New life for the Open Source Initiative

New life for the Open Source Initiative

Summary: OSI, an important, but long quiet, open-source organization is seeking to revitalize itself with a new membership program.


Portland, OR: There was a time that everyone in the Linux and open-source world knew about the Open Source Initiative (OSI). It was, and still is, the group which manages the Open Source Definition. This is the core open-source defining document for developers, governments, and businesses. All the other open-source licensees—Apache, BSD, GPL—all some of their legitimately to  the OSI. In recent years, though, the OSI has laid fallow. Now, it wants to change that and once more become a vital part of the open-source community.

At OSCon, the OSI announced that it would accepting applications for Individual Membership.The new Individual Membership category allows individuals who support the mission and work of the OSI to join discussions about that work, to be represented in the evolving governance of the OSI, and to spin up task-focused Working Groups to tackle open-source community needs. Individual Members are asked to make a tax-deductible donation to support the mission of OSI. You can find out more out OSI Individual Membership  at the site.

I asked Simon Phipps, OSI President, and long time open-source leader why someone would want to join the OSI considering how quiet the organization had been over the last few years. Phipps replied, “we looked at our mission statement on and felt we needed to re-focus on what it says!"

The Open Source Initiative (OSI) is a non-profit corporation with global scope formed to educate about and advocate for the benefits of open source and to build bridges among different constituencies in the open source community.

Phipps continued, “To achieve that objective, we felt we had to open up as a member organization and turn the Board into facilitators for its members. Today's announcement is the second wave of that change; we expect to introduce corporate membership too at some point soon.”

It is his hope that “new members signing up from today will bring focused proposals for achievable concrete goals to the Board to endorse and facilitate. I'm expecting initiatives around global user groups, around education resources and around public policy activities.”

So. “Anyone who cares about open source should join now and help OSI take the next step. By joining, you will be involved in the conversation about OSI's evolution, you will be able to draw on OSI's resources to establish projects that advance open source and your donation will allow OSI to obtain the resources it needs to facilitate that evolution. In addition, I'm expecting us to add some great member benefits in the coming month with the help of OSI Affiliates and (in the future) Corporate Members.”

In conclusion, "The transformation of the OSI into a member-based organization is a timely and important step for the worldwide open source community," said Phipps, "I encourage everyone to visit OSI )(http:// and take a stand for open source."

Related Stories:

Foundation gathering, open sourcing ID technology

AOL joins Microsoft as sponsor of Outercurve Foundation

Linux Foundation to host CloudOpen to mitigate open source cloud war

Topics: Open Source, Software Development, Social Enterprise

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • I'm proud of Steven

    a whole article without one single reference to Microsoft or spewing some MS hate.

    Perhaps he's started the 12 step program for MS haters?
    • Re:I'm proud of Steven

      And you had to ruin it by bringing it up yourself.
    • Moving forward

      Microsoft is becoming more and more irrelevant, so it needs mentioning less and less I suppose. I thought Microsoft had some kind of an open source charade thing they did though? So is Microsoft affiliated with the OSI? They should be, it'd lend their nonsense a veil of legitimacy.

      You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time. --Abraham Lincoln
      • Microsoft Irrelevant?

        When Linux gets something like Active Directory AND learns how to be a desktop for everyone and not just hole in the wall developers, then Microsoft will start being irrelevant.

        I will admit Linux is great for servers. On the desktop they fail.

        Maybe if the people who say Linux will overtake windows, would step out of their hole in the walls and converse with normal people, then they would see what it takes to make a Linux desktop that would actually work for everyone in all situations work/home.

        Apple doesn't get the desktop either. When a user has to DL'd deps. and spend 30min using make and make file or yum to install an application, linux will not overtake them.

        And before anyone ges high and mighty on their soap box, I am both Linux+ and MCSE. Working towards my RHCSA. Also Cisco and Net+. So this is not a n00b or a microsoft/linux lover/hater. Apple hater yes.
  • GPL owes legitimacy to OSI?

    . the honourable Richard Stallman, founder of GPL,
    has philosophical differences with OSI,
    so I think you owe us an explanation
    after asserting that
    "All the other open-source licensees
    —Apache, BSD, GPL—all[owe?]
    some of their legitimately[legitimacy?]
    to the OSI."
    . OSI is "the core open-source defining document
    for developers, governments, and businesses" ?
    . what does that have to do with GPL's legitimacy?!
    . what legitimizes a legal document
    is enforceability, and attractiveness;
    do you know how large the GPL base is?
  • Fire the editors...

    [i]"all some of their legitimately to the OSI."[/i]

    You what now? Or is that the problem, the editors have been fired and the "journalists" are bashing away articles on tablets with autocomplete turned on and not doing any proof-reading?

    Come on ZDNet, raise your game!
    • And...

      from his Sputnik article:

      "Sputnik started, Barton George, Dell's project Sputnik lead and director of web vertical marketing. told me at OSCon as a six-month exploratory pilot to create an Ubuntu Linux-based developer laptop, It's not just an idea now."

      That isn't even in English, the grammar is appauling and the punctation is completely out the window!
  • OSI takes a half-step, needs to go "all in"

    I have long advocated that OSI embrace all the opens. Accepting individual members is a half-step, and also perhaps in the wrong direction. OpenBTS, Open Hardware, Open Spectrum, Open, Standards, Open Data, etcetera, all need an umbrella organization. Most tellingly, Open Hardware now has its own association and I speculate that OSI was found wanting at just the time when OSI should have been in full :bore "all in" mode.

    For information I publish a free Open Source Everything Highlights of headlines and links across all the opens at and we are using the twitter hashtap of #openall (I am @PhiBetaIota at Twitter).

    The online book page for the just published OPEN SOURCE EVERYTHING MANIFESTO: Transparency, Truth & Trust (only $10 at most online stores) is I am very interested in helping anyone who wishes round themselves out and engage all the opens, getting out of their industrial-era stovepipe mind-sets.

    ALL IN! Open Source EVERYTHING....
    Robert Davud STEELE Vivas