Last modified by Faidon Liambotis on 2018/03/05 04:12

About me

Faidon Liambotis

My name is Faidon Liambotis. I've been a free/open-source software volunteer for more than a decade now, and I've been privileged enough to be able to be employed full-time to contribute to open-source and to the wider free culture movement.

I've been an individual contributor and member of the Debian project since 2006, and have been working for the Wikimedia Foundation (the 501(c)3 non-profit behind Wikipedia and affiliated projects) since 2012, currently as a Director of Site Reliability Engineering.

I grew up and still reside in Athens, Greece.


Being new to the board, if I were to be elected, my first priority would be to get myself accustomed to the existing organizational priorities, as well as the challenges that the board, and the organization as a whole, face (in order words: listen first). This would be continuation of numerous conversations with current and past directors of the board that I've had over the past year, in an effort to understand better the organization's priorities and challenges.

With that said, between all those conversations, as well as the various agendas of candidates across years, a few recurring themes crop up. The most common deliberation seems to be: should the organization remain passive, stewarding the essential principles of open source (maintaining the OSD and OSI-approved licenses) or should it do more? More specifically, should the organization:

  • Embark into brand protection, e.g. with trademarks?
  • Steer conversations about business models and the financial future of open source?
  • Spread awareness by engaging into advocacy and education?
  • Attempt to define culture norms for the wider open-source community and guide communities into building inclusive environments for contributors?
  • Participate in outreach initiatives?
  • (By extension of many of the above) work in bringing a new and more diverse generation of contributors?
  • etc.

My belief is that these are not questions that can be answered ad-hoc, be voted on in individual agendas (often conflicting with each other) or be implemented as short-term initiatives. I think the recurrence of these questions over many years are symptomatic of a lack of a commonly agreed, well-defined mission and clear vision for the organization's long-term future, and the impact that it should have in this world.

Rather than prioritize tactical planning, such as e.g. the growth of its membership base, I believe that the organization right now needs a clear vision and a coherent strategy. In other words and in my opinion, the organization right now should focus on what it wants to accomplish in the long run, before it focuses on how it should accomplish that on an annual basis.

As a board director, my intention would be to make it a priority for the board to formulate such a strategy, and do so by building consensus within the board, but also among its members and its like-minded organizations in the broader free/open-source software movement. Past that, the focus would be on tactical steps to implement that strategy, while transparently communicating its goals and progress towards those goals at a regular cadence.

All in all, as OSI ventures in its third decade, I believe it needs to (re)define itself, take advantage of its potential, leverage all of the resources that it has at its disposal (brand, members, funds etc.) and maximize its impact.


Feel free to reach out to me with your thoughts; you can find me lurking on IRC (freenode, OFTC) as paravoid, or over e-mail, Twitter and LinkedIn. Thank you for considering me for the board!


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