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Open Source

Open Source (also known as Free Software) has been a major part of my life since I was 16. When starting my first business a year later, I was shocked by how restricted, anti-competitive and anti-consumer the computer hardware and software industries had become. I realised what a damaging effect this had had on the world; how human education, healthcare, and communication had suffered at its hands. Slowly I became aware of the existence of the enormous Free Software ecosystem, and determined to teach myself the skills necessary both to utilise, and contribute back to the global software commons.

Initially I self-taught myself programming skills in order to better serve the community of which I had become an active part. After graduating in philosophy I was attracted by the mental challenges of software programming, and became a Free Software Web Developer at an internet marketing company in Norwich. According to the company Director my enthusiasm for Free Software won me the job. I have continued to work as a developer in order to keep my skills sharp, and practice what I have come to enjoy as an empowering and rewarding occupation.

From the beginning it has been the political nature of Free Software that draws me to it however. As a young idealist I was amazed and depressed by the lack of cooperation between human beings in so many areas of our endeavors. The discovery of the global Free Software community and its legal, ethical, social and technical framework for lasting cooperation and excellence was like finding a thread in human history which felt natural and urgently needed, and which I feared had been lost.

Both my parents dedicated their lives to public service. My father pioneered new standards in public healthcare over a medical career spanning six decades, and I have inherited a strong motivation to work for the public good, and a belief in investment in shared community resources. These feelings drive me to continue to advocate Free Software to all members of society, wherever they may be.

After meeting members of the Free Software Foundation Europe at the Free Society Conference in Sweden, I became an active volunteer, creating leaflets and graphics, and becoming the organisation’s first Editorial Team Coordinator. A year later I was working full time in FSFE’s Berlin office. I then moved back to the UK on a mission to improve Britain’s historically poor relationship with Free Software. I set up a new FSFE office in Manchester in February 2011, and served as the UK Coordinator for nearly two years. In Autumn 2012 I made my focus more international and took the role of FSFE’s Campaign Manager.

Though I’ve occupied many roles since then, Open Source has remained my core motivator and primary occupation.