started coordinating GNU General Public License compliance and enforcement actions, primarily for the BusyBox project [4] (see BusyBox GPL lawsuits).

In October 2010, Conservancy hired its first Executive Director, Bradley M. Kuhn[5] and a year later, its first General Counsel, Tony Sebro.[6] In May 2012, Conservancy took on GPL compliance and enforcement for several other member projects, as well as for a number of individual Linux kernel developers.[7][8] In March 2014, Conservancy appointed Karen Sandler as its Executive Director, with Bradley M. Kuhn taking on the role as Distinguished Technologist.[9][10]

In February 2015, the Outreachy program (formerly the Free and Open Source Software Program for Women) announced that it was moving from The GNOME Project to become part of Conservancy.[11]

As of July 2015, Conservancy had 30 member projects, including QEMU, Boost, BusyBox, Git, Inkscape, Samba, Sugar Labs and Wine.[12]

In May 2016, Yorba Foundation assigned the copyrights of the projects it has developed to Software Freedom Conservancy. This includes copyrights for Shotwell, Geary, Valencia, gexiv2. California is absent of the bundle because of an oversight on Yorba's part.[13][14]

In November 2017, the SFC reported that the Software Freedom Law Center had demanded the invalidation of the SFC's trademark.[2]

Member projects

Current projects

As of March 2018 the following 46 projects are members of Software Freedom Conservancy:[12]

Former projects

These projects have since been removed from the Software Freedom Conservancy's current project list since 2016:


As of August 2017, Conservancy's directors are:[23][24]

The Board Secretary is Karen Sandler.

Past directors include:


In July 2010, Conservancy announced it had prevailed in court against Westinghouse Digital, receiving an injunction as part of a default judgement.[25]

In March 2015, Conservancy announced it was funding litigation by Christoph Hellwig against VMware for violation of his copyrights in its ESXi product. The case will be heard in the district court of Hamburg, Germany.[26][27] VMware stated that it believed the case was without merit and expressed disappointment that Conservancy had resorted to litigation.[28]

See also


  1. ^ "Current Projects - Software Freedom Conservancy". Retrieved 2018-06-18.
  2. ^ a b "SFLC Files Bizarre Legal Action Against Its Former Client". Software Freedom Conservancy. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  3. ^ "Mozilla Grants: Software Freedom Conservancy". Mozilla Foundation. Retrieved August 20, 2011.
  4. ^ Simon Phipps (June 1, 2012). "Why the GPL licensing cops are the good guys". Infoworld. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
  5. ^ "Software Freedom Conservancy Appoints Full-Time Executive Director". October 4, 2010.
  6. ^ "Tony Sebro Joins Conservancy as General Counsel". September 30, 2011. Retrieved October 7, 2011.
  7. ^ Brian Proffitt (May 29, 2012). "Linux kernel devs, Samba join GPL compliance effort". IT World. Retrieved May 30, 2012.
  8. ^ "Conservancy Projects Launch Coordinated Free Software Compliance Efforts". Software Freedom Conservancy. May 29, 2012. Retrieved May 30, 2012.
  9. ^ "Karen Sandler joins Conservancy's Management Team". March 31, 2014. Retrieved April 17, 2014.
  10. ^ Bhati, Monika (April 1, 2014). "Karen Sandler resigns as GNOME Foundation's executive director". Muktware. Retrieved April 17, 2014.
  11. ^ "Outreach Program to Join Conservancy from GNOME; Program Renames to Outreachy". Software Freedom Conservancy. February 4, 2015. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
  12. ^ a b "Current Member Projects - Software Freedom Conservancy". Retrieved February 2, 2015.
  13. ^ "Yorba Assigns Shotwell and Geary Copyrights to Software Freedom Conservancy". May 10, 2016. Retrieved November 17, 2015.
  14. ^ "Re: Yorba status - Geary article". June 26, 2016. Retrieved July 5, 2016.
  15. ^ Brockmeier, Joe 'Zonker' (June 16, 2011). "Evergreen Joins the Software Freedom Conservancy".
  16. ^ Brockmeier, Joe (January 18, 2011). "Software Freedom Conservancy adds 25th member project: Things looking bright for Conservancy". Network World. IDG Communications, Inc.
  17. ^ Brockmeier, Joe (January 18, 2011). "Software Freedom Conservancy adds 25th member project". Dissociated Press. Archived from the original on November 27, 2011.
  18. ^ "Git and Software Freedom Conservancy". Git. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  19. ^ "Godot Joins Software Freedom Conservancy". Retrieved December 22, 2015.
  20. ^ "Metalink Joins Software Freedom Conservancy". Retrieved July 22, 2017.
  21. ^ "Reproducible Builds joins the Software Freedom Conservancy". Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  22. ^ Foresight Linux Previously appeared as Current Member Project, archived from the original on 2016-10-06, retrieved 2018-06-07
  23. ^ "Directors: Software Freedom Conservancy". Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  24. ^ "Officers - Software Freedom Conservancy". Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  25. ^ "Conservancy Receives Default Judgment For BusyBox GPL Enforcement". Software Freedom Conservancy. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  26. ^ "Conservancy Announces Funding for GPL Compliance Lawsuit". Software Freedom Conservancy. Retrieved March 7, 2015.
  27. ^ Phipps, Simon (March 5, 2015). "VMware heads to court over GPL violations". InfoWorld. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  28. ^ "VMware Update to Mr. Hellwig's Legal Proceedings". VMware. Retrieved March 11, 2015.

External links

Bradley M. Kuhn

Bradley M. Kuhn (born 1973) is a free software activist from the United States.

Kuhn is currently President of the Software Freedom Conservancy, having previously been Executive Director. Until 2010 he was the FLOSS Community Liaison and Technology Director of the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC). He previously served as the Executive Director of Free Software Foundation (FSF) from 2001 until March 2005. He was elected to the FSF's board of directors in March 2010.He is best known for his efforts in GPL enforcement, both at FSF and SFLC, as the creator of FSF's license list, and as original author of the Affero General Public License. He has long been a proponent for non-profit structures for FLOSS development, and leads efforts in this direction through the Software Freedom Conservancy. He is a recipient of the 2012 O'Reilly Open Source Award.


BusyBox is a software suite that provides several Unix utilities in a single executable file. It runs in a variety of POSIX environments such as Linux, Android, and FreeBSD, although many of the tools it provides are designed to work with interfaces provided by the Linux kernel. It was specifically created for embedded operating systems with very limited resources. The authors dubbed it "The Swiss Army knife of Embedded Linux", as the single executable replaces basic functions of more than 300 common commands. It is released as free software under the terms of the GNU General Public License, version 2.


Gandi SAS (Gestion et Attribution des Noms de Domaine sur Internet – Management and Allocation of Domain Names on the Internet) is a French company providing domain name registration, web hosting, and related services. The company's main office is in Paris.

Homebrew (package management software)

Homebrew is a free and open-source software package management system that simplifies the installation of software on Apple's macOS operating system and Linux. The name means building software on your Mac depending on taste. Originally written by Max Howell, the package manager has gained popularity in the Ruby on Rails community and earned praise for its extensibility. Homebrew has been recommended for its ease of use as well as its integration into the command line. Homebrew is a non-profit project member of the Software Freedom Conservancy, and is run entirely by unpaid volunteers.Homebrew has made extensive use of GitHub to expand the support of several packages through user contributions. In 2010, Homebrew was the third-most-forked repository on GitHub. In 2012, Homebrew had the largest number of new contributors on GitHub. In 2013, Homebrew had both the largest number of contributors and issues closed of any project on GitHub.Home-brew has spawned several sub-projects such as Linuxbrew, which is a Linux port, Homebrew Cask, which builds upon Homebrew and focuses on the installation of GUI applications, and "taps" dedicated to specific areas or programming languages like PHP.

Kallithea (software)

Kallithea is a cross-platform free software source code management system, the primary goal of which is to provide a repository hosting service with features for collaboration, such as forking, pull requests, code review, issue tracking etc. Kallithea is a fork of RhodeCode, created after the original developer had changed the license terms. While earlier versions of RhodeCode were licensed entirely under the GNU General Public License version 3, RhodeCode version 2.0 (released in August 2013) introduced exceptions for parts of the software distribution. According to Bradley M. Kuhn of Software Freedom Conservancy, this exception statement is ambiguous and "leaves the redistributor feeling unclear about their rights".Kallithea is a member project of Software Freedom Conservancy.

Karen Sandler

Karen Sandler is the executive director of the Software Freedom Conservancy, former executive director of the GNOME Foundation, an attorney, and former general counsel of the Software Freedom Law Center.

List of trademarked open-source software

This is a list of free/open-source software whose names are covered by registered trademarks. As many countries provide some form of basic protection for unregistered (common law) trademarks, nearly any free or open-source software title may be trademarked under common law. This list covers software whose trademarks are registered under a country's intellectual property body.

Loïc Dachary

Loïc Dachary (born 1965) is a French free software developer and activist who has been active since 1987. Dachary currently contributes to free software projects and acts as president of the Free Software Foundation in France. He is a speaker for the GNU Project and the April association. Right now he is a full-time volunteer for the SecureDrop project.

Mark Galassi

Mark Galassi is a physicist, computer scientist and contributor to the free software movement. He was born in Manhattan, grew up in France and Italy and currently lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Mike Linksvayer

Mike Linksvayer is an intellectual freedom and commons proponent, known as a technology entrepreneur, developer and activist from co-founding Bitzi and leadership of Creative Commons.


Outreachy (previously the Free and Open Source Software Outreach Program for Women) is a program that organizes three-month paid internships with free and open-source software projects for people who are typically underrepresented in those projects. The program is organized by the Software Freedom Conservancy and was formerly organized by The GNOME Project and the GNOME Foundation.

It is open to cisgender and transgender women, people of other gender identities that are minorities in open source (including transgender men and genderqueer people), and people of any gender in the United States who have racial/ethnic identities underrepresented in the US technology industry (Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander). Participants can be of any background and any age older than 18. Internships can focus on programming, design, documentation, marketing, or other kinds of contributions.

The program began in 2006 with a round of internships for women working on the GNOME desktop environment (which primarily runs on Linux), and it resumed in 2010 with internships twice a year, adding projects from other organizations starting in 2012. As of 2014, these rounds of internships have had up to 16 participating organizations, including Mozilla and the Wikimedia Foundation. Funding comes from the GNOME Foundation, Google, organizations participating in the internships, and other software companies.

Peter T. Brown

Peter T. Brown was the Executive Director of the Free Software Foundation (FSF) from 2005 until early 2011. Having come from a business management and finance background, he began working for the organization in 2001 as a comptroller, and was promoted to Executive Director in 2005 after the departure of Bradley Kuhn. He was replaced by John Sullivan. He has since joined the Software Freedom Conservancy as a director and treasurer. He is from Oxford, England, and has worked in the past for the BBC and the New Internationalist.

He became an American citizen in August 2017.


RhodeCode is an open source self-hosted platform for behind-the-firewall source code management. It provides centralized control over Git, Mercurial, and Subversion repositories within an organization, with common authentication and permission management. RhodeCode allows forking, pull requests, and code reviews via a web interface.

Robert J. Chassell

Robert "Bob" Chassell was one of the founding directors of Free Software Foundation (FSF) in 1985. While on the Board of Directors, Chassell was also the treasurer for FSF. He left the FSF to become a full-time speaker on free software topics. Bob was born on 22 August 1946, in Bennington, VT. He was diagnosed with progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) in 2010, and died as a result on 30 June 2017.

Chassell has authored several books including:

Chassell, Robert J. (2003). Software Freedom: An Introduction. Boston: GNUpress. ISBN 1-882114-95-7.

Chassell, Robert J. (2004). An introduction to Programming in Emacs Lisp. Boston: GNUpress. ISBN 1-882114-56-6.


Sandler is a surname derived from Hebrew "Sandlar" (סנדלר)—"sandal-maker", i.e. shoemaker—which passed over to Yiddish with the same meaning. Thus, persons having this name are likely to have had a shoemaker among their ancestors, though it might be many generations in the past. Holders of the name include:

Abigail Sandler (born 1995), American Artist

Adam Sandler (born 1966), American actor and comedian

Anthony Sandler is the Chief of Pediatric Surgery at Children's National Medical Center, where he also serves as the Principal Investigator in the Children's Research Institute and the Center for Cancer and Immunology Research (CCIR). Sandler is also a professor of surgery and pediatrics at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Barry Sandler (born 1947), American screenwriter and film producer

Bernice Sandler (born 1928) is an American women's rights activist.

Boris Sandler (born 1950), Yiddish-language author and journalist

Ethan Sandler (born 1973), American actor

Herbert Sandler, American banker

Karen Sandler is the executive director of the Software Freedom Conservancy, former executive director of the GNOME Foundation, an attorney, and former general counsel of the Software Freedom Law Center.

Irving Sandler (born July 22, 1925) is an American art critic, art historian, and educator.

Jackie Sandler (born 1974), American actress and wife of Adam Sandler

Jonathan Sandler (1982–2012), French rabbi assassinated on March 19th, 2012 with his two sons during the 2012 Midi-Pyrénées shootings in Toulouse

Joseph Sandler (born 1953), Washington, D.C. attorney

Joseph J. Sandler (1927-1998), British psychoanalyst, President of the International Psychoanalytical Association from 1989 to 1993

Karen Sandler, attorney

Larry Sandler, American geneticist

Lowenstein Sandler is an AmLaw 200 corporate law firm with offices in New York, Palo Alto, Washington, D.C., and Roseland, NJ. In 2011, the firm was ranked 168th largest in the United States in terms of attorney headcount by the National Law Journal, and 136th in profit per attorney by the AmLaw 200 survey (June 2011).

Marion Sandler (October 17, 1930 – June 1, 2012) was the former co-CEO (with her husband Herbert Sandler) of Golden West Financial Corporation and World Savings Bank.

Örjan Sandler (born 28 September 1940) is a Swedish speed skater who competed in five Winter Olympics between 1964 and 1980.

Paul Mark Sandler is a Maryland trial lawyer and author of numerous books on trial advocacy and litigation.

Philippe Sandler, Dutch footballer

Rickard Sandler (1884–1964), Prime Minister of Sweden (1925–1926)

Ron Sandler, British banker

Steven Sandler (born December 26, 1958) is an American inventor and businessman.

Tony Sandler (born 1933), Belgian singer, entertainer and performer

Software Freedom Law Center

The Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) is an organization that provides pro bono legal representation and related services to not-for-profit developers of free software/open source software. It was launched in February 2005 with Eben Moglen as chairman. Initial funding of US$4 million was pledged by Open Source Development Labs.

A news article stated:

Moglen expects – in fact, plans for – a large turnover in the staff. After five years, he anticipates 20 to 30 lawyers will have passed through the Center. By the time these alumni move on, Moglen hopes that its members will have the expertise to advise both communities and corporations alike. It will also create a loose association whose members can consult with each other as necessary.

Software in the Public Interest

Software in the Public Interest, Inc. (SPI) is a US 501(c)(3) non-profit organization formed to help other organizations create and distribute free/open-source software and open-source hardware. Anyone is eligible to apply for membership, and contributing membership is available to those who participate in the free software community.

SPI was originally created to allow the Debian Project to accept donations. It now acts as a fiscal sponsor to many free and open source projects.

SPI has hosted Wikimedia Foundation board elections and audited the tally as a neutral third party from 2007–2011.

Sugar Labs

Sugar Labs is a community-run software project whose mission is to produce, distribute, and support the use of Sugar, an open source desktop environment and learning platform. Sugar Labs is a member of the Software Freedom Conservancy, an umbrella organization for free software (FLOSS) projects.About every six months, the Sugar Labs community releases a new version of the Sugar software. The most recent stable release is Version 0.108. Release Candidate Sucrose 0.110, an unstable release, is also available for testing.

The Sugar Labs community participates in events for teachers, students, and software developers interested in the Sugar software, such as the Montevideo Youth Summit and Turtle Art Day.Sugar Labs also participates in Google Code-in, which serves as an outlet for young programmers.

Yorba Foundation

Yorba Foundation was a non-profit software group based in San Francisco, and founded by Adam Dingle wanting to bring first class software to the open source community. This organization has been created to answer people thinking open source brings hard to use, clunky and low-quality software usable only by hackers.

The company was made of 5 employees: Jim Nelson (coder and executive director), Adam Dingle (founder), Charles Lindsay, Eric Gregory and Nate Lillich (software engineers).

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