Jimmy Kaplowitz


My name is Jimmy Kaplowitz. (Or, for legal purposes, I am James Kaplowitz.) On Freenode and OFTC, I use the nickname Hydroxide. I am 19 years old and from New York City. I am currently in college at Brown University in Providence, RI, USA, planning to major in CS. I have formerly been employed at a NYC-area ISP, doing various things including PHP/Perl web development and UNIX/Linux sysadmin work. I started using Linux exclusively in August 1998 and I joined Debian in May 2001. For Debian I have done a few things, most notably implementing the mostly-completed PowerPC support for PGI, the Progeny Graphical Installer for Debian. In the last few weeks I have been helping to improve GnuCash, including its OFX support library, LibOFX, which was formerly broken on big-endian machines. I also do user support on #debian as time permits. At Brown, even though I am a freshman, I have already started a Linux Users Group here (which has a fledgling and slightly outdated website), and we are working closely with the IT people on many projects, including the establishment of email and web kiosks around campus, which we hope to have running Linux.

SPI has a lot of potential to make waves in the world of software. SPI's certificate of incorporation outlines lots of goals and purposes for which the corporation was ostensibly formed, many of which go beyond SPI's traditional purpose of serving as a legal umbrella and donations recipient for free software projects. For example, many of them involve educating the public on how to use computers, computer systems, the Internet, free software, etc. I have personally done this sort of tutoring as a volunteer with Windows and MacOS, and while even continuing that through SPI would enhance the general public's computer literacy and generally be a good thing, it would be wonderful to hold educational events as they pertain to Linux and free software as well. I would be willing to personally devote some time to leading or serving on a committee to look at ways that SPI could fulfil some more of its stated purposes than it is currently fulfilling.

Despite the above, I understand that SPI cannot shirk its core role of steward for Debian, OFTC, and all the other affiliated projects it represents. That must be its most essential mission, and I am dedicated to that and will help further that as a board member.

Second to a love of free software and a sharp brain, the most important thing that a board member of SPI needs is time to be actively involved by attending meetings, to help prevent a recurrence of the recent period in which the board repeatedly failed to make quorum. (Congratulations to them for getting past that!) I have the necessary available time. A college schedule like mine provides much free time, especially on weekends but also on afternoons and evenings, and if I know in advance when a meeting is I can certainly work it into my schedule. I will endeavor to be in attendance in all the meetings except in those rare cases where I have an unavoidable conflict, in which case I will try my best to notify the board in advance.

Right now, SPI membership is just barely beginning to mean more than a subscription to spi-private, with the call for this board member election and the creation of the bylaws committee through an open call for nominations. We should continue this trend by striving to involve the members as much as possible, so that we can receive their input and ideas. This would involve more use of the public and members-only mailing lists, wherever it wouldn't violate confidentiality. I am thinking now of Nils Lohner's message to spi-general when membership was first introduced, and we need to again ask the members what they want the board to be doing.

I would be honored to serve as an SPI board member, and I hope that I am given the chance.