webmink's blog

Assume Good Faith



You feel slighted by a comment on a mailing list, or a forum post has failed to be moderated live. How should you react?

A recent exchange on a user forum caught my eye, one that’s typical of many user interactions with open source communities. Someone with a technical question had apparently had the answer they needed and to help others in the same situation had posted a summary of the resolution, complete with sample code. When they came back later, the summary was gone.

Why OSI License Approval Matters



Individual judgment about the presence of software freedom in a license is not the same as community consensus expressed through OSI approval.

Does it really matter if a copyright license is OSI Approved or not? Surely if it looks like it meets the benchmark that’s all that matters? I think that’s the wrong answer, and that OSI license approval is the crucial innovation that’s driven the open source revolution.

Permissive and Copyleft Are Not Antonyms



Using the term “permissive” as an antonym to “copyleft” – or “restrictive” as its synonym – are unhelpful framing. Describe license reciprocity instead.

Some open source licenses implement a clever hack invented by Richard Stallman where, as a condition of the copyright license, anyone creating derived versions has to agree they will license the new version the same way as the original. In a play on words, this concept is called “copyleft” and many open source licenses implement this hack.

Handing On The Baton

I joined in with the Open Source Initiative in 2008, was elected to its Board in 2010 and became its President in 2012. Along with the Board, I've pursued a vision of OSI transforming into a membership organisation, serving open source not only as steward of the Open Source Definition and arbiter of which licenses satisfy its requirements and thus deliver software freedom, but also as an enabler for people and organisations that want to make open source better and more popular.

OSI Board Changes 2014

April annually sees the start of the OSI Board year, with resulting vacancies and the appointment of directors to fill them. This year saw vacancies arising due to the retirement of Board officers -- Karl Fogel, who has done a tremendous job as OSI's Treasurer, and of Martin Michlmayr, whose work as OSI's Secretary has been beyond measure. Also leaving due to term limits is Harshad Gune, and Richard Fontana's seat was open due to the one-year terms for directors representing Individual Members.

OSI Director Receives Open Source Award

Congratulations to OSI Director Martin Michlmayr, who was one of the recipients of an O'Reilly Open Source Award at OSCON in Portland, OR last week. He was recognised for his long-standing contributions to the Debian project, where he has served two years in the demanding role of Debian Project Lead and remains an active contributor after ten years. Richly deserved recognition for a quiet and effective contributor who just gets stuff done - bravo, Martin!

OSI Congratulates Richard Stallman And Other Hall-Of-Fame Inductees

The OSI Board extends congratulations to Richard M Stallman on his induction into the Internet Hall of Fame. His work with the GNU Project and the various forms of the General Public License has been a key force in the evolution of Free and Open Source software and he has been an inspiration. We also congratulate the other inductees on the recognition of their contribution to the Internet.

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