Page created on March 14, 2007 | Last modified on September 7, 2022


(San Francisco, California) The Open Source Initiative
( today announces its intention to expand its
activities beyond its stewardship of the Open Source Definition and the
certification of Open Source licenses consistent with that definition.
These new activities will include

  • the establishment of principles of Open Source development and
    best practices
  • the creation of a registry of software projects that adhere to those
  • the definition of Open Standards that are consistent with Open
    Source (licenses, principles, and practices)
  • inclusion of international perspectives and initiatives related to
    Open Source.

To address these issues as responsibly as the OSI has managed the Open
Source Definition, the OSI anticipates expanding the board to nine
people, drawing many new board members from outside the US. To lead
these new initiatives, the board has elected new officers. Russ
Nelson will become President of the OSI, and Michael Tiemann will
become Vice President. Danese Cooper will continue as Secretary /

Also today in view of these expanded activities OSI announces the
appointment of two new legal counselors. The position of General
Counsel will be held by Mark F. Radcliffe, Esq., a partner at DLA
Piper Rudnick Gray Cary US LLP. The new position of Director of Legal
Affairs will be held by Laura Majerus, Esq., a partner at Fenwick &
West, LLP.

“OSI can benefit from fresh ideas and new energy like every open source
project”, said Lawrence Rosen, OSI’s first general counsel and secretary
and its one-time executive director. “I’m pleased and looking forward to
helping Mark and Laura as they take on their new roles, and I will
continue to support OSI’s activities to advise the open source community
on licensing and related issues.”

Open Source licensing has become one of the most important topics in the
software industry today, and with good reason. Software covered by
OSI-certified licenses, such as the Linux kernel, the Apache webserver,
and the Firefox web browser have achieved industry-leading status in
terms of innovation, support for standards, adoption, and, increasingly,
preference for new implementations. And interest in Open Source
licenses and Open Source licensing is only growing as more and more
users, companies, governments, and developers seek to adopt, practice,
and profit from Open Source.

The term Open Source was coined in 1998 to help explain, in a
business-friendly way, the technical and economic benefits of sharing,
rather than restricting, the availability of computer source code. A
developer’s talents, abilities, and education determine what he or she
can do with software. The size and connectedness of a developer
community determines what they can do when they all work together. A
software company can hire talented developers and get them to work
together, but when those developers are prohibited from sharing outside
their closed community, their potential, and the software they create,
is very limited. By contrast, a software license that permits
developers the freedom to work on any software, any time, with anybody,
creates a far greater potential–given that there are many more
developers outside any given company than there are working inside any
company. The OSI chose to focus on Open Source licensing because we saw
that as the most powerful way to maximize the developer’s potential and
community’s potential, at least for Open Source software.

“One of the natural growth passages of a successful institution is
outgrowing the need for its founders to be running things,” said Eric
S. Raymond, founder and outgoing President. Raymond, under the title
President Emeritus, will continue to do outreach and ambassadorial
work for OSI. “One of the most important parts of any founder or
leader’s responsibility is to know when to step aside and let that
growth happen.”

“Open Source isn’t limited to individuals and the hacker community
anymore. Organizations of all sizes, state, local, and national
governments are embracing free and open source software and are adopting
it in record numbers. Stresses on the Open Source community, including
big corporate involvement and the expectations of a growing user
community are challenges OSI can help with”, said Russ Nelson,
President of the OSI. “We’ll be offering initiatives aimed at
meeting the needs of what has become a serious and professional software

While the OSI could continue to focus narrowly on licensing topics, Open
Source has grown to touch many other issues. As the Open Source
community itself has shown, sometimes the best way to solve a problem is
to break it into smaller pieces. We have decided to expand our scope so
that we can address Open Source in the context of international issues,
software project practices, and open standards problems as separate
from, even if highly related to, Open Source licensing. In so doing, we
believe we can strengthen what Open Source means as well as expanding
the role it plays in society.


The Open Source Initiative is a 501(c)3 California public benefit
corporation. It was founded in 1998 to recognize and promote the
burgeoning Open Source model of software development. Its programs
consist of an informal speaker’s bureau, a widely-accepted definition
of what constitutes Open Source Software, a certification program for
upholding the quality of licensing of Open Source software, and a
website educating visitors of the benefits of Open Source. The Open
Source Initiative may be contacted through its website at Russ Nelson may be contacted via email at
[email protected].