The Free Software Foundation (FSF), a Massachusetts 501(c)(3) charity with a worldwide mission to protect computer user freedom, seeks a motivated and talented Boston-based individual to be a full-time Senior GNU/Linux Systems Administrator

This position, reporting to the executive director and working closely with the president, is an opportunity to make key contributions to the organization that started the GNU Project, launched the free software movement, and authored the GNU General Public License. The position is part of a technical team including a counterpart Senior Systems Administrator, a Web Developer, and many volunteers, tasked with maintaining and improving the FSF’s technology infrastructure.

The ideal candidate will be a well-rounded GNU/Linux systems administrator who thrives on constant broad-based learning and problem-solving. They will also be familiar with the free software community and how it works; the position includes frequent contact and collaboration with volunteers and many GNU developers. Together, the Senior Systems Administrators have a great deal of influence over technology decisions within the FSF, and do crucial work empowering thousands of others to develop free software.

Examples of job responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • be a lead voice in the FSF’s software system decision-making and policy positions in technical areas;
  • install and maintain fully free GNU/Linux systems on servers, desktops, laptops, and embedded devices;
  • support GNU developers and FSF representatives in their use of FSF-owned systems;
  • monitor and improve system security and network infrastructure;
  • spec, purchase, and maintain new equipment;
  • coordinate and mentor interns and volunteer systems administrators both in the office and remotely;
  • share in the on-call rotation to deal with core system emergencies;
  • blog and speak about the technologies used at the FSF;
  • run the tech at our annual LibrePlanet conference;
  • pitch in to help with organization-wide projects like our major fundraising activities;
  • fix bugs and submit patches upstream for the software we use, and
  • occasionally help design, write, and release new software when existing software doesn’t fit the bill.

Applicants should have an undergraduate degree in a related field, at least five years of experience as a GNU/Linux systems administrator, and highlight their familiarity with any of the following:

  • apt-based GNU/Linux distributions;
  • TCP/IP, BGP, DNS, FTP, NFS, DHCP, iptables;
  • Libreboot and Coreboot;
  • Xen, KVM, CFEngine, RAID;
  • Drupal, Nginx, Apache2, CiviCRM, Plone, Zope, Mediawiki, Ikiwiki, Request Tracker, CAS, SQL, Squid;
  • Python, Bash, Perl, PHP, JavaScript, Ruby;
  • git, SVN, CVS;
  • Exim, Spamassassin, GNU Mailman; and
  • any physical hardware maintenance and hacking.

Because the FSF works globally and seeks to have our materials distributed in as many languages as possible, multilingual candidates will have an advantage. With our small staff of thirteen, each person makes a clear contribution. We work hard, but offer a humane and fun work environment at an office located in the heart of downtown Boston. The FSF is a mature but growing organization that provides great potential for advancement; existing staff get the first chance at any new job openings.

Benefits and Salary

This job is a union position that must be worked on-site at the FSF’s downtown Boston office. The salary is fixed at $62,587/year and is non-negotiable. An on-site interview will be required with the executive director and other team members. Other benefits include:

  • full family health coverage through Blue Cross/Blue Shield’s HMO Blue program,
  • subsidized dental plan,
  • four weeks of paid vacation annually,
  • seventeen paid holidays annually,
  • public transit commuting cost reimbursement,
  • 403(b) program through TIAA-CREF,
  • yearly cost-of-living pay increases (based on government guidelines), and
  • conference travel opportunities.

Application Instructions

Applications must be submitted via email to The email must contain the subject line “Senior Systems Administrator.” A complete application should include:

  • cover letter,
  • resume, and
  • links to any published free software work.

All materials must be in a free format. Email submissions that do not follow these instructions will probably be overlooked. No phone calls, please.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled. To guarantee consideration, submit your application by Tuesday, October 11, 2016, 9:00am EDT.

The FSF is an equal opportunity employer and will not discriminate against any employee or application for employment on the basis of race, color, marital status, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, handicap, or any other legally protected status recognized by federal, state or local law. We value diversity in our workplace.

FSF Job Opportunity: Senior GNU/Linux Systems Administrator
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