Deb Nicholson's blog

Open Source is a Relay Race: Reflections from our Outgoing Interim General Manager

I've been an individual member and occasional volunteer of the OSI for a long time, but signing on in August 2020 as Interim General Manager was a jump into the deep end. Much of OSI's past work was informed by the connections and conversations held with members and stakeholders in person, so we had to chart a different path while still grounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

My challenge was to look for ways to continue our work during lockdown, keep the organization moving forward through a transitional year and support the board on its journey towards a visioning body that works with a staff-driven organization. Now it’s time to hand things over to our new Executive Director, Stefano Maffulli but first I’d like to recap my time spent in navigating these waters.

Thank You for a Fantastic First POSI!

We’d like to take a moment to thank our community for making our event on Practical Open Source Information a resounding success -- with more than 300 attendees, 30 speakers, a brilliant keynote address from Heather Leson of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies about the role open source plays in humanitarian efforts, and three tracks, our half-day event proved to be a valuable space for many members of our community to come together and discuss a wide range of pressing issues affecting open source practitioners everywhere. (Recordings of all event talks and panels will be made available shortly!)

OSI’s 2021 Board Election is Concluded

Our Individual seat winners are Aeva Black and Catharina Maracke -- both new to the OSI Board. We are also welcoming Hong Phuc Dang back and are excited to have Thierry Carrez join us as a new Affiliate Board Member. Thank you to all our members and affiliates for your discussions, your participation and your votes. 

Welcoming Betsy to OSI's Team

We recently brought on Betsy Waliszewski to serve as our Director of Sustainability. She’s in charge of our fundraising efforts and sharpening up our communications with all the many stakeholders in the open source community and we couldn’t be more excited.

 

Betsy comes to us after many years of involvement with several different parts of the open source community. Some of you may have met her during her sixteen years with O’Reilly Media, the longtime organizational host of the recently, (sadly) discontinued OSCON. Others of you may have met Betsy during her recent six year stint at the Python Software Foundation where she served as their very successful Sponsorship Coordinator and Administrator. 

FOSS for the Future: Welcoming Teckids as an Affiliate Member

We're excited to announce that Teckids e.V. is joining OSI as an Affiliate Member. Teckids is an educational organisation based in Germany that focuses on providing Free Software resources and tools for students and educators. Teckids involves children and young people at all levels — from workshop preparation to website management, social media and the charitys board. Teckids also holds events and workshops to raise awareness for teamwork and democracy.
 

Practical Open Source Information: New Event

The Open Source Initiative will be holding a half-day virtual event on September 16th to discuss Practical Open Source Information (POSI). Our audience for this series is companies, nonprofits and academic institutions that are interested in using more open source. By hearing from current practitioners, new adopters will be able to get up to speed more quickly and (hopefully) avoid some of the mistakes others have made.

OSI Election Update: Trust and Transparency in the 2021 Board Election

We are committed to nothing less than complete restoration of trust in OSI elections, and transparency as to precisely what went wrong with our initial 2021 Board Election.

 

While our Board was initially confident we could re-run a successful election starting today, lots of people have raised quite reasonable doubts--and then some less reasonable fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) seeped into the discourse. We’re changing plans accordingly.

Re-Running Our 2021 Board Election

We've already let our candidates, affiliate representatives and voting members know, but we also wanted to let the public know. This week we found a vulnerability in our voting processes that was exploited and had an impact on the outcome of the recent Board Election. That vulnerability has now been closed. OSI will engage an independent expert to do a forensic investigation to help us understand how this happened and put measures in place to keep it from ever happening again.

OSI Events: Future & Recent Appearances

Are you missing catching up with OSI at events? We miss it too! We have been staying busy with online events and hope you’ll be able to stay current with us from the comfort of your home. This weekend is the 13th FOSSASIA event. FOSSASIA is an OSI Affiliate organization and this year’s event takes place from March 13th to March 21st. OSI’s Vice President, Hong Phuc Dang will deliver the opening keynote on Saturday. 

Big Gains for Open Aerospace: Interview with Open Research Institute

The Open Research Institute (ORI) is an OSI Affiliate project that works to facilitate worldwide collaboration in the development of technology. The past year has been a particularly exciting one -- achieving some groundbreaking wins for open source in aerospace. ORI’s co-founder and CEO, Michelle Thompson took some time out of her busy schedule to talk with me about their recent regulatory initiatives.  

 

DN: Can you tell us a little bit about the Open Research Institute's history and mission?

 

MT: Open Research Institute's mission is to provide a friendly, safe, and accessible place to do open source research and development for amateur radio and beyond. We have been fully operational since March 2019 and have contributed technical and regulatory work central to the mission of the international amateur radio service. This work is useful outside of the amateur community because it allows a wide variety of organizations to use open source communications technology where they would otherwise have to reinvent a wheel, or restrict the work to US persons only. 

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To promote and protect open source software and communities...

For over 20 years the Open Source Initiative (OSI) has worked to raise awareness and adoption of open source software, and build bridges between open source communities of practice. As a global non-profit, the OSI champions software freedom in society through education, collaboration, and infrastructure, stewarding the Open Source Definition (OSD), and preventing abuse of the ideals and ethos inherent to the open source movement.

Open source software is made by many people and distributed under an OSD-compliant license which grants all the rights to use, study, change, and share the software in modified and unmodified form. Software freedom is essential to enabling community development of open source software.