Meshed Again In 2016

As of January 1st 2016, my main work focus is once again Meshed Insights Ltd., which we’ve kept ticking over during 2015.  Working at Wipro was an interesting experiment, but frankly I did not enjoy it at all. I could have probably have lingered there indefinitely if I’d wanted, but leaving on December 31st was entirely my own decision. The company is simply not ready to speak up for software freedom or encourage its clients to set themselves free from the proprietary vendors Wipro loves and from which it profits. Screenshot 2014-12-27 at 18.06.02

Fortunately there are better things to do lining up at our door; I’m ready to dive straight in to client activities for Meshed.  We’ve been retained by Mozilla to compile a report describing the entities that could host the Thunderbird Project, and have two other (currently non-public) clients ready to go. We would welcome further engagements for 2016 and I would be thrilled if demand allowed me to hire more staff.

In addition to those client engagements we have ideas relating to the thinking we’ve been doing around Community Interest Companies and open source communities, and I hope to have news about that after FOSDEM. I was also surprised and honoured to be elected to the Board of The Document Foundation, effective mid February, and hope to understand more about that at FOSDEM as well.

As you can tell I’m excited about 2016!  I wish you the very best for the new year.

Open Source and App Stores

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.

☝ A New OSI For A New Decade

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.

☆ OSI Reform at FOSDEM

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.

☂ Blast from the past

I found I still had a blog on, so I’ve posted a quick note about FOSDEM there!


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.

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