Feeds

OSI set to expand open source mission

Defender of the faith on new crusade

Intelligent flash storage arrays

The Open Source Initiative (OSI), defender of the open-source faith, will soon expand its reach, embracing representatives from other open-source groups and the world of business.

The OSI is planning an affiliate scheme, and this will include the Linux Foundation, among others. The affiliate scheme will be finalized and start accepting new members by the time of the O'Reilly Open-Source Convention (OSCON) in late July, the OSI has said.

The organization will begin accepting "for profit" affiliates – a term that covers commercial companies – in time for the Open World Forum in October. A corporate advisory board that allows corporations to join is planned for the end of 2011

OSI also hopes to offer an affiliate program for individuals too. And working groups are on the roadmap, set to arrive in the third quarter of 2011. The plan was outlined at this week's Open Source Business Conference (OSBC) in San Francisco, California.

If all goes according to plan, the OSI's workload and staffing needs will expand with the new program, meaning that for the first time, the group will start charging members a subscription in order to fund itself.

The OSI will also create a new board that wil function much like the board of the Apache Software Foundation, overseeing particular open source projects.

In its current form, the OSI is operated by a board of 11 individuals. The group is best known for its work approving licenses for use open-source software.

The group was created 13-years ago by open-source high priests Eric Raymond and Bruce Perens. It was designed to be a steward of open source, a general education and advocacy group. Committed libertarian Eric Raymond laid the foundation the community development model with his 1997 paper The Cathedral and the Bazaar, while Perens authored the original draft of the Open Source Definition.

The group sprang up in the late 1990s, as Linux came to the attention of those outside the core hacker world. Netscape had tapped Raymond to figure out how to open source its browser after it had been comprehensively beaten by Microsoft's Internet Explorer. In 1998, Netscape released its code and created the Mozilla Project.

Speaking at OSBC this week, OSI director Simon Phipps said that the first part of the OSI's mission has been realized, that open-source is now global and dominant. Now, it's time for more sustained advocacy.

"The biggest risk is dilution of the concept by people who don't embrace the ideals behind it," he said. "Open source needs that building of bridges function done more strongly and assertively."

Speaking to The Reg, Phipps said that with links into other groups and participation from a broader number of open-source constituents, the OSI could act as more of a spokesperson on behalf of open source and a point of contact for government agencies like the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice (DoJ), which may not know who to contact when dealing with issues like regulation and competition.

What happens once the changes are made is unclear. It sounds like the plan is to bring in more people and then see what they'd like to do with the OSI. They might set up specific working groups or lobby in particular areas.

The OSI tried to evolve in 2009, but the affiliate project was killed last year when those involved couldn't agree on new ideas. Apparently, this is one reason why the OSI is bringing on organizations first and individuals later. Organizations may have a better feel for what's needed from the new OSI.

"The first question is to bring stake holders together and change the OSI's role if they want to," Phipps told us. "The OSI's role might change depending on what the new stake holders do." ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Nexus 7 fandroids tell of salty taste after sucking on Google's Lollipop
Web giant looking into why version 5.0 of Android is crippling older slabs
Be real, Apple: In-app goodie grab games AREN'T FREE – EU
Cupertino stands down after Euro legal threats
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Microsoft: Your Linux Docker containers are now OURS to command
New tool lets admins wrangle Linux apps from Windows
Bada-Bing! Mozilla flips Firefox to YAHOO! for search
Microsoft system will be the default for browser in US until 2020
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
The Heartbleed Bug: how to protect your business with Symantec
What happens when the next Heartbleed (or worse) comes along, and what can you do to weather another chapter in an all-too-familiar string of debilitating attacks?
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.