Package management in Perl and Linux may have seeded their existence, but app stores have been hostile to open source and failed to pass on software freedom to users. But that could be changing, and today’s exemplar could be … Microsoft. Read on in InfoWorld today as I lay out the groundwork for the discussion Amanda Brock and I will lead at FOSDEM.
OSI is changing, and you can help! I spoke at FOSDEM in Brussels on Saturday, on behalf of the Open Source Initiative (OSI) where I serve as a director. My noon keynote covered a little of the rationale behind OSI, a quick synopsis of its last decade and then announcements about the work we’re doing to make OSI strong and relevant for a new decade. Read all about it at ComputerWorldUK or at the OSI web site.
I was interviewed about my upcoming FOSDEM keynote and gave this concise summary of the background to the changes I’m working on with the Board of the Open Source Initiative.
Why exactly did OSI decide to reorganize its governance from a board-only organization into a member-based structure? How will this new governance allow OSI to address its mission better?
As you’ll read at its website, “the Open Source Initiative is a non-profit corporation with global scope formed in 1998 to educate about and advocate for the benefits of open source and to build bridges among different constituencies in the open source community.” Despite the breadth of that mission, it has focussed almost exclusively on approval of licenses as compliant with the Open Source Definition. The Board felt that it was time to return to that initial mission and work on the broader goals too.
We hope that as a consequence of the switch to a member organisation, OSI will be able to educate, advocate and build bridges as well as continuing as a “standards body for licenses”. Our success opposing CPTN’s attempt to buy Novell’s patents (among other things we did in 2011) has given a hint of the force that could be unleashed for software freedom by having a neutral and uniting venue for education and advocacy.
Come along at noon on February 4th for more.
The Free Java DevRoom at FOSDEM was packed with people all day yesterday. At the beginning, Mark Reinhold (from Sun and now Oracle, the chief Java engineer) hoped to speak briefly about the new OpenJDK governance draft but faced plenty of searching questions about it – you’ll not get to see though, as Mark and Joe were unable to gain permission from Oracle for their talks to be recorded. But that was the last it was mentioned the rest of the day until my talk at 6pm.
In the interim were plenty of interesting talks, most notably Mario Torres and David Fu talking about their IcedRobot project to get Android apps to run on OpenJDK (and thus on any desktop). The room was packed out and had a line of people down the hall at the end of the day to hear Stephen O’Grady speak, and I was his warm-up act with a talk looking at the lessons I learned liberating Java into OpenJDK (I’ve uploaded my slides), putting the governance draft into context a little. O’Grady explained – accompanied by plenty of data – how despite the rumours to the contrary and an overall decline in apparent usage around the whole web application platform tool-set, the indicators for Java as a developer language are still strong when taken in context.
In the evening, the Free Java attendees all went for a dinner sponsored by Oracle, Red Hat and Tarent – a crucial part of the annual Free Java activity and one of the main reasons it remains a strong annual community. Meeting actual people and sharing a meal with them makes it so much easier to work objectively and avoid demonising people, and Tom Marble and the organising team are to be congratulated for the work they have put in to make it all happen. FOSDEM remains the meeting point for European software freedom because of the work they and others like them contribute.