Amanda Brock is CEO of OpenUK the UK body for the business of Open Technology (open source software, open hardware and open data); Executive Producer of State of Open Con; elected Board Member, Open Source Initiative; appointed member of the Cabinet Office Open Standards; British Computer Society Inaugural Influence Board Member; Advisory Board Member, KDE, Planet Crust, Everseen, and Mimoto; Charity Trustee Creative Crieff and GeekZone; and European Representative of the Open Invention Network. Previously chaired the United Nations Technology Innovation Labs Open Source and IP Advisory Group and was a member of the OASIS Open Projects and Government Energy Sector Digitalization Task Force Advisory Boards.
Amanda is the editor of Open Source Law, Policy and Practice (2nd edition) published by Oxford University Press in October 2022, with open access thanks to the Vietsch Foundation. A lawyer of 25 years’ experience, Amanda previously chaired the Open Source and IP Advisory Group of the United Nations Technology Innovation Labs, sat on the OASIS Open Projects and UK Government Energy Sector Digitalization Task Force Advisory Boards, and was General Counsel of Canonical for 5 years.
With law degrees from the University of Glasgow, New York University and Queen Mary and Westfield, Amanda was part of the first cohort to study internet law in the UK. Amanda spent 25 years practicing law and almost 20 of those across companies in a variety of sectors, with a strong technology focus. The first lawyer to work on the ISP Freeserve from 1999 and a member of the team which took it to Europe’s first dotcom IPO. Amanda joined Canonical as General Counsel setting up and running the global legal team for 5 years from 2008.
An international keynote speaker, Amanda writes regularly for the technology press, and is Editor of Open Source, Law, Policy and Practise, being published open access (sponsored by Vietsch Foundation) by Oxford University Press in September 2022 and which will be the subject of a MOOC.
Amanda was awarded the 2022 UK Lifetime Achievement Award in the Women, Influence & Power Awards, and included in Computer Weekly’s Most Influential Women in Tech Long list in 2021 and in their UK Tech50 longlist for 2022.
Amanda was included in the 2022 https://heroes.
How will you contribute to the board
The trajectory of open source software as the pre-eminent model for software development globally in the last decade must imho be managed though supporting the OSI and its guardianship of the OSD, whilst supporting open source adoption across ever increasing new sectors. I am concerned that a lack of care, understanding and education in the nuances of open source software poses a threat to the future of the OSD and OSI. A strong OSI is critical to the longevity of open source software.
In my experience the OSD has been under challenge firstly in the operating system market, cloud computing, and now in standards. Standards utilising FRAND licensed patents require an understanding of incompatibilities between Standard Essential Patents and open source software. This is currently a concern in the Mobile Network Operator space where vested interests and preservation of royalty revenues is causing challenges to the meaning of open source, looking to adapt it to suit existing financial and revenue generation models.
I hope to help the OSI to meet the challenges of existing and new markets’ adoption of open source software and open source’s disruptive impact on those sectors’ revenue models by supporting a strong OSI and guardianship of the OSD.
Open source software needs to be seen to be maintained and secure as it increasingly forms the backbone of national infrastructure as well as the soul of digitalised businesses. I believe that this requires a consideration of its position as a public good and how it will be funded in the long term, including on a collaborative international Governmental basis. I hope to support this evolution and the OSI’s participation in this.
Why you should be elected
I have a unique mix of practical, business, fundraising and legal and governance skills in open source software, alongside an understanding of community, which I would bring to the OSI Board. I would emphasise skills development, sustainability and security, which are critical to the future of open source software as well as supporting the OSI in its guardianship of the OSD. From my experiences as CEO at OpenUK I can offer support to the OSI Executive Director.
As a passionate believer in open source software I have and will continue to raise my neck above the parapet to support the work of the OSI.
I believe that my breadth of skills in open source software is unique amongst the individual candidates for the OSI board and am grateful for any support you may give me in these elections.
4 thoughts on “Amanda Brock”
Hello, I have a small set of questions ….
(1) There are two OpenUK employees/directors running for a seat in this election. Notably, perhaps, one in the Individual and a second in the Affiliate slate. Did the two of you coordinate your decisions to campaign? Is it appropriate for a single organization to take multiple seats on a board of eight elected members? For that matter, is the decision to run two OpenUK representatives in the two separate election slates an intentional strategy meant to increase the odds of gaining two seats? If so, is that ethical?
(2) Again, regarding the purpose of Individual board seats. Do you see an Individual board seat as an obligation to represent the voice and priorities of the voters? Or, if elected, will you represent OpenUK’s interests?
(3) To be more particular, if you are the CEO of OpenUK, is it even appropriate for you to run for an Individual seat? Based on the way the Individual/Affiliate seat split is described on the OSI site, I would say it sounds like an obvious, inherent breach of the meaning of “Individual”. I would assume, based on the fact of your candidacy, that you feel differently; so please elaborate. Why should an individual voter vote for the head of an official Affiliate organization to take up an Individual seat on the OSI board? E.g., will you pledge _not_ to use your Individual seat to represent OpenUK’s positions while on the board?
(4) In addition to your role at OpenUK, you have listed eight other NPOs by name that you serve on in some capacity (although that includes an “including […]” so it’s not a precise count). What is your time commitment to those organizations? What portion of your time will OSI get?
(5) Are the goals & areas of concern (for the OSD, etc) that you list in the “contribution” section things that you are not able to address in your role as CEO of OpenUK?
(6) Perhaps similarly, in the “why” section, you say you will support the executive director of OSI and raise your neck to support the work of the OSI. Can you _not_ do both of those things as part of your role at OpenUK?
Thanks for taking the time to share your “small set of 6 questions” – quite a long and challenging set in fact, and a few more than you have provided for each of the other candidates.
Of course I am not aware of any ethical issue or conflict. The role of a Director is to act in the best interest of the organisation of which they are a Director and that is what I would seek to do if I was fortunate enough to be elected to the Board. I would also act in the best interests of Open Source.
Matt and I each bring a very different set of skills to our candidacies, but with both of us being passionate about Open Source and our communities.
The OSI Board role is, as you point out, very different from my CEO role at OpenUK. At a time when the OSI, is seeking to shift its board to professionalise this in a way this answers your final question.
It’s kind of you to point out my service across a number of Not for Profit organisations. These are mostly related to Open Source and I believe that my past and current service to a variety of not for profits reflects my passion for Open Source and of course enhances my ability to do a good job for the OSI as it professionalises its Board, should I be elected. Whilst I really do appreciate your concern for my time, I feel very comfortable that I will be able to deliver the level of time commitment required, should I be elected and of course this would lead to my reprioritising my time to support this.
Candidate questions II
Thanks for replying. I have some follow-ups below.
> Of course I am not aware of any ethical issue or conflict.
That was not the question, though. I’m asking about the principle: given that OSI board structure has an explicit instrument for the affiliate organizations to participate, why are *you*, as a candidate who is the CEO of one of those affiliate organizations, not running for the Affiliate seat? Not a hypothetical other director; you personally.
> I would also act in the best interests of Open Source.
I’m assuming this is meant in response to question (2). If so, I think it’s too broad to communicate. “Open Source” as an abstract contains many, many constituencies, including the affiliate organizations, individual contributors, a variety of projects, and a host of commercial actors (including, e.g., those who are forced to release source code begrudgingly….)
As a voter who is permitted to vote only on the Individual seat slate, it matters a great deal if candidates pledge to represent the viewpoint of the electorate or to act on behalf of their employer’s interests.
So, let me try again: if you were to be elected to the board and an issue arises where OpenUK’s priorities are potentially at odds with that of other folks in the open-source community, will your position be to seek out and represent the will of the voters, or will it be to advocate for OpenUK’s official stance?
> Matt and I each bring a very different set of skills to our candidacies, but with both of us being passionate about Open Source and our communities.
Here as well; this reply does not address the question asked. The question is whether or not the two of you coordinated your candidacies. As I said originally, if the answer is “yes”, that is clearly problematic for the effect is has on diluting the voice of voting members in other organizations (and, indeed, those in no formal organizations). You’ll forgive me for rephrasing this in more matter-of-fact terms, but it matters a great deal: is it yes or no?
Luis Villa’s Questions on twitter
I responded to Luis’ questions on twitter, when asked, but know that some of you will not follow this on twitter, so for ease of reference, adding these here:
1. Luis Villa luis_in_brief 1st, a repeat from 2020 and 2021, possibly *the* existential question for the OSI board: “What should OSI do about the…millions of people who… collaborate to build software online (often calling that [collaboration] open source) but have…no idea what OSI is or what it does?”
Amanda Brock amandabrockUK: “Education, education, education. Kids, students, apprenticeships and more. There’s a world of influencers and conference speakers who would support the necessary and appropriate messaging.”
2. Luis Villa luis_in_brief 2nd, also (sort of) a repeat: what should OSI’s relationship to the Organization for Ethical Source and Free Software Foundation (and their relevant movements) be? Relevant detail/nuance in both my 2020 and 2021 questions:
Amanda Brock amandabrockUK: “Collaborate and support but don’t be sidetracked from its own opensource mission.”
3. Luis Villa luis_in_brief: 3rd, what *additive* skills/perspectives do you bring to the board? This could be finance/money, ED/staff management, non-Valley/EU perspective… many options.
Amanda Brock amandabrockUK: “Am I technically a lawyer candidate The old legal skills are useful from a policy and governance perspective. My additives are fundraising, running a not for profit, EU, UK, DEI and Belonging…oh and a bit of understanding of some strategic stuff that impacts opensource
4. Luis Villa luis_in_brief: 4th, OSI is in process of shifting from a board-driven to a staff-driven org. How do you plan to support that transition in particular, and OSI’s staff more generally?
Amanda Brock, amandabrockUK: “It’s an appropriate transition as a Board should not be the Executive function. We can all support the OSI staff with influence and helping open doors, as well as being a sounding board – pretty much what the tremendous OpenUK openuk_uk board do for me!”
5. Luis Villa luis_in_brief: 5th, repeat from 2020: “You have 24 hours in the day and are talented enough to do many different things. Why do you want to give some of those hours to OSI?”
Amanda Brock, amandabrockUK: Why thank you! I consider the OpenSourceOrg and its custodianship of the OSD/ licensing as critical to the future of opensource and that a strong OSI is fundamental to its longevity. If I have useful skills I am happy to make time to support it.
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