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17 March 2011, 12:35

OSI adds three to board and begins reform

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Open Source Initiative Logo A recent meeting of the Open Source Initiative (OSI) in San Francisco saw three new members of the board filling the two empty board seats and the beginning of a reformation for the group's governance. The organisation, which has managed the Open Source Definition and reviewed licences for their compliance with that definition, is looking to expand its role to engage as "a meeting point for global open source communities at large".

There were two board seats which had become vacant after Danese Cooper and Russ Nelson had to step down after ten years due to term limits. The board used its discretion to add an eleventh seat to the board to allow the three selected candidates to join the board. The new members are free software developer and author Karl Fogel, Apache Software Foundation co-founder and President Jim Jagielski and former Wikimedia and EFF attorney Mike Godwin, originator of the eponymous law.

The board also set out plans for reforming the organisations governance. The organisation intends to move to a representative model, away from its current self-selecting board model which has served its previous limited role well. It will be looking at ways for open source communities and individuals in those communities to participate in the OSI's mission and governance directly. According to board member Simon Phipps, the first step will be a change to the bylaws to allow other entities to participate in the OSI's governance.

With that change in place, the OSI will then release a "vision and discussion document". The OSI Governance Working Group will then work transparently to devise new rules and hopes that by the middle of the year, simple affiliation rules will be in place. Phipps, who has been developing an "open-by-rule" benchmark for open source organisations, hopes to see the OSI achieve a high score on the benchmark.


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