The Open Source Road Ahead: Individuals matter

OSI logoJim Jagielski, Simon Phipps and Mark Radcliffe at OSBC unveiled OSI plan during the “A New OSI for a New Decade: Rebooting the Open Source Initiative OSI” session (presentation). Some reports stressed the importance of organizations, but volunteers are welcome too!

In Simon words:

OSI is switching to a representative governance. While we’ll be creating affiliate schemes for organisations during the year, we already have the groups where individuals can get involved. You could:

  • Join in with the Infrastructure Working Group to help run OSI’s web site and mail server;
  • Join the Communications Working Group and help write or translate news releases;
  • Participate in the license-review mailing list;
  • Watch for news of the other working groups as they are revamped.

Individuals matter, especially within open source organizations (Apache Foundation and many other organizations docet). The personal affiliate scheme will allow OSI to effectively empower working groups, as Andrew Oliver – Apache POI founder and OSI board member – nicely explained to me.

Yes most of the OSI’s business will be carried out by working groups. The board will become mainly supervisory and members of the working groups can vote on the board members and/or become chairs of those to be nominated to the board. Oh and a key piece is the board becomes far less important. A key problem with the current system is the board is also the workforce.

Historically the workforce has been an issue, a much more serious one than the fear of subversion, a ‘classic’ within the context of free open source software organizations.

grana padanoOSI can make a lot to promote open source, ranging from put an end to vendor lock-in to join the open core debate and help to make things clearer for users and customers. Rob Bearden and Peter Fenton of Benchmark Capital put a clear definition between open source & “enterprise” among must have for open source vendors (a things that few of them do, actually).

OSI could create a website section to enlist companies who make clear what is (and what is not) open source, given them a chance to get a free ad for their business simply by sticking to certain communication rules.