OSI Reform At FOSDEM

In preparation for my keynote at FOSDEM, I was interviewed by the team who have just posted the interview. In particular, I noted this background to the governance reform, which readers here might find useful:

Why exactly did OSI decide to reorganize its governance from a board-only organization into a member-based structure? How will this new governance allow OSI to address its mission better?

As you'll read at its website, "the Open Source Initiative is a non-profit corporation with global scope formed in 1998 to educate about and advocate for the benefits of open source and to build bridges among different constituencies in the open source community." Despite the breadth of that mission, it has focussed almost exclusively on approval of licenses as compliant with the Open Source Definition. The Board felt that it was time to return to that initial mission and work on the broader goals too.

We hope that as a consequence of the switch to a member organisation, OSI will be able to educate, advocate and build bridges as well as continuing as a "standards body for licenses". Our success opposing CPTN's attempt to buy Novell's patents (among other things we did in 2011) has given a hint of the force that could be unleashed for software freedom by having a neutral and uniting venue for education and advocacy.

I also posted an overview of FOSDEM on ComputerWorldUK - take a look. And if you'll be there too, say hello!

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.