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Open Source Initiative calls upon top dogs

OSI calls on Apache and Eclipse in organisation shuffle

Chris Mayer
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The Open Source Initiative announces affiliate program as they reform into a member-based organisation

Open Source Initiative (OSI) board member Simon Phipps has announced at open source forum FOSDEM that they will be seeking advice from some of the top open source foundation as they shift to a member-based model.

The non-profit corporation was formed in 1998 to educate and advocate the practices instilled in software development and build bridges within the open source community. The process of moving from a self appointed board-based organisation gradually to a member-based organisation is a big task, so the OSI has called upon the Apache Software Foundation and the Eclipse Foundation for some nuggets of sound advice for the move.

Other affiliates also offering sage judgement include Creative Commons, Drupal, FreeBSD, Joomla (via Open Source Matters), KDE, the Linux Foundation, the Mozilla Foundation, Plone, Sahana and Wikiotics.

The OSI is also encouraging everyone to fill in their anonymous survey, which invites them to offer their views on what attribute should be valuable to future OSI governance. 

Delegates from each affiliate will meet first to finalise an affiliate agreement before consultation is made. This transition phase could be implemented as early as next year, but Phipps admitted 2014 was a much more likely.

Reform within the OSI has been on the cards for three years now, but has hit several stumbling blocks. It appears that this is a good move forward, calling upon some of the strongest open source foundations for timely advice in how to switch to a membership-led organisation.

Phipps foresees the OSI becoming a community leader with a large membership base. With Eclipse and Apache being the juggernauts in the community, having them close by as affiliates can only be a good thing. Eclipse currently has over 170 members worldwide and Apache around 400 with both having firm structures after a decade in place.

Phipps left his role as Sun’s Chief Open Source Officer at Sun Microsystems in 2010, on the day the Oracle takeover occurred, and was appointed to the Board of Directors at the OSI not long after. He has been pivotal in facilitating the changes at board level and despite initially failing to get the reform off the ground, this move looks like the OSI are finally headed in the right direction to meeting their mission statement of ‘building bridges’.

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