Tiemann talks on serving two masters (Red Hat and the OSI)

Tiemann talks on serving two masters (Red Hat and the OSI)

Summary: In case you missed the news, amidst a bit of controversy, the Open Source Initiative (OSI) is now on its third president in as many months. The organization, which must maintain its relevance while the political landscape within the open source community is in flux, can ill afford the sort of missteps that draw into question its ability to govern itself.

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TOPICS: Open Source
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Michael Tiemann In case you missed the news, amidst a bit of controversy, the Open Source Initiative (OSI) is now on its third president in as many months. The organization, which must maintain its relevance while the political landscape within the open source community is in flux, can ill afford the sort of missteps that draw into question its ability to govern itself.

PodcastNow, even though the job is temporary, one big challenge for Michael Tiemann and the OSI is to ensure that the Red Hat executive's allegiances to his employer don't interfere with his judgement as the organization's leader and vice versa. Yesterday, I had a chance to catch up with Tiemann by telephone to discuss that and many of the other challenges faced by the OSI (e.g.: license proliferation) as the organization attempts to move forward. In the interview, which is available as both an MP3 download and as podcast that you can have downloaded to your system and/or MP3 player automatically (see ZDNet's podcasts: How to tune in), Tiemann shares his thoughts on the roles played by the OSI and other open source organizations (like Open Source Development Labs), the issue of open source license proliferation, the definition of open source, and the volatile mixture of patents and software.

Here are some of the more colorful quotes:

Tiemann on the next steps for the OSI: Before the OSI has another presidential election, it needs to first "expand the board and get more diverse representation."

On whether the OSI has been bullied into annointing certain licenses as open source:
Bullying is when "when people go from talking about the benefits of their license to the harm that will befall them, or you, or other organizations if the license isn't approved."

On the GPL (vs. all the open source licenses): "I've made no secret over the last 15 plus years that my favorite open source license happens to be a free software license. It happens to be the GPL. I understand that there are a lot of things that make the GPL legally challenging."

Of patents and open source: "Both the Sun license and the Mozilla license bring the patent camel into the tent....The patent problem is going to get worse before it gets better."

Why he isn't blogging anymore: "Blogging is a full-time sport."

Tiemann and I covered a lot of ground in the interview. If you want to hear the context behind these and other quotes and share your own views, download the audio, give it a listen, and use our comments section below to let us know what you think.

Topic: Open Source

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