Open Source Initiative blogs

  1. OSI Board Changes 2014

    April annually sees the start of the OSI Board year, with resulting vacancies and the appointment of directors to fill them. This year saw vacancies arising due to the retirement of Board officers -- Karl Fogel, who has done a tremendous job as OSI's Treasurer, and of Martin Michlmayr, whose work as OSI's Secretary has been beyond measure. Also leaving due to term limits is Harshad Gune, and Richard Fontana's seat was open due to the one-year terms for directors representing Individual Members.

    The Board turned to OSI's growing membership to fill the resulting four vacancies. Three of the vacancies were allocated for filling by people selected by the Individual Members, and the other was assigned to the Affiliate Members (comprising open source related non-profit organisations). Using approval voting, the Individual members selected Allison Randal (68% approval), Richard Fontana (61% approval) and Leslie Hawthorn (42% approval) -- each to serve for one year -- and the Affiliate Members selected Stefano Zacchiroli to serve for three years. Commiserations to the other candidates, and thanks for participating.

    The new OSI Board will be meeting soon in Boston to make plans for the coming year. During this meeting we'll welcome the new Directors, select a President for 2014, meet with the Free Software Foundation and review our strategy for transformation. We are very grateful for your continued support and aim to make OSI ever more valuable both to its members and to the wider open source community.

    Simon Phipps (OSI President, 2013)

  2. Open Source Initiative (OSI) announces new Affiliate Members

    By Deb Bryant
    March 12, 2014

    Palo Alto, California — The Open Source Initiative (www.opensource.org) is very pleased to announce two new organizations have joined the OSI as Affiliate Members: inBloom (www.inbloom.org) and LinuxFest Northwest (www.linuxfestnorthwest.org). The OSI Board of Directors offers a warm welcome to both!

    With inBloom and LinuxFest Northwest joining as OSI Affiliates, our membership of non-profit organizations supporting our mission—to educate about and advocate for the benefits of open source, and to build bridges among different constituencies in the open source community—increases to thirty. OSI Affiliate Members help define the direction and development of, not only the organization itself, but the open source community as well. OSI Affiliates may serve on the OSI Board—contributing their unique perspectives, expertise and vision; create and participate in a variety of special-interest working groups—collaborating with other organizations for the mutual benefit of open source development, and; extend their own networks by partnering with other Affiliates—extending awareness of and participation in their own projects and communities.

    inBloom is an independent nonprofit organization that provides efficient and cost-effective means for school districts to give teachers the information and tools necessary to strengthen their connection with each student. inBloom’s Secure Data Service enables widely varied educational tools to work together so that teachers can more easily tailor education to the needs, skill level and learning pace of each individual student. It can also engage parents more deeply in their children’s learning, and save teachers time and schools money. In addition, inBloom offers a substantial security upgrade to the common resources being used, including paper records or disconnected and antiquated databases with few security features.

    "inBloom intends to become a champion of open source software development in the context of educational tools for K12 and fully uphold the Open Source Definition. As a company that has built a disruptive technology for an industry where there is a lot of resistance to change, our mission mirrors that of the OSI as educators and advocates for the transparency and community involvement that is synonymous with open source software,” said Vincent Mayers, Open Source Community Manager at inBloom.

    LinuxFest Northwest provides a creative environment for the open source community to come together to share new, innovative ideas, and promote through educational activities Linux/open source software principles and technologies to the general public.

    Bill Wright, Board Member of LinuxFest Northwest, noted, “As a nonprofit organization we feel a strong camaraderie with the OSI in mutually promoting our goal to facilitate a viable and effective Linux and open source community.”

    This April 26th and 27th marks LinuxFest Northwest's 15th year anniversary to be celebrated during their annual conference in Bellingham, WA. Join the Linux and open source communities, along with Jon "Maddog" Hall, Monty Widenius, The EFF and ACLU, as well as the OSI team and many others for a weekend of collaboration, community and creation: see the LinuxFest Northwest website for more details.

    The OSI would like to thank both the community and leadership of inBloom and LinuxFest Northwest for their trust and participation. "The OSI vision of building bridges within the open source community is strengthened and advanced by these two additions," said OSI President Simon Phipps.

    The OSI Affiliate Member program allows non-profit and not-for-profit organizations to become OSI members. Full details of OSI Affiliate Membership and the names of the Affiliate Members are available on OSI's Affiliate Membership pages (www.opensource.org/affiliates) together with details for other non-profit and not-for profit organizations on how to join. Individuals can also become Members at www.opensource.org/join

    About the Open Source Initiative

    The Open Source Initiative (OSI) is a California public benefit corporation, with 501(c)3 tax-exempt status, founded in 1998. The OSI is the stewards of the Open Source Definition (OSD) and the community-recognized body for reviewing and approving licenses as OSD-conformant and is also actively involved in Open Source community-building, education, and public advocacy to promote awareness and the importance of non-proprietary software. OSI Board members frequently travel the world to attend Open Source conferences and events, meet with open source developers and users, and to discuss with executives from the public and private sectors about how Open Source technologies, licenses, and models of development can provide economic and strategic advantages.

    Press Contact:  press@opensource.org

  3. OSI joins FSF in amicus brief in Alice v. CLS Bank

    Yesterday, the Open Source Initiative, alongside the Free Software Foundation, filed a "friend of the court" brief in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank, a case currently being considered by the United States Supreme Court. (pdf, html) In this case, the Court has asked, in essence, under what conditions (if any) software is "patent-eligible subject matter" under Section 101 of the US patent statute.

    Drafted by the Software Freedom Law Center, the OSI-FSF brief argues that the "machine or transformation" test is the correct, and exclusive, bright line test for patent eligibility of computer-implemented inventions. In particular, the brief argues that this test is in keeping with the Supreme Court's existing patent jurisprudence, including the recent Bilski v. Kappos case; and that this position is also consistent with freedom of speech and the First Amendment (a position also supported by the ACLU in this case). Most current software patents would not be able to meet the requirements of this test.

    OSI joined this brief because of OSI's overall position on software patents: that they do more harm than good to the software industry, and that they are particularly damaging to free and open source development, which depends on the unencumbered exchange of ideas between community members. Beyond the legal arguments already mentioned, the brief seeks to educate the Court about the recent history of software innovation, and free and open source software's role in that history, to show that following the Court's rulings in cases like Gottschalk v. Benson would help, not hinder, innovation in the industry. (EFF also focused on this argument in their brief.) We hope the Court will find this persuasive and lift this onerous burden, so that the entire industry - and open source in particular - can focus our resources on creating software that enriches all of us, instead of on legal battles over the ownership of abstract ideas.

  4. Hello OSI Community Members,

    I'm pleased to announce a major step in the development of the OSI. As our new General Manager, I'd like to take a few moments to introduce myself, and also provide a bit more information about both the new GM role itself, as well as some of the new programs identified by the OSI Board of Directors to extend and enable our mission.

    First, I must say how honored, humbled and excited I am to join the OSI community in our mission, to educate about and advocate for the benefits of open source, and to build bridges among different constituencies in the open source community. While the OSI is recognized around the globe as the stewards of the Open Source Definition and the authority on open source licenses, it is the open source community—all of you—that truly drives development, promotes adoption and encourages participation. It is my sincere desire, and my highest priority, to meaningfully contribute to and promote your efforts in my new role as GM.

    I also want to thank the current Board of Directors for their trust in inviting me to join the organization, as well as all of the OSI's previous Directors who have so passionately contributed ideas and ideals throughout the years—establishing the foundation for the reputation and credibility the OSI enjoys today.

    Most importantly, I want to acknowledge the new, and growing, OSI membership—the individuals, affiliates and corporate patrons. It was just in June of last year that the OSI Board of Directors outlined a plan to transition from an all volunteer, to a membership-driven organization: and response from the open source community has been inspiring. As the new GM (and an OSI member myself) one of the most exciting aspects moving forward will be engaging with and working among the membership to: define areas of interest; help direct OSI activities, and; empower working groups to drive development. Indeed, I am hoping the OSI itself can operate like an open source project.

    As far as my background, I have spent the past 25 years working in various roles within higher education and technology: first as a Programmer Analyst at UCLA, and most recently, serving as the Chief Technology Officer for UMassOnline within the UMass Office of the President. Throughout my career I have actively promoted the awareness and adoption of, as well as participation in, open source software communities and particularly the values of the Open Source Initiative.

    Over the next few months I, with the help of the Board, will be reaching out to the OSI community to not only introduce the various initiatives we feel will increase the OSI's profile, influence and participation as a membership organization promoting the awareness and adoption of open source, but also increase our members network (i.e. your contacts, collaborations and communities) of like-minded peers to promote their (i.e. your) own interests, projects and activities. These include:

    • OSI Working Groups: these special interest groups provide opportunities—and resources—for OSI volunteers and members to self-organize around affinity issues and projects. If you want to do something to help further the OSI mission, we want to help you.
    • Extending OSI Membership: broader membership and participation creates a support model to pursue the OSI mission via individual contributions, non-profit affiliations and corporate sponsorships. Broad participation creates a community of interest, not only supporting the OSI's activities, but also extending support to the members' themselves around similar, local and/or unique interests. How can we incentivize open source developers, advocates and users to join, collaborate and contribute to a community of practice and specifically open source?
    • Membership elections: OSI's individual and affiliate members can nominate and vote for OSI Board Directors. If you want to take on a leadership role, the OSI wants you to too!
    • Updating the OSI communication channels: Where are our constituents (online and across the globe)... what are they doing... how can we help? From our website, our blog and email lists—to conferences and user groups, it's time to invest a bit in how we reach out and, critically, learn from the open source community.

    Of course, I have much, much to learn about not only the OSI's current interests and activities, but most importantly, the dedicated community of practice who makes everything we do possible, and without whom the OSI could not be, or continue on as, the globally recognized and respected institution it is in defining technology development and use.

    Again, I am thrilled and thankful to take on this new role and I sincerely thank you for your ongoing interest in, and participation with, the OSI—I look forward to working with you. Please feel free to contact me directly, I am very interested to hear your thoughts and ideas.

    Thank you

    Patrick Masson,
    General Manager, Director & Secretary of the Board
    Email: masson@opensource.org
  5. OSI Names New General Manager

    Newly Appointed General Manager Patrick Masson Joins OSI from University of Massachusetts

    The Open Source Initiative (OSI) announced today that it has appointed Patrick Masson as General Manager effective November 8, 2013. Masson is the organization's first full-time management appointment in its fifteen year history. His hiring will support and supplement the organization's volunteer community.

    “Patrick’s accomplishments within the educational tech community, organizational experience and passion for advocacy of open source make him a solid match for the job” said Deborah Bryant, OSI board director who led the board’s search to fill the position. “The hiring of a general manager signals the board's deep commitment carrying out the non-profit's mission".

    Patrick Masson joins the Open Source Initiative after working for twenty years within higher education, most recently serving as the chief technology officer for the University of Massachusetts' online learning provider, UMassOnline.

    “I am very excited—and quite humbled—to join the Open Source Initiative as its general manager” said Masson. “The OSI has been fundamental in, not only the advocation and defense of open source as a development and licensing model, but also its adoption by both software communities and end-users. I am very excited, and feel quite fortunate, to come on board at a time of renewed focus within the organization, helping to extend the OSI's value proposition, while increasing opportunities for participation across the open source community for both individual participants as well as the organizations we serve.”

    Masson has also held positions as chief information officer at The State University of New York, College of Technology at Delhi, director of technology for the SUNY Learning Network, and director of the UCLA Media Lab. He has worked in various roles to raise the awareness and adoption of open source across the higher education sector, including as a board member of the Jasig Foundation; Project Incubation Committee Member for the Apereo Foundation; co-chair of EDUCAUSE's Openness Constituent Group; founder of the 2-3-98 Project, and; "SIG Master" for NERCOMP's Open Source in Higher Education Special Interest Group.

    About OSI: The Open Source Initiative (OSI) is a California public benefit corporation, with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, founded in 1998. OSI is the steward of the Open Source Definition (OSD) and the community-recognized body for reviewing and approving open source licenses. OSI’s mission is global in scope, and was formed to educate about and advocate for the benefits of open source and to build bridges among different constituencies in the open source community. More information can be found on OSI’s web site at opensource.org.

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