Episode 207

FOSSY 2023 with Karen Sandler


November 10th, 2023

16 mins 47 secs

Your Host
Special Guest

About this Episode


Karen Sandler


Richard Littauer

Show Notes

Hello and welcome to Sustain! Richard is in Portland at FOSSY, the Free and Open Source Software Yearly conference that is held by the Software Freedom Conservancy.

In this episode, Richard is joined by Karen Sandler, Executive Director at Software Freedom Conservancy. Today, they discuss the various aspects of organizing a conference, emphasizing ethical considerations, precautions taken, software freedom, community involvement, GNOME pronunciation, and highlight community contributions and the balance between using open source and proprietary software. They explore topics like DRM, exemptions, coordination on renewals, the challenge of “trafficking provision,” and the global influence of U.S. law. Hit download now to hear more!

[00:00:35] Karen discusses the challenges of organizing the conference but praises her staff.

[00:01:18] Richard and Karen discuss conference inspiration, focus on software freedom, and avoiding corporate noise. There’s an overview of talks and speakers, and a discussion on the correct pronunciation of “GNOME.”

[00:03:46] Karen mentions attending the keynote session, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and reflects on the complexity of organizing with ethical considerations.

[00:04:22] Richard asks Karen if there’s any controversies she’s had to weather at the conference, and she talks about COVID precautions, collaboration with charities, ethical practices in organizing, and how high school students have contributed to the event’s success.

[00:06:53] Richard questions Karen about the balance between using open source and proprietary software for practicality. Karen emphasizes the need for thoughtful decisions about using proprietary software, reflecting on the realistic choices to ensure software freedom.

[00:09:14] Karen mentions having a nice coffee chat session with Kyle Wiens, and working together on 1201 materials, referring to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). She further discusses about how the 1201 provision affects people.

[00:11:27] The conversation takes a shift to discussing the trafficking term. They begin discussing potential legislation and the frustrations around applying for limited exemptions.

[00:12:28] Richard questions why they focus so much on U.S. law instead of working in a country without restrictive laws. Karen explains the global impact of the U.S. law and how other countries often follow suit.

[00:14:15] They discuss the lobbying impact of big companies and how they can influence laws even in small countries. Also, Karen shares being grateful for the ability to criticize and work within the system, the idea of working in another place, and the need for a global movement.

[00:15:25] Find out where you can learn more about Software Freedom Conservancy and Karen.



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