Speaker Interview: Bradley Kuhn

Bradley Kuhn will be giving a talk at SCALE 12X on "A New Approach to Accounting Software for Non-Profit Organizations." The SCALE Team caught up with him to ask him more about the presentation.
Q: Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?
A: I've been involved with the Software Freedom Movement for more than 20 years, ever since I first downloaded and installed GNU Emacs for the first time in 1991. I became a GNU/Linux user in 1992 and by 1999, I'd eradicated all daily use of proprietary software from my life.
Around that time, I got involved with the non-profit side of Free Software, and I volunteered for the FSF in the late 1990s and was hired as an employee in 1999, and its Executive Director in 2001.  I still serve on the Board of Directors of the FSF.  My day job, though, is as the President of another non-profit organization called the Software Freedom Conservancy, which provides a non-profit home to Open Source and Free Software projects.
Q: You're giving a talk on "A New Approach to Accounting Software for Non-Profit Organizations." Without tipping your hand on the actual talk, can you give us an idea of what we might expect?
A: I believe that the Software Freedom Movement has "played to a stalemate" on operating system technology: most of it is Free Software and is widely used and won't be going away.  However, in the space of end-user applications, software freedom never gained a good foothold and we're losing what ground we had rather quickly.  I believe that focusing on good applications that are Free Software that replace various proprietary cartels is an urgent issue.
I'm in a unique position to work on this problem regarding the software needed by non-profits, because in addition to my early-career software development experience, I've also been a non-profit executive for thelast 15 years.  The toughest place where I get pressure to install proprietary software in running a non-profit is in the area of accounting and financial reporting.  The NPO Accounting project that Conservancy recently started seeks to provide excellent Free Software applications for this specific need.
I'll present the minimal work we've done so far, and then talk about where we need to go from here to answer this challenge.  And, I'd love developers who want to hack on something like this to come by and get involved!

Q: Is this your first visit to SCALE? If so, what are your expectations? If not, can you give us your impressions of the event?
A: I've been to and spoken at SCALE many times, including a keynote at SCALE 7x.
Speaking as a non-profits person, I have to say that SCALE is among the most important Open Source and Free Software events in the annual calendar of events.  This is because it's a non-commercial event, run by a non-profit organization, and hosted on the weekend.  While it's tough sometimes for us who do Free Software work as a day job to give up our weekends for these events, it's absolutely essential and important, because enthusiasts and volunteers who contribute to Free Software often only have weekends available to get involved.
[SCALE Team interview by Hannah Anderson]