Open Source Initiative blogs

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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)

  5. 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

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