I am a passionate leader in open source software and bring a unique mix of legal, business and practical open source understanding to the Individual Board Member elections. My main role is as CEO of OpenUK, the organisation for the business of Open Technology in the UK (open source software, open hardware and open data). I'm a lawyer with law degrees from Glasgow, New York and Queen Mary (London) Universities. I spent 25 years working as a Solicitor, working internationally from 2000 and with 20 of those years being inhouse in companies across sectors. I spent 5 years as General Counsel of Canonical, where I set up and ran the global legal team. My legal, corporate and governance experience have been invaluable to me in hands-on work supporting the open source industry and communities day to day.
As part of OpenUK’s focus on UK leadership and global collaboration in Open Technology I’ve been an active participant in the open source work group at the European project GaiaX, OpenUK being one of only two UK Day One Members of GaiaX and currently working on a UK GaiaX Hub.
I have led OpenUK to its current focus on Sustainability, Security and Skills:
- Open Technology for Sustainability Day at COP26 and the development of the Blueprint for the Open Technology Data Centre of the Future, Patchwork Kilt now hosted in the Eclipse Foundation and the EV Charging Open Technology Blueprint currently being built along with a second Open Technology for Sustainability event in October.
- Instrumental in OpenUK joining and participating in OpenSSF and creating a Security Advisory Board.
As an international keynote speaker, podcast guest and panel member, I discuss open source software and write extensively about it. My focus is often business and revenue models and open for good. My writing includes academic journals and the tech press and I am frequently quoted by them on open source and technology, including Information Age, The Reg and CBRDigital. I was an Executive Editor and co-Founder of the Journal of Open Law Technology and Society (formerly IFOSSLR), am a Fellow of the Open Forum Academy and was a guest editor of the IEE Special Edition on Open Data in January 2022.
I’ve edited the book, Open Source Software: Law, Policy and Practice, 2nd Edition, during the pandemic. This will be published by Oxford University Press in July 2022 with open access sponsored by the Vietsch Foundation. It was contributed to by 20 leading figures across open source software and should be a great text for tertiary education and OSPO's.
Currently I sit on a number of Boards and Advisory Boards:
Board Member UK Cabinet Office Open Standards Board;
European Representative of the Open Invention Network since 2012;
OASIS Open Projects' Advisory Council Member (open source and open standards);
Advisory Board Member KDE;
Advisory Board Member Planet Crust;
Charity Trustee, Creative Crieff and GeekZone; and
Member of commercial Advisory Boards including Mimoto and Everseen.
I've previously been:
Chair of the Open Source and Intellectual Property (IP) Advisory Group of the United Nations Technology Innovation Labs;
Member of the Cabinet Office Advisory on Open Source circa 2010 inputting into UK Policy;
Member of the original Open Stack Drafting Committee setting up the Open Stack Foundation in 2012; and
Advisory Board Member, UK Government Energy Sector Digitalisation Task Force whose Recommendations January 2022 included an open source software spine for the UK Energy sector.
I am honoured to have been recognised by the industry:
Computer Weekly’s Most Influential Women in Tech 2021 Long List
Shortlisted for Woman of the Year in the Women in IT Awards UK in 2020 and 2022
I am Scottish, live in London with Kitten Dundee and identify as both ASD and ADHD.
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.