​Linux Foundation appoints two more women to its board of directors

Erica Brescia, Nithya Ruff, and Jeff Garzik bring a breadth of expertise, diversity, and insight to the top open-source organization.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

SANTA FE, NM -- The Linux Foundation, the top non-profit, open-source group, has announced the appointment of Erica Brescia, co-founder and COO of Bitnami; Nithya A Ruff, director of Western Digital's Open Source Strategy Office; and Jeff Garzik, co-founder of Bloq, to its board of directors.

Linux Foundation Logo

The Linux Foundation has added more women to its leadership ranks.

Ms Ruff and Ms Brescia join as at-large directors, and Mr Garzik comes on board as the representative of Linux Foundation Silver members. Brescia and Ruff will take the place of Larry Augustin and Bdale Garbee. Garzik replaces Matt Jones of Jaguar Land Rover.

Ruff and Brescia join Eileen Evans of HPE and Hiromi Wada of Panasonic as women on the Foundation's board. Their presence brings four women to the 19-member board.

Brescia is Bitnami's co-founder and chief operating officer. With more than 1 million deployments per month, Bitnami provides the largest source of applications and development environments to the world's leading cloud service providers. These include Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Compute Platform, and Oracle Cloud Platform.

In a statement, Brescia said: "Open-source technologies make possible the incredibly rapid innovation that we see in tech-driven sectors today. Shared R&D in the form of open source helps companies like Bitnami thrive, while creating value for others. I'm proud to be a part of the organization that's propelling that collaboration."

Ruff first glimpsed the power of open source while at SGI in the 1990s and has been building bridges between hardware developers and the open-source community ever since. "The Linux Foundation is working to create an inclusive open-source culture that stretches across organizations," she said. "I anticipate being able to help deepen that work as more industry professionals of all backgrounds get involved in open source."

Anyone who knows Bitcoin knows Garzik. He has long been at the center of developing and commercializing open-source software surrounding bitcoin and blockchain. Before co-founding Bloq to develop enterprise-grade blockchain solutions, he spent five years as a Bitcoin core developer, and 10 years at Red Hat. "I'm excited to bring Bloq's expertise in developing blockchain software to the Linux Foundation," Garzik said. "Projects like Hyperledger [the new open-source distributed ledgers project] are emblematic of the future of open source: bringing together the efforts of developers to fundamentally alter global finance, digital identity, and beyond."

"The board of directors and the entire Linux Foundation organization are delighted to welcome Nithya, Erica, and Jeff," said Jim Zemlin, the Foundation's executive director. "They will help guide the strategy of the Linux Foundation, the home to some of the most successful open-source projects and largest shared technology investment in history."

While worthy leaders of the Linux Foundation, they arrive after a leadership crisis. Earlier this year, the Linux Foundation changed its bylaws to no longer permit individual Foundation members to elect members of the group's board of directors. It was thought by some that the Foundation did this to block Karen Sandler, the executive director of the Software Freedom Conservancy, a GPL enforcement organization, from standing for election to the Linux Foundation board.

Zemlin denied this was the case and decried those who objected to her. "Karen has dedicated her career to promoting and defending free software. Since these comments and attacks are being made in the context of online discussions relating to the Linux Foundation, I feel compelled to state in no uncertain terms that the Foundation does not condone, and stands against the type of online behavior that has too often been allowed to go on unchecked."

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