Long-term Infrastructure for Individual Linux Contributions

This proposal has been rejected.


One Line Summary

What happens to someone's copyrights when they die and should we care?


Many developers are aging and as with any large group of people, we must plan for the sad but inevitable loss of contributors. This presentation will examine the implications of this transition, like:

  • What happens to someone’s copyrights when they die?
  • What if they don’t have a will?
  • What if they do?
  • Are there options?
  • What are the challenges the free software project will face as contributors die?
  • How do we keep track of everything as time passes?

After many years of struggling with solutions to these problems, Karen will propose possible mechanisms we can put in place (with suprising ancillary advantages) and discuss pragmatic next steps, which can only be explored with substantial input from the community.


  • Kms4

    Karen Sandler

    Software Freedom Conservancy


    Karen M. Sandler is Executive Director of the Software Freedom Conservancy, the nonprofit home of dozens of essential free software projects, including the GPL Compliance Project for Linux Kernel Developers. She is known for her advocacy for free and open source software, particularly in relation to the software on medical devices. She was previously the Executive Director of the GNOME Foundation. Karen co-organizes Outreachy (formerly Outreach Program for Women). She received an O’Reilly Open Source Award and is co-host of the oggcast “Free and in Freedom”. Karen is a lawyer, admitted to practice in the state of New York.

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