FSF appoints program manager Kooyman as executive director

Zoë Kooyman: “I want to learn from the community, and I will focus on building relationships and strengthening the free software movement together.”


The Free Software Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting user freedom, has named Zoë Kooyman as its executive director.

Kooyman, 38, joined the organization as a program manager in early 2019. The FSF said in A declaration she had a diverse background as an “experienced international project manager and event producer with demonstrated skills in successfully organizing and executing technology and social justice initiatives”.

She succeeds John Sullivan who resigned last March, after 18 years on the job, his exit coming at a time when the organization was mired in a controversy over allowing its founder, Richard Stallman, to return to the board.

When Stallman was reinstated, a campaign was spear to try to get him expelled again; his supporters rallied try to cancel this initiative.

There was a debate on the Linux Weekly News website about Kooyman’s appointment, with a subscriber affirming that it was a continuation of the “hostile takeover of the Free Software Foundation by social justice warriors”.

When someone asked for the context of this claim, LWN editor Jonathan Corbet was not inclined to let the discussion continue, assignment“Actually, please don’t explain that; I don’t see much good in a thread that starts like that.”

Following his appointment, Kooyman said, “I appreciate the support of the board and staff, and I’m excited to work with them, FSF associate members, and the wider free software community to make advancing the FSF’s commitment to user autonomy, freedom and empowerment.

“As technology continues to evolve and our lives become increasingly dependent on software, software freedom is more relevant than ever to computer users and to society as a whole.”

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