Open Source Initiative Blog

  1. Palo Alto, CA - March 22, 2019 –New sponsors, Daily Fantasy Cafe and Lineups.com highlight open source software’s appeal, from traditional business infrastructure to driving innovation.

    Today the Open Source Initiative® (OSI), the global non-profit formed to educate about and advocate for the benefits of open source software and communities, is pleased to announce the corporate sponsorship of Daily Fantasy Cafe and Lineups.com. The contributions from these diverse companies underscore the broad appeal and applicability of open source software across industries.

    Over 20 years of work, the OSI has constantly found adoption of, and contributions to, open source software growing, year over year, as companies realize the benefits and value of collaborative communities of practice. No longer limited to the data centers and development shops of tech-companies, open source software is now pervasive across diverse industries, all seeking to reduce costs, drive innovation, decrease time to market, increase quality, and avoid vendor lock-in.

    “The OSI is actively engaged with organizations across government, education, manufacturing, agriculture, entertainment—everywhere.  As new industries emerge, like fantasy sports, they’re choosing to be, ‘open source first,’” says Patrick Masson, General Manager of the Open Source Initiative. “Daily Fantasy Cafe and Lineups really show how broad the appeal is now, and most inspiring, how companies that benefit from open source choose to contribute back. Open source is a collaborative effort, projects need code, community, and cash.”

    “Open Source is the foundation of our online businesses, and we are proud to contribute our time, energy and funds to support the cause. We made a cognizant decision to utilize open source as we believe it is a more sustainable and stronger solution moving forward. We are doing what we can to continue the movement” added, Lineups.com Founder, Sam Shefrin.

    Corporate sponsorship allows organizations with a clear commitment to open source to support the OSI’s work in promoting and protecting open source software, development, and communities through charitable donations. Funding from sponsors not only ensures the OSI’s continued operations, but also supports vital programs such as the License Review Process, educational initiatives and community driven working groups. Companies interested in giving back in support of the OSI’s mission can learn more on the OSI website.

    About Lineups.com

    Founded in 2017, Lineups.com utilizes data science to make sports predictions. We help fans, fantasy sports players and sports bettors make smarter decisions. We provide sports lineups, data and articles at no cost to users. Visit https://www.lineups.com to see more about our mission or email info@lineups.com for contact.

    About The Open Source Initiative

    Founded in 1998, the Open Source Initiative (OSI) protects and promotes open source software, development and communities, championing software freedom in society through education, collaboration, and infrastructure, stewarding the Open Source Definition, and preventing abuse of the ideals and ethos inherent to the open source movement. The OSI is a public charity with global vision based in California. For more information about the OSI, please see https://opensource.org, or email the organization at, contact@opensource.org.

  2. OSI elections seat two returning directors, three new directors, with the last seat to be determined through a run-off election.

    The OSI recently held our 2019 Board elections to seat six Board Directors, two elected from the affiliate membership, and four from the individual membership. We would like to congratulate, Pamela Chestek (nominated by The Document Foundation), and Molly de Blanc (nominated by the Debian Project) who captured the most votes from OSI Affiliate Members. We would also like to congratulate, Elana Hashman, Hong Phuc Dang and Carol Smith for securing Individual Member seats on the Board. Due to a tie for the fourth Individual Member seat, between Christine Hall and Mariatta Wijaya, a run off election will be required to identify the final OSI Board Director.

    The run off election will be held Monday, March 18th (opening at 12:00 a.m. / 00:00) through Monday, March 25th (closing at 12:00 a.m. / 00:00).

    The OSI would like to thank all our members who voted, and especially all the candidates who stood for election. Every year the OSI is honored (spoiled really) with an incredible slate of candidates--advocates, contributors, users, and leaders--who step forward from across the open source software community to support the OSI's work, and advance the OSI's mission. As a member driven organization, the active participation of the open source software community is vital to our continued success.

    The 2019 elections benefited from our highest turnout of voters to date, with 64% of eligible Affiliate Members voting and 56% of eligible Individual Members casting a ballot. This year's membership drive, which coincides annually with the OSI Board elections, was also our best, welcoming 139 new members.

    Affiliate Member Election Results (two open seats)

    29    Pamela Chestek (The Document Foundation)
    28    Molly de Blanc (Debian Project)

    18    Bruce Perens (Open Research Institute)
    13    Charles-H. Schulz (Open Information Security Foundation)
    12    Olawale Fabiyi (American International University West Africa)
    12    Kate Stewart (Linux Foundation)
    9    Lior Kaplan (Debian Project)
    8    Frank Matranga (Rensselaer Center for Open Source)
    7    Rowan Hoskyns-Abrahall (Joomla / Open Source Matters, Inc.)
    3    Hugh Douglas-Smith (Joomla / Open Source Matters, Inc.)

    Individual Member Election Results (four open seats)

    199    Carol Smith
    172    Elana Hashman
    143    Hong Phuc Dang
    104    Christine Hall*
    104    Mariatta Wijaya*

    92    Duane O'Brien
    90    Chris Aniszczyk
    81    Van Lindberg
    77    Justin Colannino
    76    Samson Goddy
    64    Luke Faraone
    55    Marc Jones
    44    Ian Skerrett
    33    Brendan Hickey
    32    Gustavo G Marmol Alioto
    23    Tobie Langel
    17    Rakesh Ranjan Jena
    16    Dave McAllister

    * Run-off election required

  3. Palo Alto, CA - March 14, 2019The Software Freedom Conservancy joins long list of Open Source Initiative Affiliate Members

    The Open SourceInitiative (OSI), the founding organization of the open source software movement, is excited to announce the Affiliate Membership of the Software Freedom Conservancy. "Conservancy", apubliccharity,thatworks to promote, improve, develop, and defend free and open source projects. Conservancy provides a home and infrastructure for projects such as Git, Godot Engine, Inkscape, Outreachy, Samba, and many more. Conservancy's support allows free and open source software developers to focus on what they do best—writing and improving code for the general public—while Conservancy takes care of the projects' needs that do not relate directly to software development and documentation.
     
    "We're excited to participate in the Open Source Initiative's ongoing work to educate users and decision-makers about how licensing and cooperation go hand in hand. By joining as an affiliate member, we affirm our support of collaboration to promote the ideals of software freedom." says Karen Sandler, Software Freedom Conservancy's Executive Director
     
    Critical to both the OSI's and open source projects' success is, as stated in the OSI mission, "building bridges between communities." Both the OSI and Conservancy believe those organisations serving free and open source software communities should seek out ways to support each other—Conservancy's Afffiliate Membership is an excellent example of such collaboration. The OSI Affiliate Member Program is available at no-cost to non-profits, educational institutions, and government agencies that support the OSI's mission to promote and protect open source software. As the steward of the Open Source Definition certifying Open Source Software Licenses, by establishing such certification as the standard for open source software development and distribution, and with the support of our Affiliate Membership, the OSI has become a cornerstone of software freedom.
     
    "Software Freedom Conservancy continues to have a profound effect on the world of free, open source software both through its work sustaining important projects and by engaging more widely on topics of general concern. OSI is delighted to welcome them as an Affiliate and looks forward to working with them to promote software freedom." says Simon Phipps, OSI Board President.
     
    About Conservancy
    Conservancy, a public charity focused on ethical technology, is the home of nearly fifty member projects dedicated to developing free and open source software.  Conservancy acts as a corporate umbrella, allowing member projects to operate as charitable initiatives without having to independently manage their own corporate structure and administrative services. To learn more about Conservancy, visithttps://sfconservancy.org/, or email at, info@sfconservancy.org.
     
    About The Open Source Initiative
    Founded in 1998, the Open Source Initiative (OSI) protects and promotes open source software, development and communities, championing software freedom in society through education, collaboration, and infrastructure, stewarding the Open Source Definition, and preventing abuse of the ideals and ethos inherent to the open source movement. The OSI is a public charity with global vision based in California. For more information about the OSI, please seehttps://opensource.org, or email the organization at, contact@opensource.org.
  4. In February, the License-Review mailing list discussed:

    • Convertible Free Software License (C-FSL)
    • Twente License
    • Server Side Public License, Version 2 (SSPL v2)
    • Review process, governance, and the OSD

    The corresponding License-Discuss summary is online at https://opensource.org/LicenseDiscuss022019 and covers discussions on how to keep the mailing lists civil, and to what degree the business model of a license submitter should be relevant.

    License Committee Report

    Richard Fontana provides the license committee report. Currently, three licenses are under review:

    • C-FSL 1.4: A decision is due 2019-02-22.
    • SSPL v2: A decision is due 2019-02-18.
    • Twente License: A decision is due 2019-04-05.

    Convertible Free Software License

    In response to last month's review, Elmar Stellnberger clarifies that the Original Authors have to decide via consensus or set up their own statutes that cover their decision process.

    Rob Landley points out that copyright transfers must be written and signed (at least in the US), so that a license like the C-FSL that tries to circumvent this requirement might not hold up in court.

    Twente License

    Anand Chowdhary submits his Twente License for approval. It is an MIT-style license, except that it also tries to ensure “European values” and privacy: derivatives of the software may only collect and share personal data with the user's prior consent.

    Nigel Tzeng points out that this fails OSD #6 “No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor”, while Josh Berkus disagrees. Lawrence Rosen criticizes that the license tries to enforce values: “far more ambitious than software can protect with its mere open source licenses.” Eric Schultz suggests other ways than licenses for open source projects to express values, for example by refusing to support unethical use cases.

    Bruce Perens adds a bit of historical background to the OSD: it was written to with anti apartheid licenses in mind that ended up hurting innocent people after the apartheid had ended. (Note: e.g. see Computers and the Apartheid Regime in South Africa)

    Josh Berkus criticizes that licenses should not mandate values because the interpretation of these values can be quite subjective – thus making it unclear whether the license has been violated. Anand Chowdhary responds that while expressing certain values is the rationale of this license, the text of the license only contains a specific, unambiguous condition.

    Carlo Piana [1,2] argues that it is not the job of licenses to ensure compliance with legal obligations: “the entire concept is wrong” and fails to account for changing laws over time.

    Lukas Atkinson argues that data protection is not inherent in a software but depends on how the software is used. Therefore, a copyright license doesn't offer a suitable enforcement tool. And while the license seems to emulate the GDPR, it is both more narrow and more restrictive. Atkinson suggests that it might be a better approach to combine the MIT-like attribution requirement with a GDPR-like transparency requirement, but without directly restricting the use of the software. Carlo Piana thinks this is a good idea in principle, but that correctly implementing such a requirement in a license would be rather difficult. In response to this, Anand Chowdhary clarifies their goals and starts drafting a transparency clause.

    Server Side Public License, Version 2

    Eliot Horowitz (MongoDB) responds to criticism of the SSPL's section 13, and provides some clarifications. Horowitz proposes a rewritten section that explicitly defines “Software as a Service” as “enabling a user to interact with software remotely through a computer network.”

    Bruce Perens appreciates this clarification, but notes that this definition was not subject to major objections. Instead, Perens suggest removing the concept of “Service Source Code” in favour of sticking with the AGPL's Corresponding Source concept. Perens summarizes his objections: that the Service Source Code concept attempts to encumber unrelated programs thus running into OSD #9, and that section 13 as written restricts fields of endeavour such as offering the software as a service, thus running into OSD #6.

    I don't see how you can change this while keeping the intent of your license […] subsequent alterations to the license text have not substantially addressed [these objections].

    Similarly, Brendan Hickey finds that the central objections have not been addressed, though Hickey also points out the SSPL's use of “value” and “primary purpose” as problematic. “What's so special about these claims versus others? Simply, a license that doesn't conform to the OSD must be rejected. As long as these problems are unresolved everything else – like the definition of SAAS – is just window dressing.” In contrast, Kyle Mitchell finds that Horowitz' clarifications address the objections he had.

    Review process, governance, and the OSD

    In the context of the SSPL review, Kyle Mitchell criticizes the OSI's license review process, in particular the weight given to Peren's voice. “I've lost confidence in this body's ability to make rigorous decisions, or even facilitate focused debate, on any remotely interesting new copyleft license.” Rick Moen quips: “I think Bruce is permitted to be correct and listened to, despite the admitted difficulty of his having credibility on the subject.”

    Perens responds to Mitchell that he founds his SSPL criticism solely on the question whether the license can be Open Source: “This is not an issue of my being a honcho, but of clearly stated rules in the OSD that the license intent very obviously came into conflict with.” Perens is also happy to engage with new licensing ideas when they don't purport to be Open Source. In turn, Mitchell disagrees that the OSD would be so clear. “If OSD 6 banned any kind of [discrimination], GPLv2 discriminated against proprietary software makers.” “There should be a new, crips, clear rule on open source copyleft scope. OSD 9 isn't it.” Perens responds to individual points in Mitchell's message. “Free Software and Open Source drew a line in the sand, gave it a brand, and have defended that line. There will always be attempts to push it elsewhere, and they will always be resisted.”

    Lawrence Rosen shares some of Mitchell's concerns regarding the scopes of the OSD versus SSPL, but thinks the discussion on these should be separated from the SSPL. In particular:

    • What components or other aspects of server applications are potentially subject to open source copyleft?

    • Is “corresponding source” more than only the Original Work and Derivative Works as defined in copyright law? How much more?

    There's also some debate about the “silent majority” who do not participate on the license-review list. Do they approve of everything and would speak up otherwise? Or are they absent because they disagree with the review? Bruce Perens suggests a third option:

    Very few people in the world want to be involved with license approval. Not even a majority of OSI directors. That's why what happens on this list is important. They're all trusting us to get it right.

    Note: If you'd like to participate on the lists, head over to https://opensource.org/lists for information on how to subscribe.

  5. In February, the License-Discuss mailing list discussed how to keep the mailing lists civil and to what degree the business model of a license submitter should be relevant.

    The corresponding License-Review summary is online at https://opensource.org/LicenseReview022019 and covers reviews of the C-FSL, SSPL, the Twente License, plus some discussion about the review process, governance, and the OSD.

    Encouraging discussion around the technicalities of licensing

    Martijn Verburg offers their outside view of the License-Review list: while the license commentary may be insightful, some remarks seem to get ad hominem or hostile which is not a good look.

    Many list members thank Verburg for bringing this up. Simon Phipps confirms that “Comments aimed at the submitter alone, such as about their business, business model or investors, are rarely appropriate.”

    McCoy Smith couldn't find a a Code of Conduct for the mailing list. Phipps points to CoC for the licensing mailing lists, “but it's clearly due for some maintenance.”

    There was some discussion to which degree license reviews should touch on the submitter's business model. For example, Lawrence Rosen thinks the SSPL cannot be separated from MongoDB's business model. In contrast, McCoy Smith advocates for focussing reviews strictly on the license and points to his talk at CopyleftConf.

    Richard Fontana disagrees with Smith: “the business model of the license submitter can be a material consideration” when assessing a license. “Just the submitter's business model, or the business models of any possible user of the license?”, Phipps asks. Fontana responds attention should be focussed on “Just the submitter's, […] because it may be too hard to think about all the possible ways an approved license might be gamed […] by a future licensor”, John Sullivan doesn't think that the view should be artificially narrowed but that “the interpretations of the license author will carry weight, and the business model is an embodiment of those interpretations.” Marc Jones recasts the question as “license reusability”, but the point of this is not quite clear to me.

    Brendan Hickey also disagrees with Smith's suggestion. It's really difficult to lay down bright lines what topics may or may not be considered. While the review should assume the license was drafted in good faith, context is important and the submitter's motives shouldn't be disregarded: “Charity is not a commitment to naiveté.” Smith rebukes some individual points in Hickey's argument.

    Leftovers

    In January, Bruce Perens opined that any extensions of copyright are bad for Open Source. Russel McOrmond connects this with an article they wrote in 2008 about possible unintended consequences of the AGPL, in particular that network copyleft would harm the free software community.