Position statement for Robert Brockway

My name is Robert Brockway and I'm seeking election to the board of Software in the Public Interest. I have been a Linux user and open source advocate since 1994 and a contributing member of SPI since 2004. Professionally I am a system administrator and architect. In the past I have worked in private enterprise, a financial institution, a university and I have contracted to state and provincial governments in two countries. As a result I have had a wide exposure to the different environments in which open source software lives today and I have a good understanding of the different challenges it faces in those environments. I currently work at the Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre where I hold the position of Senior Systems Architect.

I am dedicated to the ideals of open source software as I believe they are essential components of a just and safe world in the future. With our society so dependent on computers and the information held within them, open source and open standards become necessary tool in the defence of democracy and freedom. Over the last 17 years I have endeavoured to educate IT and non-IT people alike about open source, open standards and why they are important. I have given many public talks over the years on Linux and open source and always try to incorporate aspects of the philosophy of open source in to these events.

In 1995 I founded the Home Unix Machine - Brisbane User Group (http://www.humbug.org.au) in Brisbane, Australia to support the use of (predominantly open source) Unix in the home. I served on the executive of HUMBUG for the first 4.5 years and have remained involved with the club for its entire life. In the last 17 years I have donated thousands of hours of my time in support of open source software, answering technical questions on mailing lists and on IRC and I have also assisted many times in projects such as Software Freedom Day. I was also the talks-coordinator for the Greater Toronto Area Linux User Group (http://gtalug.org) for approximately 4 years. I remain actively involved with GTALUG.

There is a debate within SPI about whether it should more actively advocate on behalf of open source software. I firmly believe that it should. If elected I will work towards raising the profile of SPI both within the open source community and in the wider community. This can be done through public talks and direct connections with other organisations. SPI has been a successful organisation to date but it's aims have been limited. I propose to broaden those aims for the benefit of the entire open source community.

I previously proposed to the board that SPI should become a United Nations Non-Governmental Organisation (UN NGO) as this would allow us to advocate on behalf of open source to governments at the highest level. This was not taken up by the board at the time. If elected, and the board agrees, I will arrange for a plebiscite of the contributing members. If the plebiscite shows more than 50% of the contributing membership are in favour, I will commence the process to have SPI established as a UN NGO.

I look forward to having an opportunity to serve on the SPI board. I believe that with my passion for and knowledge of open source software and my life experience I can make a positive contribution to SPI. I can be found on the OFTC and Freenode IRC networks as Solver.