OSI Board Meeting Minutes, Wednesday, November 12, 2008

OSI Board Meeting Minutes, Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Quorum reached and meeting called to order 08:09 am PST.


  1. Mr. Michael Tiemann, President
  2. Ms. Danese Cooper, Secretary and Treasurer
  3. Mr. Ken Coar, Director
  4. Mr. Martin Michlmayr, Director
  5. Ms. Nnenna Nwakanma, Director (via IRC, left 9:28am)
  6. Ms. Alolita Sharma, Director
  7. Mr. Russell Nelson, Director (at 8:12am)
  8. Mr. Rishab Aiyer Ghosh, Director (at 8:30am)



Expected, but Not Present:

  1. Mr. Andrew C. Oliver, Board Observer
  2. Mr. Zak Greant, Board Observer
  3. Mr. Mark Radcliffe, General Counsel
  4. Mr. Merrill Freund (Schwartz Communications)

Sent Regrets:

  1. Mr. Harshad Gune, Director
  2. Mr. Bruno Souza, Director
  3. Mr. Ernest Prabhakar
  4. Mr. Bdale Garbee
  5. Mr. Karl Fogel


1. Approval of minutes

October 1, 2008 minutes reviewed by Board. Ms. Cooper moved that Board vote to approve minutes as edited for public posting. Mr. Tiemann seconded. Passed unanimously with one abstain.

2. Officer Reports

a) President’s Report:

I have restarted my blogging effort after an early fall hiatus. I was greatly re-energized when Alex Castellanos explained the success of Barack Obama’s campaign in open source terms when he said:

“The seminal essay, in wonk speak here, is The Cathedral
and the Bazaar. The Cathedral is the old way of doing things–the way
Microsoft builds software. Do it our way, worship in our church, or you
don’t get to do it at all.
The open source movement in computer
engineering is people getting together from all over the world, and
building software from the bottom up.”

I had begun to believe that open source had become so mainstream that it was becoming pointless to try to keep up with the dozens of new open source implementations and policies being enacted every day, but this reference on CNN showed that there’s a whole new level of mainstream to be reached.

As for the OSI’s business, I corresponded with Ms. Cooper and our accountants about some historical tax issues, leading, I believe to a resolution of those matters. I also corresponded quite intensively with the folks from SIL.org (now SIL, but formerly known as the Summer Institute of Linguistics) about the Open Font License (OFL). As of this week, they have submitted the OFL to OSI review, and discussion has been vigorous. This is timely, because there are other font copyright holders who are looking for guidance as to how to make their fonts most useful to the open source community. This discussion will inform national-level progress for open source beyond Latin-1 countries.

I am concerned that there has still been a leadership vacuum in the membership-discuss list. I remain firm in my belief that it is not up to the Board per se, but up to the Chair and every member of the invited list to make of that group what they will, not necessarily in that order.

Finally, it is increasingly clear to me that a number of proprietary software companies are now seeking to run insurgent campaigns against open source, either by adopting open source offerings that are clearly second-class citizens to their proprietary offerings (thereby making open source appear as a second-class citizen), by making claims about open source participation or expertise that are clearly misleading or false, or by launching attacks (directly or indirectly) against open source projects, communities, licenses, and/or standards. How should the OSI respond to this, if at all? Should we merely take the high road, promoting the positives and let the market/community decide how to deal with these insurgent campaigns, or should we attempt to call out these actions, whether or not the company in question also does one or another thing that may, by itself, appear to be good for open source. Does one small positive action grant immunity from any number of larger destructive actions? The post-mortem analysis of the global credit crisis and ensuing economic meltdown suggests that we should take a far more holistic view and consider the totality of the question rather than looking at one questionable behavior and saying “how much harm will that do?”


Mr. Nelson reports on Adobe possibly supporting GNASH. Competition isn’t the same as insurgency. MSFT continues to lead the way on this subject (especially via Novell). Novell has many engineers doing good work, but their corporate strategy does harm. Oracle is another example. Mr. Ghosh commented on Oracle’s strategy as an endorsement of FOSS. Ms. Cooper reported on MSFT’s presence at ApacheCon, and question of whether to support specifically Sam Ramji’s group. Discussion of ombudsman group MSFT plans to start. Mr. Tiemann notes that OSI rises in media currency when we enter the discussion more vocally.

b) Secretary’s Report:

Back 990 form filing for years 2002-2007 completed by Ms. Cooper before State Franchise Tax Board deadline.

c) Treasurer’s Report:

Report on current cash and outstanding expenses.

d) General Counsel Report:


Discussion of whether Mr. Radcliffe would be willing to give OSI a statement on recent patent case. Also could Mr. Radcliffe have a look at the discussion about SIL with an eye to validity of discussion (legal merits).

3. Committee Reports

Licensing Committee

Mr. Nelson has sent his report to the Board on email.


a) UOML License 1.2 (UOMLL 1.2):

Mr. Nelson recommends that we make a clear statement that limiting field of use is not OSD-compliant. Discussion of merits of offering them a board discussion.

Rejection: Conditional open source distribution is possible under OSD, although all paths must lead to open source distribution.

b) SIL Open Font License:

Mr. Tiemann states that this discussion will have bearing on Japanese National License development. Discussion ongoing.

Mr. Nelson moves that we accept the license committee report with modification just made by Ms. Cooper in IRC. Mr. Coar seconded. Passed unanimously.

Update on License Proliferation project: No consensus yet on how to encourage the use of a small set of licenses. Some are reluctant to pick and choose.

Discussion of other licensing topics:

Ms. Cooper notes that this morning someone is trying to start a new discussion about a license without going through the process (see http://www.cilk.com/multicore-blog/bid/7191/The-Case-for-a-New-Open-Source-License).

Mr. Michlmayr would like EUPL v 1.0 to be OSI approved. Version 1.1 is in draft and localization. Expectation is that it will be OSD-compliant, although there is some question about whether it will be submitted. European Open Source Observatory was launched, and Mr. Tiemann notes that we could reach out to them to promote more cooperation. Discussion about FOSDEM presence.

Membership Committee

No report filed by Ms. Cooper.

4. Old Business

  • Trademark status and discussion (Mr. Tiemann)

Mr. Michlmayr asks whether there are rules for use of our trademark posted anywhere. This is Mr. Tiemann’s action item. Discussion of need to urgently push license stewards to correctly post trademark.

  • Update on ED fundraising (Ms. Cooper)

Ms. Cooper reported ongoing discussion with Mozilla.org and O’Reilly principals to refine plans for this effort. November needs a big push to secure funding.

  • Update on OSI’s Education project (Ms. Sharma)

Ms. Sharma reports that a wiki, subversion and a mailing list have been set up at projects.opensource.org at OSL for the OSI Education project.

  • Update on website cleanup (Ms. Sharma)

Ms. Sharma is currently working on website cleanup. Ms. Sharma will send out a report to the board once project is completed.

  • Update on website localization (Ms. Sharma)

Our longstanding interest in localization has been revived again.

Mr. Mallet’s assistant Robin Mullen has been working on setting up the latest Drupal modules to support language localization of OSI’s website. Various board members and observers have provided more details on requirements to Robin and we await progress on this front.

In the meantime, Ms. Sharma would like to present another approach for localizing opensource.org. There are non-profit websites who are using Google’s free translate tool to offer decent translations of each page on their websites. Ms. Sharma feels this could be a easier way of supporting translations on OSI’s website without having to go through a long process of first manually translating and then verifying the translations. Automation is good.

Check out the example of a website for SugarLabs using this approach at http://www.sugarlabs.org/go/Main_Page. Translated pages can be seen by clicking on the particular language on the top bar on each page.

Check out the translated pages at:

And check out OSI’s homepage translated

Just type in the URLs listed above in your browser. The approach is simple and can be done easily. Thoughts and comments are welcome.

  • Update on Where are some of our board members?

Board members monthly status reminder (Ms. Sharma, Mr. Coar)

In the October board meeting, it was discussed that each board member would email a brief status paragraph or bullets on their activities at least once a month. Ms. Sharma and Mr. Coar were to put together a process (specifically a crontab entry on opensource.org) which would send out a reminder to the BOD every month. Ms. Sharma has drafted the message and is currently awaiting for Mr. Coar to report completion of crontab set up.

New Business

  • Update on Meeting with South Korea Software Copyright Committee (Ms. Sharma)

Ms. Sharma met with Ms. Jung-Hyun Cho and her colleague of South Korea’s Software Copyright Committee (SOCOP) on Nov 3, 2008. SOCOP is a government organization under the Ministry of Culture. The meeting covered SOCOP’s objectives, and discussion of areas where OSI could provide expert guidance in open source licensing, education and advocacy. SOCOP is interested in signing a MOU with OSI to seek participation from OSI to help adoption of open source software in South Korea.

  • Software patents and the Bilski decision (Suggestion by Ms. Sharma)

Mr. Tiemann’s blog post (http://www.opensource.org/node/374) talks about software patents and an Indian perspective. The OSI (board as well general counsel) could do well to express a collective opinion on this important decision towards curbing software business process patents. From feedback I receive, many who look up to the OSI as an organization that has been around as long as open source has would like to hear about OSI’s take on this movement.

  • Next Face to Face meeting discussion

FOSDEM is to be held on February 7-8 in Brussels. Is the next BOD F2F to be held in conjuction with FOSDEM? We need to finalize details to plan travel.

  • Editorial stance of OSI in blogs and other statements–should we become more strident?

Meeting Adjourned 10:04 PDT.