Proposal for OSI Memberhip Structure (coar)

The proposal below was made to the membership-discuss mailing list on 9 May 2006. Discussion on the list followed (view thread).

1. Membership.

I propose three types of membership:

  1. 'Interested party' affiliation:
    • No dues.
    • No approval necessary.
    • Permission to use a (to be designed) 'I support Open Source' graphic.
    • No ability to vote.
    • No special mailing list access.
  2. Contributing membership:
    • Annual dues TBD (~US$20 maybe, adjusted regionally).
    • Requires approval by membership.
    • Permission to use a (to be designed) 'OSI Member' graphic.
    • Binding franchise for contributing membership, officer, and corporate membership votes.
    • Subscription to a private OSI-only list.
    • Access to all OSI mailing lists save those which are specifically confidential.
  3. Corporate membership.
    • Annual dues TBD (~US$5'000 maybe).
    • Requires approval by board. (Ratification by membership?)
    • Permission to use a (to be designed) 'OSI Corporate Sponsor' graphic.
    • Non-binding advisory vote on admission of other corporate members.
    • No special mailing list access.

Annual meetings of contributing membership, called the Assembly, to vote on new members, board elections, other things requiring membership ratification. Combined physical and online participation (such as IRC) may be problematic; streaming of physical activity combined with some means for remote feedback maybe. More frequent meetings possible (such as at conferences), but not counted as 'annual' meetings where board is elected, etc.


  • Anyone should be able to 'raise a hand' and signify that they support OSI.
  • To have a say in what OSI does requires some sort of commitment. The 'approval' process is an attempted governor on being subverted by mass enlistments from any specific source. (Apache has this.) Scalability is problematic; a 'web of trust' mechanism may well be needed to supplement personal acquaintance.
  • Corporate membership is essentially buying a logo and the ability to advise OSI about business-scope behaviour of other corporate applicants, info that may not be otherwise available to OSI.

2. Regional representation.

  1. 'College of Representatives':
    Composed of one or more representatives from geographic, ethnic, or political regions. Fellows act as bi-directional conduits, providing dissemination of OSI information into their regions (potentially including translation) and act as points of contact with OSI for interests in their regions.
    1. Responsible for coordination of regional 'OSI user groups.'
    2. Fellowship includes contributing membership gratis whilst serving.
    3. Permission to use 'OSI regional fellow' graphic.
    4. Subscription to OSI-private 'college strategy' mailing list.
    5. Fellows appointed by board, ratified annually by members, may be proposed by members, and serve at the pleasure of the board.

Obviously the terms ('fellows,' 'college,' 'assembly') are just working ones; please don't get hung up on the words rather than what they're representing. :-)