Software Freedom Conservancy

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Software Freedom Conservancy
Logo: drawing of a tree whose upper branches include a tree data structure
Founded April 7, 2006; 10 years ago (2006-04-07)
Type 501(c)(3)
Fields Software
Key people
Karen Sandler (Executive Director)
Bradley M. Kuhn (President)

The Software Freedom Conservancy is an organization that provides a non-profit home and infrastructure for free/open source software projects,[1][2] established in 2006.[3][4]


Conservancy was established in 2006.[3][4]

In 2007 Conservancy started coordinated GPL compliance and enforcement actions, primarily for the BusyBox project,[5] see BusyBox GPL lawsuits. Later, the BusyBox maintainer Rob Landley who initially supported these lawsuits, regretted his decision and criticized the suing practice of the SFC.[6][7][8]

In October 2010, Conservancy hired its first Executive Director, Bradley M. Kuhn[9] and a year later, its first General Counsel, Tony Sebro.[10] In May 2012, Conservancy took on GPL compliance and enforcement for several other member projects, and for a number of individual Linux kernel developers.[11][12] In March 2014, Conservancy appointed Karen Sandler as its Executive Director, with Bradley M. Kuhn taking on the role as Distinguished Technologist.[13][14]

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.[15]

As of July 2015, Conservancy had 30 member projects, including QEMU, Boost, BusyBox, Git, Inkscape, Samba, Sugar Labs and Wine.[16]

On May 10, 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.[17][18]

Member projects[edit]

As of June 2016 the following 43 projects are members of the Software Freedom Conservancy:[16]


As of January 2016, Conservancy's directors are:[25][26]

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.[27]

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.[28][29] VMware stated that it believed the case was without merit and expressed disappointment that Conservancy had resorted to litigation.[30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Overview - Software Freedom Conservancy". Retrieved 2015-02-02. 
  2. ^ Schwartz, Randal; Lynch, Dan (22 June 2011). "FLOSS Weekly 171: Software Freedom Conservancy". TWiT LLC. 
  3. ^ a b ScuttleMonkey (2006-04-03). "New Conservancy Offers Gratis Services to FOSS". Slashdot. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  4. ^ a b "Mozilla Grants: Software Freedom Conservancy". Mozilla Foundation. Retrieved 20 August 2011. 
  5. ^ Simon Phipps (2012-06-01). "Why the GPL licensing cops are the good guys". Infoworld. Retrieved 2012-06-03. 
  6. ^ "Garrett: The ongoing fight against GPL enforcement". 2012-01-31. Retrieved 2014-03-04. As the ex-maintainer of busybox who STARTED those lawsuits in the first place and now HUGELY REGRETS ever having done so, I think I'm entitled to stop the lawsuits in whatever way I see fit. They never resulted in a single line of code added to the busybox repository. They HAVE resulted in more than one company exiting Linux development entirely and switching to non-Linux operating systems for their embedded products, and they're a big part of the reason behind Android's "No GPL in userspace" policy. 
  7. ^ Proffitt, Brian (2012-02-02). "GPL enforcement sparks community flames - Throwing the GPL baby out with the enforcement bath water?". ITworld. Retrieved 2015-03-04. 
  8. ^ Landley, Rob (2012-01-31). "The ongoing fight against GPL enforcement". Retrieved 2015-03-04. THIS is why I'm trying to stop busybox from being used as a bludgeon against the world at large. The SFLC sued an awful lot of companies that never got source from their upstream vendor, and COULDN'T do so five years later 
  9. ^ "Software Freedom Conservancy Appoints Full-Time Executive Director". 4 October 2010. 
  10. ^ "Tony Sebro Joins Conservancy as General Counsel". 2011-09-30. Retrieved 2011-10-07. 
  11. ^ Brian Proffitt (2012-05-29). "Linux kernel devs, Samba join GPL compliance effort". IT World. Retrieved 2012-05-30. 
  12. ^ "Conservancy Projects Launch Coordinated Free Software Compliance Efforts". Software Freedom Conservancy. 2012-05-29. Retrieved 2012-05-30. 
  13. ^ "Karen Sandler joins Conservancy's Management Team". 2014-03-31. Retrieved 2014-04-17. 
  14. ^ Bhati, Monika (2014-04-01). "Karen Sandler resigns as GNOME Foundation's executive director". Muktware. Retrieved 2014-04-17. 
  15. ^ "Outreach Program to Join Conservancy from GNOME; Program Renames to Outreachy". Software Freedom Conservancy. 4 February 2015. Retrieved 5 March 2015. 
  16. ^ a b "Current Member Projects - Software Freedom Conservancy". Retrieved 2015-02-02. 
  17. ^ "Yorba Assigns Shotwell and Geary Copyrights to Software Freedom Conservancy". 2016-05-10. Retrieved 2015-11-17. 
  18. ^ "Re: Yorba status - Geary article". June 26, 2016. Retrieved 5 July 2016. 
  19. ^ Brockmeier, Joe 'Zonker' (16 June 2011). "Evergreen Joins the Software Freedom Conservancy". 
  20. ^ Brockmeier, Joe (18 January 2011). "Software Freedom Conservancy adds 25th member project: Things looking bright for Conservancy". Network World. IDG Communications, Inc. 
  21. ^ Brockmeier, Joe (18 January 2011). "Software Freedom Conservancy adds 25th member project". Dissociated Press. 
  22. ^ "Git and The Software Freedom Conservancy". Git. Retrieved 20 August 2011. 
  23. ^ "Godot Joins Software Freedom Conservancy". Retrieved 2015-12-22. 
  24. ^ "Metalink Joins the Software Freedom Conservancy". Retrieved 2013-02-27. 
  25. ^ "Directors: Software Freedom Conservancy". Retrieved 2015-03-06. 
  26. ^ "Officers - Software Freedom Conservancy". Retrieved 2015-03-06. 
  27. ^ "Conservancy Receives Default Judgment For BusyBox GPL Enforcement". Software Freedom Conservancy. Retrieved 8 March 2015. 
  28. ^ "Conservancy Announces Funding for GPL Compliance Lawsuit". Software Freedom Conservancy. Retrieved 7 March 2015. 
  29. ^ Phipps, Simon (5 March 2015). "VMware heads to court over GPL violations". InfoWorld. Retrieved 8 March 2015. 
  30. ^ "VMware Update to Mr. Hellwig's Legal Proceedings". VMware. Retrieved 11 March 2015. 

External links[edit]