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OSI Board Blog

A new argument against SWPAT (thanks to environmental economics)

I've heard a lot of arguments against software patents (SWPAT) since Richard Stallman first raised the flag at the League for Programming Freedom, and almost all of the arguments are variations on a theme. A valid theme, but a theme that, after 20 years, has become a bit monotonous. Herman Daly puts that theme in a new context that has me all excited. He says

US CIO Vivek Kundra Advocates Open Source Software

According to a feature article in Federal Computer Weekly, the Obama Administration's new CIO Vivek Kundra has specifically called out open source as one of the key technology initiatives he will support to make the government work better at a lower cost (and with greater transparency). But the article continues to point out what seem to be persistent talking points of the FUD spinner, and this is where we need to make some real progress.

Announcing first Africa Open Source Fellowship in memory of Guido Sohne

Launched on the eve of his birthday, the Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA) and the Advanced Information Technology Institute of the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Center for Excellence in ICT (AITI-KACE), have decided to join forces with the Sohne family to establish a Fellowship in memory and honour of the great work that Guido accomplished. So I was not worried to make the 15-hour road trip to get to Accra to be part of the event.

Copyrights and patents not so important, economist says

Michele Boldrin of Washington University in St. Louis talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about intellectual property and Boldrin's book, co-written with David Levine, Against Intellectual Property. Boldrin argues that copyright and patent are used by the politically powerful to maintain monopoly profits. He argues that the incentive effects that have been used to justify copyright and patents are exaggerated--few examples from history suggest that the temporary and not-so-temporary monopoly power from copyright and patents were necessary to induce innovation. Boldrin reviews some of that evidence and talks about the nature of competition. Listen to the interview.

Trash Talk

The story of "Let's Do It!" is both a story of civic triumph and a validation of open source software technology. But like the successful campaign of Barack Obama, the story of the actual open source software used is far less important and far less interesting than the story of how much the principles of the open source model were brought to bear in solving a problem that seemed virtually hopeless using conventional means.

It's about time: a return to anti-trust enforcement

A special report from CNNMoney.com quotes Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney saying "As antitrust enforcers, we can no longer sit on the sidelines." It's about time!

2009 OSI Board Elections held in April

The OSI board's annual nominations and elections were held on April 1, 2009.

Highlights of this process included:

1. New Board Membership:
The board seat vacated by Mr. Bruno Souza was filled by Mr. Andrew Oliver, who has been a board observer for the last year.
2. Amendment to OSI's By-laws:

Open Database License

If you think open data is as important as open source, then please take a look at a release candidate of the Open Database License (ODbL). It uses a combination of EU database rights, contract, and copyright to create a reciprocal license specifically designed for databases.

An Open Source Silo

Okay, so Doc Searls has been blogging for a long time about how you don't want to get involved in a silo (context: a silo is a proprietary user interface built on top of proprietary APIs built on top of a proprietary operating system running on proprietary hardware. If you can't think of any examples, pull your cellphone out of your pocket and think about it for two seconds).

Wanted: Future trainers on "Free & Open Source Business Models for Africa" in East and Southern Africa!

- Are you interested in building a successful business in Free/Open Source Software (FOSS), and in helping others to do the same?

- Do you have a solid background in business and FOSS?

- Do you have experience in training others, and/or are you part of a training institution?

Then respond by MAY 30 to become part of an exciting training programme on building businesses with Free/Open Source Software. The call for participants in the Training of Trainers is now open at the project site

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