Presented by

  • Bradley M. Kuhn

    Bradley M. Kuhn

    Bradley M. Kuhn is the Policy Fellow and Hacker-in-Residence at Software Freedom Conservancy and editor-in-chief of Kuhn began his work in the software freedom movement as a volunteer in 1992, as an early adopter of Linux-based systems and contributor to various Free Software projects, including Perl. He worked during the 1990s as a system administrator and software developer for various companies, and taught AP Computer Science at Walnut Hills High School in Cincinnati. Kuhn’s non-profit career began in 2000, when he was hired by the Free Software Foundation (FSF). As FSF’s Executive Director from 2001–2005, Kuhn led FSF’s GPL enforcement, launched its Associate Member program, and invented the Affero GPL. Kuhn began as Conservancy’s primary volunteer from 2006–2010, and became its first staff person in 2011. Kuhn holds a summa cum laude B.S. in Computer Science from Loyola University in Maryland, and an M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Cincinnati. Kuhn’s Master’s thesis discussed methods for dynamic interoperability of Free Software programming languages. Kuhn received the O’Reilly Open Source Award in 2012, in recognition for his lifelong policy work on copyleft licensing. Kuhn has a blog and co-hosts the audcast, Free as in Freedom.


Linux is undoubtedly and unequivocally in the hands of more users every day than any of imagined. Like most successes, we reached this outcome in a manner and form that no one anticipated: the most popular use of Linux is in devices that were once appliances and are now more capable general-purpose computers than the first machines where Linux booted. The incumbent power structure of industries that control these appliances (now, computers) did anticipate how to thwart copyleft and software freedom. We must respond with a comprehensive, strategic plan that prioritizes the software freedom of the individual users who own these devices. This talk presents Conservancy's plan for success to defend and uphold copyleft and restore software freedom on the Linux-based devices that we use every day. This work has never been easy, but is even more challenging that we face a savvy for-profit industry that would prefer users not have the right to modify and install the software on their devices.