Loïc Dachary

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Loïc Dachary
Loïc Dachary - Journée de l'Informatique Libre - Toulon - 15 janvier 2011 - P1600699.jpg
OccupationFree software developer

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.


Dachary started as a C and Lisp developer in 1986. In 1987, he was hired to teach Unix and programming at Axis. In 1988, Lectra launched a 68k based hardware, and Dachary led a Unix System V port using the GNU Compiler Collection. When the project was completed, he took a sabbatical in 1989 to create the GNA, a non-profit group for the development and distribution of free software. Dachary went back to development for Tic Tac Toon and Agence France-Presse (AFP), where he learned C++.

In 1995, he founded the Ecila search engine, which was acquired by Tiscali and discontinued in 2001.[1] After two years dedicated to the FSF France, Dachary worked for INRIA on RFID software in 2003.[2] Starting with Mekensleep in 2004, Dachary wrote poker-related free software, which was published as part of the PokerSource project. In 2007 he was hired by OutFlop, a startup that specialized in poker software services based on PokerSource.[3] In 2011 he became a Free Software freelancer and worked on XiVO.[4][5]

In January 2012, Loïc became involved in OpenStack and worked as a Ceph developer. Since 2017 he is working on the SecureDrop project as a full-time volunteer.

Non-profit career[edit]


When he was employed by Axis in 1987, Dachary offered copies of free software on magnetic tapes, such as Emacs or the GNU Compiler Collection. The Internet was difficult to access at the time, and he became a distributor of software. After working on the Lectra project, Dachary created the GNA (Gna's Not Axis) non-profit organization in 1989.

Although the original goal of GNA was to develop free software, it started as a news and mail provider.[6] The connectivity to the news and mail provider in Washington, D.C. was provided by Agence France-Presse (AFP) over a half-used satellite link. In 1990, GNA provided mail and news feeds to over 200 non-profit organizations, individuals, and companies.

GNA kept distributing free software on magnetic tapes. Compiling from the sources was difficult, and Dachary packaged pre-compiled binaries for the Motorola 68000 family, x86 and SPARC. He left tapes at his computer book store, Le Monde en "tique,"[7] who sold them to his customers.

Richard Stallman occasionally visited France and met Dachary when he started to spread free software. During his year at GNA, Dachary took advantage of Stallman's presence in France to organize conferences at École nationale supérieure d'arts et métiers, Paris 8 University and his former school École Pour l'Informatique et les Techniques Avancées.


In 1990, Dachary took a secondary role in GNA as his friend Hugues Lafarge became president. In 1996, he met with the founders of April, a French Free Software NGO, to whom he donated their first server, hosted at Ecila's[1] office.


Dachary returned to a more active role in non-profit work in 2000, when he wrote the code for the newly created SourceForge platform. In an attempt to understand the project dynamics, he traveled to VA Linux offices and met with Eric Raymond and Tim Perdue, but felt the team was too focused on in-house interactions to welcome an external contributor. However, he became familiar with the published code base, and when VA Linux started to use proprietary software, he created an alternative platform using the latest free software code base published: GNU Savannah. In early 2001, Dachary secured the funds to buy hardware for the Free Software Foundation offices and moved to Boston to install them.[8] In late 2001, when VA Linux asked him to assign copyright for his contributions, Dachary published an article explaining why it was time to move away from SourceForge.[9] In 2002, Dachary gradually delegated his responsibilities to GNU Savannah contributors and Free Software Foundation staff and retired in 2003.

Copyleft compliance[edit]

In 2001, the Free Software Foundation established a presence in Europe, and Dachary took part in the process by creating FSF France (reusing the publication number 20010027 initially given to GNA in the French Journal Officiel) and serving as the first vice president of FSF Europe. In addition to supporting the growth of GNU Savannah, FSF France assisted French developers and companies with GPL compliance. With Bradley M. Kuhn, executive director of the Free Software Foundation at the time, Dachary worked the first contract of the new GPL Compliance Labs for a French governmental agency. His ongoing interest in enforcing Copyleft licenses led to a few visible outcomes, such as the publication of C&CS by Orange[10] and SFR,[11] and the court case involving Free,[12] but most of it is kept confidential. In 2009, Dachary joined the Software Freedom Conservancy board of directors for a few years.[13]


In late 2002, Dachary became concerned by the lack of protest against the European Copyright Directive that was about to be transposed into French law. Instead of acting in the name of FSF France and because the problems were not limited to free software, he launched the EUCD.INFO initiative.[14][15] After six months of full-time lobbying, he hired Christophe Espern to work for FSF France and delegated his responsibilities. Dachary has not played an active role since, although he keeps in touch through his friend Jérémie Zimmermann, Christophe Espern's successor, co-founder, and spokesperson of La Quadrature du Net.

GNA! and hosting[edit]

In late 2003, the GNU Savannah compromise[16] created tensions in the governance. In early 2004, Dachary worked with Mathieu Roy to set up GNA![17] using the same policy and software, but with a different decisional process.[18] In 2010, the maintainers of Savannah and GNA! overlapped and worked as a network administrator for both.

Although centralized forges such as GNA! are popular, Dachary has recently gradually transgressed towards distributed hosting. He collects machines and hosting facilities under the umbrella of FSF France and runs OpenStack based clusters on them. Dachary helps projects such as the GNU Compiler Collection and Software Freedom Conservancy by providing and maintaining machines on this infrastructure. In late 2008, he created an amateur datacenter (codename microdtc34) in a seven-square-meter room in the center of Paris with Laurent Guerby, who was in the process of creating the tetaneutral.net, a non-profit ISP.


Dachary was appointed an honorary member of the April association.[19] On the behalf of April he participated in the commission spécialisée de terminologie et de néologie de l'informatique et des composants électroniques from 2006 to 2009,[20] primarily to discuss the definition of "free software".[21]

Upstream University[edit]

Shortly after the April 2012 OpenStack summit, Dachary founded Upstream University[22] to train developers to become better Free Software contributors.


  1. ^ a b Philippe Crouzillacq (9 April 2001). "Panne de moteur pour Ecila". 01net. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
  2. ^ Dachary. "librfid". Retrieved 2009-11-21.
  3. ^ "OutFlop". Archived from the original on 7 July 2011. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
  4. ^ Dachary. "First blog entry describing the work done on XiVO packaging". Retrieved 2016-06-26.
  5. ^ "Loic Dachary - Proformatique". XiVO project. Archived from the original on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
  6. ^ FAQ. "UUCP map for u.fra.100".
  7. ^ "Le Monde en "tique"".
  8. ^ "Savannah hardware installation".
  9. ^ "SourceForge drifting - FSFE". FSFE - Free Software Foundation Europe. Retrieved 2021-01-17.
  10. ^ "Livebox Free/Libre & Open Source Software". Archived from the original on 2014-08-31. Retrieved 2010-11-05.
  11. ^ "neufbox sources". Archived from the original on 2010-04-24.
  12. ^ "A GPL compliance case against Iliad".
  13. ^ "Directors". Software Freedom Conservancy web site. Retrieved 11 July 2016.
  14. ^ "Loïc Dachary (EUCD.INFO) : " Il ne faut pas confondre la copie privée avec l'acte illicite de la contrefaçon "" (in French). 01Net. 2003-01-20. Retrieved 2010-11-06.
  15. ^ "EUCD.INFO Initiative".
  16. ^ Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier. "The Savannah Compromise - what really happened?".
  17. ^ Mathieu Roy. "Gna!, a new host for Libre Software development".
  18. ^ Mathieu Roy. "the Gna! Project : Our Constitution". Archived from the original on 2017-03-01.
  19. ^ "Membre d'honneur de l'April".
  20. ^ "Arrêté du 14 mars 2006 portant nomination à la commission spécialisée de terminologie et de néologie de l'informatique et des composants électroniques".
  21. ^ "Vocabulaire de l'informatique (liste de termes, expressions et définitions adoptés) NOR: CTNX0710138K".
  22. ^ "Upstream University talk at the April 2013 OpenStack summit".

External links[edit]