John Sullivan, Executive Director Of The Free Software Foundation, Has Resigned

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John Sullivan, up to now executive director of the Free Software Foundation, as resigned from his position after being with the FSF in various positions for 18 years. There is no formal announcement on the FSF website as of yet, only a message announcing the resignation on Sullivan's personal Twitter account.

written by 林慧 (Wai Lin) 2021-03-29 - last edited 2021-03-30. © CC BY

John Sullivan.jpg
John Sullivan

Sullivans resignation comes at a time where 3600+ people have signed an open letter asking the Free Software Foundation to have honorary doctor Richard Stallman on its board, while another less popular vicious hate-letter signed by multiple technology corporations, puppet organizations they fund and people they employ directly, or by proxy, demand that Stallman is kept out of any and all leadership positions. It is not an easy time to be executive director of the FSF.

Sullivan made this brief announcement on his Twitter account on March 29th, 2021:

"After 18 years with the Free Software Foundation, I've decided to resign my position as executive director, effective at the end of a transition period.

We'll be sharing further details, including information about that transition, and a few more words, in the coming days.

It's been a humbling honor to serve this institution, and to work alongside the FSF's staff, members, and volunteers over the years. The current staff deserve your full confidence and support -- they certainly have mine."

John Sullivan on Twitter, March 29th, 2021

The resignation comes four days after FSF board member Kat Walsh announced her resignation. She had this to say when she resigned:

"I am announcing my resignation from the FSF board. (Effective end of Thursday, for administrative reasons.) It's a decision that has been a long time coming for me, but still a hard one: I think the work of the FSF is important, and broken things are the most important to fix.

I have put effort into making it better (but not enough), and I regret leaving; it's an admission that I don't believe I am currently the right person to do that. I'm glad for what I was able to do, and regret my own failings in what I wasn't.

I wish the organization well; my departure is not a rejection of the ideas of free software, only a belief that my role in the organization was no longer the best way to put them forward into the world."

Kat Walsh on Twitter, March 25th, 2021

FSF is also taking on new board members. FSF president Geoffrey Knauth announced that senior systems administrator Ian Kelling has joined FSF's board on March 28th.

It sounds like the FSF has already decided who will take his place executive director given the reference to a "transition". Who that would be is unknown until the FSF makes an announcement.

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