OSI Opens For Membership

You can finally join OSI. I’ve had a busy day at OSCON in Portland, OR today (apologies if I’ve been missing your messages and/or deadlines…) where interest around the conference has been high. Here are some details.

The Open Source Initiative now has two membership categories; Affiliate Membership for not-for-profit organisations, and Individual Membership for open source supporters to personally drive change. The Board expects to create a third category for corporate membership later this year. Together, these membership categories will eventually drive all the activity at OSI, including its governance.

The goal of all this is to turn OSI into a member-driven non-profit that’s a neutral venue for the things that are inappropriate or impossible anywhere else. Ideas already suggested include

  • a global resource network for open source user groups of all kinds
  • a repository of research on open source (like the late lamented opensource.mit.edu)
  • a social fund to help developers attend open source conferences

Of course, all these will only happen if there are people to make them happen – the OSI Board is too small for this. The new Individual Membership category is the powerhouse of the change, connecting the resources from the Affiliates and future corporate members and staffing working groups to achieve concrete, time-bounded deliverables that benefit open source. As the membership grows – in all categories – so will the resources available, both practical and reputational. In future the OSI Board will facilitate rather than staff all OSI’s work.

There are so many things our global community could do together if even a small percentage of us were to unite in this way. The specifics of our different projects, the characteristics of our licenses and our differing approaches to software freedom vary, but that doesn’t mean we need to allow those differences to block our unity. As OSI’s president you’de expect me to say this, but all the same:  please join!

As OSI’s president you’de expect me to say this, but all the same:  please join!

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