Bradley M. Kuhn

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Bradley M. Kuhn
Portrait of Kuhn taken in 2007
Born1973 (age 50–51)
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Occupation(s)Policy Fellow and Hacker-in-Residence, Software Freedom Conservancy
Known forPerl6, open source software
Awards2012 O'Reilly Open Source Award, 2020 Advancement for Free Software Award
Scientific career
FieldsComputer science
ThesisConsiderations on Porting Perl to the Java Virtual Machine (M.S. thesis) (2001)
Academic advisorsJohn Franco

Bradley M. Kuhn (born 1973) is a free software activist from the United States.

Kuhn is currently Policy Fellow and Hacker-in-Residence of the Software Freedom Conservancy, having previously been executive director. Until 2010 he was the FLOSS Community Liaison and Technology Director of the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC). He previously served as the Executive Director of Free Software Foundation (FSF) from 2001 until March 2005. He served on the FSF's board of directors from March 2010 until October 2019.

He is best known for his efforts in GPL enforcement, as the creator of FSF's license list, and as original author of the Affero General Public License. He has long been a proponent for non-profit structures for FLOSS development, and leads efforts in this direction through the Software Freedom Conservancy. He is a recipient of the 2012 O'Reilly Open Source Award.

Academia and early career

Kuhn attended Loyola Blakefield, followed by Loyola College in Maryland, graduating in May 1995 with a summa cum laude Bachelor of Science in Computer Science.

Kuhn attended graduate school in Computer Science at the University of Cincinnati and received a Master of Science degree in 2001 under the direction of his graduate advisor John Franco. Kuhn received a USENIX student grant scholarship for his thesis work, which focused on dynamic interoperability of free software languages, using a port of Perl to the Java Virtual Machine as an example. Larry Wall served on Kuhn's thesis committee. Kuhn's thesis showed various problems regarding the use of stack-based virtual machines for Perl, and this discovery became part of the justification for the launch of the Parrot project.

Kuhn was an active participant in the Perl6 RFC Process, and headed the perl6-licensing committee during the process. The RFCs on licensing were all written by him.

Kuhn taught AP Computer Science at Walnut Hills High School for the 1998–1999 academic year, using a Linux-based lab built by the students themselves.

Kuhn volunteered for the Free Software Foundation throughout graduate school, and was hired part-time as Richard Stallman's assistant in January 2000. Kuhn is seen posting to lists in his professional capacity around this time. During his early employment at the FSF, Kuhn suggested the creation of and maintained the FSF license list page, and argued against license proliferation.

Kuhn was also an early and active member of the Cincinnati Linux User Group during this period, serving on its board of directors in 1998 and giving numerous presentations.

Non-profit career

Bradley Kuhn's computer science career briefly involved proprietary software development after high school. His sour experience in this area was one of his motivations for sticking with a career in non-profit work. Since graduate school, Kuhn has worked only for non-profits. He was hired full-time to work at the FSF in late 2000, and was promoted to executive director in March 2001. Kuhn launched FSF's Associate Membership campaign, formalized its GNU General Public License (GPL) enforcement efforts into the GPL Compliance Labs, led FSF's response to the SCO lawsuit, authored the Affero clause of the original version of the AGPL, and taught numerous CLE classes for lawyers on the GPL.

Kuhn left the FSF in March 2005 to join the founding team of the Software Freedom Law Center with Eben Moglen and Daniel Ravicher, and subsequently established the Software Freedom Conservancy in April 2006.

At both the FSF and SFLC, Kuhn has been involved with all the major efforts in the United States to enforce the GPL. At SFLC, he assisted Eben Moglen, Richard Stallman, and Richard Fontana in the drafting of the GPLv3, and managed the production of the software system for the GPLv3 Comment Process, called stet. He advocated strongly for inclusion of the Affero clause in GPLv3, and then assisted with the production of the AGPLv3 after the FSF decided to write a separate Affero version of GPLv3.

Prior to 2010 Kuhn was FLOSS Community Liaison and Technology Director of the Software Freedom Law Center and was president of the Software Freedom Conservancy. In October 2010 he became the Conservancy's first Executive Director. After leadership change he now serves as Policy Fellow and a member of the Board of Directors, while Karen Sandler holds the Executive Director position

In 2010 Kuhn founded the Replicant project together with Aaron Williamson, Graziano Sorbaioli and Denis ‘GNUtoo’ Carikli, aiming at replacing proprietary Android components with free software counterparts. Kuhn is in fact the Registrant of the domain.

Since October 2010 Kuhn has co-hosted, with Sandler, the Free as in Freedom podcast, which covers legal, policy, and other issues in the FLOSS world. Kuhn and Sandler had previously co-hosted a similar podcast, the Software Freedom Law Show.

On March 20, 2021, he received the 2020 Advancement for Free Software Award.


Kuhn is an avid poker player and played professionally on a part-time basis from 2002 to 2007. Since January 2008, he has been a contributor to PokerSource, a GPL'd online poker system written and maintained by Loïc Dachary.


  1. ^ "Staff - Software Freedom Conservancy". Conservancy. Retrieved 16 October 2019.
  2. ^ Kuhn, Bradley. "Conservancy staff page, Bradley Kuhn". Retrieved 15 October 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Software Freedom Conservancy Appoints Full-Time Executive Director". 2010-10-04.
  4. ^ Peter Brown (2010-03-25). "Bradley Kuhn Joins the FSF Board". Free Software Foundation.
  5. ^ Bradley M. Kuhn (2019-10-15). "On the Controversial Events Regarding the Free Software Foundation and Richard M. Stallman".
  6. ^ Fabian A. Scherschel (2012-12-17). "Defence of the GPL realm: A conversation with Bradley Kuhn". The H. Archived from the original on 15 January 2013.
  7. ^ "O'Reilly Open Source Awards". Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
  8. ^ Loyola College in Maryland, Department of Computer Science (May 1995). "Alumni: Class of 1995". Retrieved 2008-07-05.
  9. ^ Kuhn, Bradley M. (2001). Considerations on Porting Perl to the Java Virtual Machine (M.S.). University of Cincinnati. OCLC 47102706.
  10. ^ USENIX (September 1998). "Student Research Grants". Retrieved 2008-07-05.
  11. ^ Kuhn, Bradley (January 2001). "Considerations on Porting Perl to the Java Virtual Machine". University of Cincinnati. Retrieved 2008-06-28. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  12. ^ Kuhn, Bradley (2000-08-02). "The Copyright and Licensing Working Group". The Perl Foundation. Retrieved 2008-06-28. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  13. ^ Kuhn, Bradley (2000-10-01). "Perl6's License Should be (GPL or Artistic-2.0)". The Perl Foundation. Retrieved 2008-06-28. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  14. ^ Kuhn, Bradley (2000-09-12). "The Artistic License Must Be Changed". The Perl Foundation. Retrieved 2008-06-28. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  15. ^ Kuhn, Bradley (2000-09-13). "Perl6's License Should Be a Minor Bugfix of Perl5's License". The Perl Foundation. Retrieved 2008-06-28. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  16. ^ Rura, Shimon (2008-01-27). "Proudest Non-software Hack". Archived from the original on 2010-10-27.
  17. ^ Camilla Warrick (1998-12-08). "Walnut Hills students convert computers at fraction of cost". The Cincinnati Post. Archived from the original on 2000-04-25. Retrieved 2008-07-05.
  18. ^ Kuhn, Bradley (2000-04-01). "Forwarded Message for RMS". [email protected] (Mailing list). Retrieved 2008-07-05.)
  19. ^ The earliest archived version of the license list has bkuhn listed as its creator. (Bradley M. Kuhn (2000-08-15). "Various Licenses and Comments about Them". Free Software Foundation. Archived from the original on 2000-08-15. Retrieved 2008-07-05.)
  20. ^ Cincinnati Linux Users Group (1998-11-30). "Minutes from November CLUG Meeting". Archived from the original on August 24, 2000. Retrieved 2008-07-05.
  21. ^ Cincinnati Linux Users Group (2000-12-04). "CLUG Presentations". Archived from the original on December 4, 2000. Retrieved 2008-07-05.
  22. ^ Varghese, Sam (2011-06-06). "Bradley Kuhn: a life devoted to Free Software". iTWire. Retrieved 2011-06-06.
  23. ^ Corbet, Jonathan (2002-11-13). "The FSF GPL Compliance Lab". Linux Weekly News. Retrieved 2008-07-05.
  24. ^ Kuhn, Bradley (2004-05-18). "The SCO Subpoena of FSF". Free Software Foundation. Retrieved 2008-07-05.
  25. ^ Free Software Foundation (June 2003). "FSF Bulletin - Issue No.2 - June 2003". Free Software Foundation. Retrieved 2008-07-04.
  26. ^ An FSF press release again notes Kuhn to teach the seminars in January 2004. ("FSF To Host Free Software Licensing Seminars and Discussions on SCO v. IBM in New York" (Press release). Free Software Foundation. 2004-01-02. Retrieved 2008-07-04.
  27. ^ Gasperson, Tina (2008-04-19). "Bradley Kuhn makes a better world through software freedom". p. 1. Retrieved 2008-07-05.
  28. ^ ScuttleMonkey (2006-04-03). "New Conservancy Offers Gratis Services to FOSS". Slashdot. Retrieved 2008-07-05.
  29. ^ Meeker, Heather (2005-06-28). "The Legend of Linksys". Linux Insider. Retrieved 2010-10-01.
  30. ^ Turner, David; Bradley M. Kuhn (2003-09-29). "Linksys/Cisco GPL Violations". Retrieved 2007-08-11.
  31. ^ Landley, Rob (2006-09-21). "svn commit: trunk/busybox: applets include". [email protected] (Mailing list). Retrieved 2008-07-05.
  32. ^ Gasperson, Tina (2008-04-19). "Bradley Kuhn makes a better world through software freedom". p. 3. Retrieved 2008-07-05.
  33. ^ Kuhn, Bradley M. (2007-11-21). "stet and AGPLv3". Software Freedom Law Center. Archived from the original on 2008-03-15. Retrieved 2008-06-14.
  34. ^ "Karen Sandler joins Conservancy's Management Team". 2014-04-02..
  35. ^ "People - Replicant". Replicant. Archived from the original on 2014-10-08. Retrieved 2015-03-24.
  36. ^ "Episode 0x00: Goodbye and Ahoy Hoy". 2010-10-06. Retrieved 2012-04-01.
  37. ^ "Free as in Freedom". Retrieved 2012-04-01.
  38. ^ "Software Freedom Law Show: Episode 0x00: Introducing the Software Freedom Law Show". Retrieved 2012-04-01.
  39. ^ "Free Software Awards". Retrieved 2020-03-21.
  40. ^ "Software Freedom, Lawsuits, And Poker". Linux Outlaws. Episode 40. 2008-05-31.
  41. ^ "Pokersource". Archived from the original on 2012-08-25.
  42. ^ "ChangeLog of PokerSource project". Gna!. 2008-07-04. Archived from the original on 2017-02-22. Retrieved 2008-07-06.
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