Open Source Initiative Blog

  1. Summary
    The directors of the board of the Open Source Initiative recognize the process for discussion and review of new licenses proposed for approval by the organization can use improvement and would benefit from evolution. In particular, it does not appear as though all points of view on open source licensing are represented in the discussion here. To address this situation we have created a Board Committee for license approval to evaluate responses on-list, appointed more moderators, and will devise a new moderation strategy.

    Proposal
    We anticipate that the effort to improve the quality of discussion on the license lists will be an iterative process. This email describes our first step, which is to approach the community and elicit feedback on this approach. We anticipate further steps including a review of tools, but we’re not yet at that stage.

    Channels
    License review vs. License discuss lists

    License-review(a)lists.opensource.org is the email address for submitting a license for which you seek OSI approval following the process at https://opensource.org/approval. The list is open to the public, so anyone can give their opinion about a license. The OSI License Committee considers the viewpoints expressed on the license-review list in making its license approval recommendation to the OSI Board. Since the purpose of the list is to inform the Committee and the Board, discussion of substantive issues off-list is not recommended. If a license submitter elects to respond to a substantive question submitted to them off-list, the submitter is encouraged to copy the license-review list also on their response after redacting the identity of the person sending the communication.

    License-discuss(a)lists.opensource.org is for general questions about open source licenses and for licenses in early stage development. The list is open to the public and anyone can give feedback. A moderator may decide that a license submitted to license-review isn’t sufficiently developed and will move it to license-discuss for additional work. We recommend that you carry out your license development process on a publicly viewable venue (preferably one where collaboration is also possible) and regularly seek views on license-discuss. Note that agreement on license-discuss does not guarantee agreement on license-review, as the audiences differ.

    Moderation
    The board recognizes that the license-review mailing list would benefit from further, more concerted moderation, both to ensure appropriate conversation and to maintain the pace of discussions. This more concerted process will evolve in the following steps:

    • We will develop rules to encourage wider participation. We perceive that some are discouraged from participating because of offensive tone, frequency, or repetitiveness of messages. We will develop moderation standards to address these hurdles.
    • A moderator will also advance the conversation, by following up with the license steward on unanswered questions and ensuring that all topics of interest have been fully fleshed out.
    • We will assure observance of the Code of Conduct for the mailing lists, available at: https://opensource.org/codeofconduct/licensing.

    Changes to the Website
    We have also made a minor change to the language describing the license review process on https://opensource.org/approval. The page formerly said “Approve, if (a) there is sufficient consensus emerging from community discussion that approval is justified, and (b) the OSI determines that the license conforms to the Open Source Definition and guarantees software freedom." The page now says “Approve if, after taking into consideration community discussion, the OSI determines that the license conforms to the Open Source Definition and guarantees software freedom.”

    We have also clarified the timing of the review decision.

    License Review Committee
    The License Review Committee is an OSI Board committee made up of the following board members, as of May 2019:

    Pamela Chestek, chair, pamela.chestek(a)opensource.org
    Elana Hashman, elana.hashman(a)opensource.org
    Chris Lamb, chris.lamb(a)opensource.org
    Simon Phipps, webmink(a)opensource.org

    The License Review Committee will summarize and report the license-review discussions to the Board for the Board’s approval or disapproval of a proposed license. Members of the Committee also serve as moderators for the two mailing lists.

    What We’re Asking
    If you have not already done so, please subscribe to the license-review and license-discuss lists. And then contribute. More participants will help us ensure that every viewpoint has been heard and considered by the collective, so that the OSI's actions are truly representative of the open source community.

     

  2. 2018 Annual Report Welcome to the Open Source Initiative’s 2018 annual report. In this year's report you’ll learn about the organization’s activities from the past year, which captures the hard work of employees, contractors, volunteers, and those passionate about open source. I hope this will give you some context on why this work happened and what makes it so important. The Open Source Initiative was started in 1998 by a group of people interested in seeing ethics applied to the creation and distribution of software. This approach was built on a foundation of ideals – a specific philosophy on the rights and responsibilities of software users and creators. More than twenty years later, I am writing as a director of the OSI, which has grown into a robust organization with record numbers of individual and affiliate members, a dedicated all volunteer board, and the incredible support of volunteers and open source enthusiasts around the world.

    2018 brought amazing successes for the OSI. We celebrated our 20th anniversary, which took us around the world where we were able to look back on thousands of victories for open source. Every line of code or translation; every piece of documentation and version controlled repository; every successful business, happy user, and committed contributor, continues to shape a movement that has changed the face of technology, business, and community. It was also a year in which Microsoft acquired GitHub, one of the largest distributors of open source licensed code, and IBM purchased open source business giant Red Hat, showing that the companies that built their success around proprietary software see the need for an open source future.

    The past year also brought new questions on the validity of the Open Source Definition; the role of open source licensing, and both copyleft extension and enforcement; and individuals and organizations challenging the work of the OSI and the open source community as a whole. This included the legal battle concerning Google’s use of Oracle America’s APIs, and the creation of the Commons Clause, which renders any previously open license no longer OSD-compliant. I view these as challenges we need to meet, and illustrations as to why the the OSI is as important as ever. I am certain that the open source community will rise to the occasion.

    It is thanks to your support, interest, and work that the OSI is able to continue our efforts to support software freedom by maintaining the canonical list of open source licenses, providing a home for new projects and community initiatives, and bringing attention to the necessity of open source in the future of computing. The values that drive the OSI have had a demonstrable impact on the world, bringing new approaches to the ethical considerations facing everyone creating and interacting with computing technology and beyond. We see adoption of open source ideals not just in software, but in art, design, publishing, and science. Looking back on 20 years of open source ideology, we see twenty fruitful years of collaboration, contribution, and community that have spawned a philosophy of openness across fields of endeavor. Here’s to 20 more years of open source!

    Molly de Blanc
    OSI Board President

  3. Powering Potential Fundraiser

    OSI Affiliate Member Powering Potential Inc. (PPI) is currently preparing for their annual fundraising event scheduled for Wednesday, June 5, 2019, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at NoMad Studio, located at 29 W. 39th Street, 10th Floor, in New York City.

    This year PPI celebrates their 10 Year Partnership with the Segal Family Foundation. The close, long-time relationship has been a key factor in the amazing progress PPI has made in bringing their “Educating through Technology” programs to the rural students in Tanzania.

    Proceeds from this year’s event will go towards the Sazira Secondary School SPARC+ Lab Upgrade impacting 800+ students in rural Tanzania: an ambitious project needing $23,500. While this is significant, The Collegiate Churches of New York recently awarded Powering Potential a generous grant of $13,000 towards this goal.

    PPI has an incredible event planned for their guests. Back by popular demand, Tanzanian dancers performing traditional dance led by Justa Lujwangana, CEO and founder of Curious on Tanzania will provide entertainment for the evening. A buffet will also feature authentic Tanzanian dishes based on menus from Taste of Tanzania by Miriam Malaquais. The author has donated twenty of her books for sale at the event with proceeds going to PPI.

    Along with wine and soft drinks, a classic Tanzanian cocktail will be available to guests for a donation. The Dawa is a mixture of vodka, lime juice and honey. The word “dawa” is Swahili for medicine.

    This year's event will also feature a Silent Auction with a variety of exciting items and services up for bidding.

    Admission is $70 for early bird admission. Regular admission is $90 at the door.

    Visit Poweringpotential.org to donate and reserve your space at this event.

    Asante sana (thank you)!

  4. PALO ALTO, Calif. - May 14, 2019 ​ - The Open Source Initiative (OSI), the founding organization of the open source software movement, is excited to announce the Affiliate Membership of the Open Source Hong Kong (OSHK). For ten years OSHK has worked across Asia to support open source communities, foster open source development, and increase the use of open source software, their recent OSI Membership highlights both organizations' desires to collaborate across communities.

    “OSHK mission is promoting Open Source Software projects in Hong Kong and foster its development by connecting to the global open source community. In joining OSI as an Affiliate Member, OSHK connects with OSI, and other open source organizations, to support the promotion of open source,' said Sammy Fung, President of OSHK. "Open Source Software is not just about viewing the source code, it also guarantees the right to use the software, and modify it for our own use. By working together, I believe both organizations will be able to extend our reach and missions."

    “We are excited to welcome OSHK as an OSI Affiliate Member,” said Molly de Blanc, OSI President. “The open source community truly is global, and their dedication to that idea is what inspires us as an organization. Our work for the future of open source is driven by that global community, and having the voices of OSHK in our affiliate membership helps us meet our goal in promoting and protecting open source and communities. We look forward to supporting their efforts and collaborating to help spread the message of open source even further.”

    Currently, OSHK organizes the Hong Kong Open Source Conference (since 2013) and PyCon Hong Kong (beginning in 2015), with hopes to extend those event―and even add additional opportunities for open source communities to meet and collaborate. As a global organization the OSI is keen to help promote OSHK’s current events to both regional communities and our partners worldwide, as well as help develop new venues to raise awareness and adoption of open source software. As a growing segment in a large market, Asia promises to be a vital community in open source development and innovation. A partnership between OSI and OSHK will be critical in continued success.

    The OSI Affiliate Member program allows non-profit and not-for-profit organizations to become OSI members. Full details of OSI Affiliate Membership and the names of the Affiliate Members are available on OSI's Affiliate Membership pages (www.opensource.org/affiliates) together with details for other non-profit and not-for profit organizations on how to join. Individuals can also become Members at www.opensource.org/join

    About Open Source Hong Kong
    Established in 2009, Open Source Hong Kong (OSHK) serves to foster and promote open source communities of and for developers, contributors, engineers, promoters, and users. OSHK develops and supports open source projects, and organizes conferences and events,within Hong Kong and across Asia, to encourage collaboration in the global open source community. To learn more about OSHK, visit: ​ https://opensource.hk/about/

    About The Open Source Initiative
    Founded in 1998, the Open Source Initiative (OSI) protects and promotes open source software, development and communities, championing software freedom in society through education, collaboration, and infrastructure, stewarding the Open Source Definition, and preventing abuse of the ideals and ethos inherent to the open source movement. The OSI is a public charity with global vision based in California. For more information about the OSI, please see https://opensource.org.

  5. I spent last week in New York at the annual new-inductees face-to-face Board meeting of the Open Source Initiative Board (pictured here – Christine Hall is also a member but was unable to join us). Having spent the last 11 years working on refactoring OSI for a new generation, I had advised the Board in advance that I intended to step down as President to make way for fresh blood. The Board elected Molly de Blanc as the new President and Josh Simmons as Vice President, with Hong Phuc Dang bravely volunteering to be CFO. I agreed to serve as Board Secretary until someone else feels ready to play that role – no later than next April when my term ends.

    OSI Board 2019-20
    Simon Phipps, Elana Hashman, Pamela Chestek, Molly de Blanc, Faidon Liambotis, Chris Lamb, Hong Phuc Dang, Patrick Masson, Carol Smith (kneeling) Josh Simmons (kneeling)

    The OSI I’m handing over to the new Board is very different to the one I first attended in 2008 (as an observer - I only joined the Board on leaving Sun in 2010). It is now elected rather than selected (albeit via an indirect mechanism to make California regulation easier to manage). The electors are over 60 affiliate organisations representing the majority of the world’s core open source developers and an ever growing community of individual members. OSI now has a viable income arising largely from a diverse range of around 30 sponsors. It now has a staff, including a full-time General Manager, Patrick Masson. It now has maintained systems for managing donations, lists and outreach. And there’s more been achieved – those are just stand-outs.

    All together that means OSI has a proven foundation for the new Board to build upon. Already built on that foundation there are a postgraduate curriculum, a programme to advocate open source in the world of standards, a programme to equip schools with recycled PCs, working relationships with peer organisations like FSF and FSFE and more. There are many people responsible for all this change, too many to name here, and I thank them all.

    People always look forward rather than back and there are still plenty of issues to deal with which are the new Board’s focus. We are already working to improve the license review process, for example. But I’m really pleased with what we have all achieved over the last decade at OSI (and how it matches my 2010 manifesto!) and am thrilled that there’s an energetic, more diverse and younger crew taking over.