Thursday Dec 20, 2007

Talking with Mako - The FSF's newest board member

At the end of day two of FOSS camp in Cambridge, I was able to grab some time with Benjamin Mako Hill.  I had blogged about Mako's appointment to the board of the Free Software Foundation back in July but this was the first time that I really got to meet him.  He's quite an amiable guy and very enthusiastic about what he's involved with (it definitely comes through in the interview).  Check it out:

My interview with Mako (10:25)  Listen (Mp3)    Listen (ogg)
 

 
Nothing says "passion" like a well stickered laptop. 

Who is Mako?

Some of the topics we tackle

  • The process of getting accepted onto the board of the FSF
  • The daunting task of trying to fill Eben Moglen's shoes
  • What it means to be the first board member from the post "GNU generation"
  • Being the software guy on the One Laptop Per Child project
  • Having been a rebel with too many causes
  • The open source/free software "schism"
  • UNIX jokes at a cappella shows

 

Since there is a good chance this will be my last entry of the year, I would like to wish everyone happy holidays and a hau'oli makahiki hou!


Pau for now...

Wednesday Jul 18, 2007

The FSF Board: The Next Generation

I was chatting with Peter Brown of the FSF last week and found out that I had missed the news about Benjamin Mako Hill's appointment to the FSF board.  I think this is fantastic news.  While very impressive, the FSF board is not as diverse as it could be and Mako's appointment to the spot left vacant by Eben Moglen will add diversity along the axis of age.  

At the ripe old of age of 26 Mako brings a different perspective to Software Freedom.  As discussed in feature last week on Linux.com:

...Hill says that, in many ways, he represents the second generation of free software activists. He suggests that the first generation of activists, such as Richard Stallman, were motivated by their dream of a free operating system. People of Hill's generation share that goal, but view it differently, because they have grown up with free operating systems. As a result, Hill says, "The things that interest me are not flexing the technical muscle, although that's important. It's more defending freedom, helping to make the tough calls about how the FSF protects freedom. We've succeeded to a massive degree -- not entirely, but hugely -- and I think it's important to start thinking about how we're going to move from here."

He also talked about the shift in  the potential audience for the free software message.

"It used to be that software freedom was something most important to hackers, because they were the ones who were most impacted." But now, with the majority of people in industrialized worlds using computers or computerized devices throughout their day, the audience has grown vastly larger, and so has what is at stake.

While Mako's background is in civil rights, he was fundamental in the formation of Ubuntu, currently serving on the community council as well as being the first author of "The Official Ubuntu Book" which he co-authored.  And speaking of books he was also first author of the "Debian GNU/Linux 3.x Bible" which he also co-authored and is a key member of the Debian community.  In fact, it was at Debconf7 last month that I briefly met him.

So a big congratulations to Benjamin Mako Hill,  I hope I get the chance to work with you soon.

Pau for now... 


About

I look after Sun's relationships with the various GNU/Linux communities as well as our relationship with the FSF. Last year, my family and I emigrated from Silicon Valley to Austin, TX.

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