Open Source Initiative blogs

  1. prPIG Joins the Open Source Initiative
    Partnership will educate students regarding the power of open source software and spur technological and social innovation.

    PRLog - Aug. 25, 2014 - PALO ALTO, Calif. -- The Open Source Initiative ® (OSI), the premiere organization that promotes and protects open source, announced today that the Puerto Rico Python Interest Group (prPIG) has joined the OSI as an Affiliate Member. prPIG’s support of open source software development and its advocacy for the adherence to the open source definition are supporting software innovation in Puerto Rico. prPIG’s affiliation with OSI will help build a sustainable software development community in Puerto Rico, that will drive technological and social innovation.

    "prPIG offers free workshops and seminars to educate about and advocate for the benefits of Open Source. To grow our community and increase our reach we will continue to build bridges among different constituencies, focusing especially on high school and university students,” said Kevin Shockey, founder of prPIG. “Our belief is that by exposing students to the Open Source Definition, we can illustrate the promise of open source and provide a viable alternative to predatory vendor lock-in."

    "We are pleased to have prPIG join our community,” said Patrick Masson, general manager of the OSI. “prPIG captures the very essence of the Open Source movement, where communities of practice self-organize around common goals to share and co-create. prPIG is helping set the standard for peer-driven development across Puerto Rico while also contributing to the larger Python community."

    The prPIG was founded to provide an additional community beyond the limited options of the proprietary software industry in Puerto Rico. prPIG works to raise awareness and adoption of Open Source software and development practices throughout Puerto Rico's technology, government and private sectors where proprietary software development technologies have traditionally been dominant.

    The OSI protects and promotes open source by providing a foundation for community success. It champions open source in society through education, infrastructure and collaboration. For more information about the OSI, or to learn how to become an affiliate, please visit http://wiki.opensource.org/bin/Communities/Affiliates.

    About the Puerto Rico Python Interest Group

    The Puerto Rico Python Interest Group (prPIG) works to increase the number of software developers and the amount of software written in Puerto Rico. A key goal is to change the paradigm in Puerto Rico, from one in which information technology is a cost-center to one that acknowledges the strategic value of IT. You can find out more about prPIG at http://www.prpig.org/p/about.html or by following prPIG on Twitter via @pr_PIG.

    About the Open Source Initiative

    Founded in 1998, the Open Source Initiative protects and promotes open source by providing a foundation for community success. It champions open source in society through education, infrastructure and collaboration. The (OSI) is a California public benefit corporation, with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.

    Media-Only Contact:
    Ed Schauweker
    Agile Public Relations for OSI
    ed@agilepr.net
    (703) 963-5238

  2. OSI and Conservancy Announce US Tax Exemption Working Group

    Software Freedom Conservancy and the Open Source Initiative are pleased to announce that they are the founding members of a working group focused on tax exemption issues for organizations in the United States.

    Recent activity by the Internal Revenue Service in response to applications for tax exempt status have sparked a lot of interest and discussion amongst free and open source software communities.

    OSI and Conservancy recognize that the IRS's understanding and evaluation of free and open source software can impact both new organizations created to promote the public good as charities (known as 501(c)(3) organizations after the corresponding tax code provision), as well as new organizations formed to forward a common business interest (known as 501(c)(6) organizations).

    The working group will be open to equal participation from all concerned parties, and the working group will seek to recruit legal experts to participate in its processes. Aaron Williamson, partner at Tor Ekeland, will chair the group.

    We've been watching this issue for some time and look forward to pooling our resources with other organizations and companies, said Karen Sandler, Executive Director of Software Freedom Conservancy. Together we can come to a better understanding of the IRS's perspective and plan strategically to communicate the value and importance of the corporate forms we choose.

    Over the years, applying for 501(c)(3) or (c)(6) status has become the de facto standard for new FLOSS projects in the US, said Allison Randal, Director of the Open Source Initiative. It's not clear yet whether recent responses from the IRS are isolated special cases or represent a more general trend, but it is worthwhile to look into the topic more deeply, and ensure we have a strong and diverse set of healthy growth patterns for FLOSS projects, to last decades into the future.

    Those interested in getting involved with this working group should contact Allison Randal at <allison@opensource.org>.

  3. OPEN SOURCE INITIATIVE (OSI) ANNOUNCES NEW AFFILIATE MEMBER

    By Leslie Hawthorn
    July 8, 2014

    Palo Alto, California — The Open Source Initiative (opensource.org) is very pleased to announce DemocracyLab (democracylab.org) has joined the OSI as an Affiliate Member. DemocracyLab works to develop tools for civic engagement that promote awareness, collect insights and share ideas to address public need in government. "DemocracyLab seeks to harness our collective intelligence to address society's most difficult problems by creating open source software tools that help communities frame issues, deliberate solutions, make decisions and take collective action. To accomplish this, we are creating a participation environment for users, developers and supporters of civic tech that facilitates communication and collaboration among stakeholders," said Mark Frischmuth, founder and board chairman of DemocracyLab. Today open source models, enabled through the standards set forth in the Open Source Definition, empower a growing number of disciplines across diverse peer-driven communities of practice. DemocracyLab is a great example of how open source methods can serve its traditional role in the technology sector while enhancing development within the pubic sector. "The mission and vision at DemocracyLab was built upon shared values of open source software, transparency, meritocracy of ideas, and open participation. It simply makes sense that DemocracyLab should become an OSI affiliate." added Deb Bryant, who serves on both the DemocracyLab and OSI Boards.

    The OSI welcomes DemocracyLab to our community of 30+ Affiliate Members and we look forward to working with them to continue our education of, and advocacy for. the benefits of open source, and to build bridges across the various constituencies of the open source community.

    About DemocracyLab

    DemocracyLab is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization aspiring to revolutionize civic dialogue. DemocracyLab is a diverse group of volunteers working together to create online tools to help communities identify problems, construct solutions, make decisions and take collaborative action. You can learn more about Democracy lab at democracylab.org or by emailing, info@democracylab.org.

    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. You can learn more about the OSI at opensource.org or by emailing, osi@opensource.org.

    Press Contact: press@opensource.org

  4. Why should I care about privacy, when I have nothing to hide?

    Published by Reset The Net on 30 April 2014

    We get this a lot. There are a million answers (our favorite short one is “Nothing to hide? Really?”) but here’s something thoughtful and comprehensive to share with a friend the next time it comes up. The short version? None of the freedom and progress we’ve won over the past century would have been possible without the freedom to change things (starting with our own lives first) that privacy gives us.

    Imagine a world where you were constantly being judged by everyone around you, suffering immediately, or years down the road, for anything you did or said that was unusual, unpopular, or against the rules. In that kind of world, social and economic progress grinds to a halt, because everyone’s afraid to rock the boat!

    Social progress

    Gay rights. Interracial marriage. Medical marijuana. None of these would exist now if people were unable to break the rules in the privacy of their own home, building momentum and legitimacy until they could show the world what change looked like, that it wasn’t so scary, and that it could make the world a better place.

    We owe massive amounts of social and economic progress to privacy. Think about it. Don’t take it for granted.

    Liberty & even beer

    Think about the prohibition of alcohol that took hold in the 1920s. Prohibition crumbled because people defied it, raising the social cost of enforcement. If prohibition had been 100% enforceable due to mass surveillance, it would have been much harder to get rid of.

    You probably wouldn’t even be able to drink alcohol in the US, if people couldn’t privately defy prohibition. Remember that, the next time you crack open a cold beer on a hot day.

    A ticking time bomb

    The NSA’s current capability extends beyond privacy invasion. Right now, the NSA’s access give it the power to secretly undermine the work of journalists and elected leaders around the globe, intimidating sources and tipping elections. The NSA abuses this secrecy to undermine the systems (like Congressional oversight) meant to keep it in check. It’s hard to imagine something someone with the power Edward Snowden had couldn’t do in total secrecy. This capability to subvert democratic systems is a timebomb, waiting to go off.

    And it will, if we let it continue to exist.

    The worst part? When the NSA does subvert our democratic institutions, we might not even know it happened until it’s already too late.

    So the next time you hear somebody say “I’ve got nothing to hide,” send them this.

  5. OSI Sponsors International Competition in Free and Open Source Software Multimedia

    The OSI is thrilled to announce the launch of the International Competition in Free and Open Source Software Multimedia (ICOM). Organized by the Sena Primary School (SK Sena), Malaysia and Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) along with the state government of Perlis, Malaysia and the Ministry of Education Malaysia the video competition is open to students from around the world: from primary school children to those attending institutions of higher learning. The main objectives of ICOM are as follows:

    1. To encourage creative thinking and teamwork among participants
    2. To promote active use of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in education
    3. To create a platform for healthy competition among students at the international level

    Participants have about 3 months, until the end of July, to plan, shoot, edit and upload/submit their works and may choose to develop, dramas, news stories, documentaries or public service messages on topics related to education, communication or local interests. All entries will be judged by education and media personnel from Malaysia, and winners will receive certificates and awards, including some cool OSI t-shirts! We will also be posting the winners' videos on the OSI site as well.

    Of course the most exciting feature of the competition is that each video will use only open source licensed software for all pre-production, production and post-production work. What a fantastic way to promote the awareness and use of open source tools, enhancing access to technology within education, while creating innovative programs for teaching and learning--we simply need more of this within governments, education and communities. Indeed the ICOM organizers have developed an excellent catalog of open source applications for graphic and video production (http://icom.sksena.edu.my/downloads-bot).

    The OSI is honored to have been asked to sponsor the competition and we hope educators from across the globe will take advantage of, not only the opportunity to engage their students in an international, cross-cultural, multi-discipline educational experience, but also introduce and promote the value, benefits and quality of open source tools as well.

    You can learn more about the competition on the "ICOM: Free Software, Free Minds" website, or contact the organizers directly at info@icom.sksena.edu.my.

 

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