Category: Technology

These posts focus towards technical audiences. They are broadly about technology, such as how-to articles or an overview of Linux packaging. Some articles are related to culture and contemporary issues in the technology industry.

Introducing UNICEF Open Source Mentorship

2020 saw the launch of a formalized Open Source Mentorship programme for the UNICEF Innovation Fund, built up on two years of work from RIT LibreCorps expertise and consulting.

The Open Source Mentorship programme includes five modules about Open Source intellectual property and communities delivered across twelve months. UNICEF grantees are matched with an experienced Open Source Mentor to guide them through the modules. The mentorship takes an interactive, guided approach to understanding the unique context that each team and product exist within. The assigned Open Source Mentor provides specialized advice and training:

  • Tailored feedback based on business models
  • Existing local user communities
  • Best practices for collaborating together with others on similar challenges.

The geographic diversity in the UNICEF Open Source Mentorship programme is unusual for technology incubators or accelerator programs. All funded projects come from UNICEF programme countries. The UNICEF Innovation Fund provides equity-free funding for Open Source solutions from local innovators and entrepreneurs solving local problems. To date, the Innovation Fund has invested in teams from over 57 countries. Argentina, India, Iran, Kenya, Mexico, Nepal, and Rwanda represent the most recent incoming cohort in July 2021.

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2021 OSI Board of Directors statement of intent

This first appeared on the Open Source Initiative Wiki. In light of the election update this year, I am republishing my statement of intent on my personal blog.


No culture can live if it attempts to be exclusive.

Mahatma Gandhi

I believe in the value of upholding the Open Source Definition as a mature and dependable legal framework while recognizing the OSI needs to work better with works that are not Open Source. My ambition as a candidate is to support existing work to enable a more responsive, more agile Open Source Initiative.

Twitter: @jwf_foss

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Three predictions for Free Software in the 2020s

From January to May 2020, I completed an independent study at the Rochester Institute of Technology on Business and Legal Aspects of Free/Open Source Software. This was the final credit for my completion of the Free and Open Source Software and Free Culture minor.

That semester, I traveled to different international FOSS conferences (before COVID-19), analyzed contemporary changes and trends in Free Software, and reflected on where I think we are going. I am sharing an edited version of my final report here, as a look into my “crystal ball” for what is coming to Free Software in the 2020s.

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How Mozilla Open Source Archetypes influence UNICEF Open Source Mentorship

In May 2018, Mozilla and Open Tech Strategies released a 40-page report titled, “Open Source Archetypes“. This blog post is a recap of how this report influences the Open Source Mentorship programme I lead at the UNICEF Innovation Fund.

I joined the UNICEF Innovation team in June 2020, although this is not the first time I have worked with UNICEF Innovation. I have had some opportunity to write about Open Source, but my personal blog has been quiet! So, this felt like the right opportunity to talk about what I am up to these days.

The Open Source Archetypes report (below) provides nine archetypes common among Open Source projects and communities. These archetypes provide a common language and perspective to think about how to capture the most value of Open Source in various contexts.

This article covers the following topics:

  1. How Open Source Archetypes align with my experience
  2. How I use Open Source Archetypes at UNICEF
  3. Unanswered questions
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Hacktoberfest 2020 with TeleIRC

October is here! If you contribute to Open Source projects, you might know that October is the month of Hacktoberfest. DigitalOcean teams up with different partners each year to send a t-shirt (or plant a tree on your behalf) for anyone who makes four GitHub Pull Requests in October. And guess what? TeleIRC is a participating project for you to get your Hacktoberfest t-shirt or tree!

This post identifies specific tasks the TeleIRC team identified as “good first issues” for Hacktoberfest hackers. They are in order of least difficult to most difficult. Golang developers especially are encouraged to participate!

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What’s new in TeleIRC v2.0.0

TeleIRC v2.0.0 is the latest major release of our open source Telegram <=> IRC bridge. Download the latest release and read the release announcement for the full story.

There are several new and noteworthy changes in TeleIRC v2.0.0. This post walks you through the major changes and differences for TeleIRC v2.0.0. Read on for the highlight reel of this release.

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TeleIRC v2.0.0 is officially here!

After almost eight months of work, the TeleIRC Team is happy to announce General Availability of TeleIRC v2.0.0 today. Thanks to the hard work of our volunteer community, we are celebrating an on-time release of a major undertaking to make a more sustainable future for TeleIRC.

Download TeleIRC v2.0.0 now!

If you want to skip the text and get to the software, head to the GitHub v2.0.0 release for more info. If you want the story behind this release, read on!

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FOSDEM 2020, pt. 2: Can Free Software include ethical AI systems?

This post is a follow-up to FOSDEM 2020, pt. 1: Play by play. This post summarizes the talk given by me and my colleague, Mike Nolan, at FOSDEM 2020.


FOSDEM 2020 took place from Saturday, 1 February, 2020 to Sunday, 2 February, 2020 in Brussels, Belgium (shortly after Sustain OSS 2020 and CHAOSScon EU 2020). On Saturday, together with my colleague and friend Mike Nolan, we presented on a topic he and I have co-conspired on for the last six months. What are the intersections of Free Software and artificial intelligence (AI)?

What is a rights-based approach for designing minimally safe and transparent guidelines for AI systems? In this talk, we explore what a Free AI system might look like. Then, taking research and guidelines from organizations such as Google and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, we propose practical policies and tools to ensure those building an AI system respect user freedom. Lastly, we propose the outlines of a new kind of framework where all derivative works also respect those freedoms.

Freedom and AI: Can Free Software include ethical AI systems? Exploring the intersection of Free software and AI
Video recording from FOSDEM 2020

This post is an abridged summary of the key ideas and thoughts Mike and I presented at our FOSDEM 2020 session.

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How did Free Software build a social movement?

The Free Software movement is rooted to origins in the 1980s. As part of a talk I gave with my colleague and friend Mike Nolan at FOSDEM 2020, we analyzed how the Free Software movement emerged as a response to a changing digital world in three different phases. This blog post is an exploration and framing of that history to understand how the social movement we call “Free Software” was constructed.

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TeleIRC v2.0.0: March 2020 progress update

Since September 2019, the RITlug TeleIRC team is hard at work on the v2.0.0 release of TeleIRC. This blog post is a short update on what is coming in TeleIRC v2.0.0, our progress so far, and when to expect the next major release.

What’s coming in TeleIRC v2.0.0?

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