Presented by

  • Karen Sandler

    Karen Sandler

    Karen M. Sandler is the executive director of the Software Freedom Conservancy, which is the nonprofit home of almost 50 projects, including Git, Samba, QEMU, Selenium and Inkscape (to name a few). She is known as a cyborg lawyer for her advocacy for free software as a life-or-death issue, particularly in relation to the software on medical devices. Prior to joining Conservancy, she was the executive director of the GNOME Foundation. Before that, she was the general counsel of the Software Freedom Law Center. Karen co-organizes Outreachy, the award-winning outreach program for people who face under-representation, systemic bias, or discrimination in tech . Karen is an adjunct Lecturer-In-Law at Columbia Law School and a Visiting Scholar at UC Santa Cruz. She is the recipient of the Free Software Foundation's 2017 Award for the Advancement of Free Software as well as an O'Reilly Open Source Award.


Being involved with free and open source software teaches us that no one and nothing is perfect. Everything can be improved. Even fundamental assumptions should be revisited over time to make sure that they are still valid in light of current circumstances and new information. This talk will explore the speaker's confessions of her past views and full turn around on a variety of issues from diversity to software licensing, including the journey from being someone opposed diversity initiatives to actually running one. By understanding that the issues in our field are complicated and that we may not have all of the facts on a given situation our co-contributors who seem to have wrongheaded ideas may be well intentioned, we can make our software and our communities stronger.