John Sullivan
Sullivan at Free Software Foundation event, June 2006.
Born (1976-12-06) December 6, 1976 (age 47)
EmployerFree Software Foundation[1]

William[citation needed] John Sullivan (more commonly known as John Sullivan;[2] born December 6, 1976[citation needed]) is a software freedom activist, hacker, and writer. John was formerly executive director[3][4] of the Free Software Foundation (FSF), where he has worked since early 2003. He is also a speaker and webmaster for the GNU Project. He also maintains the Plannermode and delicious-el packages for the GNU Emacs text editor.


Active in both the free software and free culture communities, Sullivan has a BA in philosophy from Michigan State University and an MFA in Writing and Poetics. In college, Sullivan was a successful policy debater, reaching finals of CEDA Nationals and the semifinals of the National Debate Tournament.[5]

Until 2007, John was the main contact behind the Defective by Design, BadVista and Play Ogg campaigns. He also served as the chief webmaster for the GNU Project, until July 2006.[6]

He served as Executive Director of the Free Software Foundation from 2011 to 2022.

As a speaker for the GNU Project

Matthew Garrett and John Sullivan at LibrePlanet 2016

John has delivered speeches on the following topics,[7] in English:


  1. ^ Contacting the Free Software Foundation
  2. ^ John Sullivan's home page
  3. ^ FSF announces new executive director
  4. ^ Free Software Foundation announces new executive director, Zoë Kooyman
  5. ^ "NDT Results 1997-2005" (PDF). American Forensic Association. Retrieved March 9, 2011.
  6. ^ GNU's Webmasters - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation (FSF)
  7. ^ GNU and Free Software Speakers - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation (FSF)
  8. ^ Confusing Words and Phrases that are Worth Avoiding - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation (FSF)
  9. ^ High Priority Free Software Projects - Free Software Foundation Archived 2007-08-10 at the Wayback Machine