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06 February 2012, 11:43

Open Source Initiative affiliates announced at FOSDEM

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Open Source Initiative (OSI) board member Simon Phipps has announced a group of affiliate organisations who will be providing advice to the OSI as it reforms itself from a self appointed board-based organisation eventually to a member-based organisation. The affiliates, announced during Phipps' presentation at FOSDEM in Brussels, are the Apache Software Foundation, Creative Commons, Drupal, the Eclipse Foundation, FreeBSD, Joomla (via Open Source Matters), KDE, the Linux Foundation, the Mozilla Foundation, Plone, Sahana and Wikiotics. The OSI is also undertaking an anonymous survey to gauge what a future personal membership of the OSI should mean in practice.

Delegates of the affiliates will be coming together first to finalise an affiliate agreement for the OSI; from then, the OSI board will seek and consider advice from those affiliates. Phipps explained that this process will allow the OSI to move into a transitory phase which could see the organisation operating on new bylaws by as soon as 2013, but in all likelihood, 2014.

For example, in March, three board positions will open up at the OSI and it is hoped the affiliates will propose people to fill those positions as part of reshaping the way the organisation works. The OSI has been attempting to reform for three years and despite various initiatives, this has stalled. Phipps, on becoming an OSI director, set out to revitalise these efforts as he sees a future for a new OSI with a broad community membership and a mission to educate governments, organisations and people about the benefits of software freedom. Some of the original plans have not come to fruition, but the advisory affiliates appears to have been established in time to have influence over the organisation's direction.

The OSI currently is known for its definition of what open source is and its approval process for software licences that conform to that definition. Phipps feels the potential for the OSI, as a community leader, was shown when it intervened in January 2011 with the US Department of Justice over the sale of Novell's patents to a consortium of Microsoft, Oracle, EMC and Apple; the DoJ eventually got the deal changed in April with an added commitment to license the patents under the GPLv2.


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