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Open Source

OSI Joins UNESCO to Grow Open Source Community

Open Source Initiative - Wed, 02/14/2018 - 08:36

Participate in the #OpenTechNights Program today and Win a Free Stay during the FOSSASIA Summit 2018 from the Open Source Initiative and UNESCO

The FOSSASIA Summit 2018 takes place in Singapore from Thursday, March 22 – Sunday, March 25. Open Source contributors can now apply for a free ticket to the event, and accommodation throughout conference. In addition, you’ll be eligible to participate in: A featured workshops, the UNESCO hackathon, and celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Open Source Initiative. All you have to do is convince us, that you are an awesome Open Source contributor and book your trip to Singapore!

About #OpenTechNights

Developers from all over the world are joining the FOSSASIA Summit. We want to connect established and new Open Tech contributors alike. With the support of UNESCO, the Open Source Initiative, and other partners, we are inviting Free and Open Source Software contributors to join us. Winners will receive free lodging at a shared accommodation in the centre of Singapore, and a free ticket to the conference.

Winners are expected to join the summit each day, to participate in the workshops, and the Hackathon on Saturday/Sunday, March 24/25. We would also hope you can support the Open Source Initiative at their booth.

How do I sign up?

Step 1: Please fill in our form here before February 28, 2018.

Step 2: We will notify all winners within three days of their submission, however judging will begin immediately, and continue until all open spots are filled, so the earlier you apply, the higher your chances to win. Please note, winners will receive free accommodations in the Singapore. Flight and other travel costs are not included and are the responsibility of the attendee.

Step 3: Selected applicants must confirm their itinerary and tickets before March 1st to insure their free stay in Singapore. Earliest check-in possible is Wednesday March 21, latest check-out is Monday, March 26. Please indicate your arrival and departure times in the application form.

Expectations of Participants – Share what you learn

Attendees support volunteers, speakers and participants at the event, and take a shift at the Open Source Initiative’s booth. Let’s bring the spirit of sharing Open Technologies and learning together! Please confirm your participation in the specially featured workshops on Thursday, March 22, 2018 from 9.00 AM – 6.00PM. Attendees participate in the UNESCO Hackathon on Saturday, March 24 (2.00 PM – 10.00PM) and on Sunday, March 25 (9.00 AM – 5.00PM). Attendees help reach out to community members who cannot join us at the event, make tweets, share what you learn on social media, publish photos and put up blog post about the summit.

Apply Now

Apply for a free stay with #FOSSASIA #OpenTechNights supported by the Open Source Initiative and the UNESCO and participate at the FOSSASIA Summit 2018 now here!

More Information

More updates, tickets and information on speakers on our website: https://2018.fossasia.org.

Thank you to our Sponsors

We would like to thank our sponsors whose support enabled this event, and our other activities throughout our 20th anniversary in 2018.

Categories: Open Source

Why I want you to run for the OSI Board

Open Source Initiative - Thu, 02/08/2018 - 20:28

The Open Source Initiative board is homogeneous, stratified across generations.

We fit across three (tech) generations of contributors to free and open source software–those who were involved in the early days of free software; those who found places in the community after open source had been established; and the group paultag humorously dubbed the GNU generation–none of us have lived in a world without the explicit concept of user freedom.

Within my cadre of FOSS-loving millennials, several of us have fairly similar stories, both inside of our FOSS lives and out: we all had formative life experiences of financial hardship, and tech helped us emerge into comfortable, middle-class lifestyles. We’re all community-focused and have worked as community managers. We’ve been finalists for the same jobs.

That is to say, while we have different opinions and different outlooks, we all come from fairly similar places.

While I would not go as far as to say the same is true across each generation represented in the board, we do a fairly good job of agreeing with one another. Occasionally we argue, but that frequently comes from practical points and specific concerns relating to the gritty logistics of making decisions for an organization.

We have a range of experiences represented when you take the board as a whole, but not as different as I would like to see.

The fact is, the board does not represent the greater FOSS community. This is why it’s important for more people to join the OSI–in order to vote in elections and make sure their voices are represented. In order for this representation to be real, we need people from different backgrounds and viewpoints to stand for election and become board members.

To say this in more explicit terms: the OSI board is extremely (exclusively) white. Two board members are European, eight of us from the United States, and there is one Canadian. I think this is a problem.

What do I want from you? If you’re from outside North America, I want you to run for the OSI board. If you’re a racial minority, I want you to run for the OSI board. If you come from a background that is a part of the FOSS movement, but not represented, I want you to run for the OSI board. Are you from North America? Are you white? Are you a college educated coder working in a cool tech job? That is -awesome-. I am some of those things. I want you to reach out to your friends with different backgrounds, experiences, and knowledge and encourage them to run for the OSI board.

Think you’re unqualified? You’re totally not. One of the things I’ve learned about life–and especially FOSS–from three of my amazing free software mentors is that we’re never qualified when we start something new–or at least we don’t feel that way. I had no clue what I was doing when I first thought about running for the OSI board. All I knew was that I wanted to do more for the community.

Think you’re too busy? You might be! You might not be! We’re a pretty busy lot, and we each put in what we’re capable of. Sometimes that’s advice and ideas; sometimes it’s fundraising, financial literacy skills, ideas, organizing, writing, and anything else you bring to the table.

Think you’ve nothing to say? I bet you do.

Joining a board is not only about you–it’s about giving back to the community that has given you so much. It’s about pushing a movement forward. It’s about bringing the ideas and voices of others to the table, and making sure that everyone is heard.

If you’re interested in running, but scared, uncertain, don’t think you’re qualified, want help, or just want to talk more about the responsibilities, please email me at molly [at] opensource [dot] org or Josh Simmons at josh [at] opensource [dot] org.

Board members also get sweet email addresses, and that alone is reason enough to run.

Previously, the board was appointed by the board. This gave them the opportunity to create a group representing a range of experiences and skill sets, as well as fill necessary niches of knowledge (licensing, technical skills, community organization, etc). Now that we have a board elected by membership, it’s more crucial for people to both nominate themselves, if they don’t see enough representation, and join the OSI. In order for elections to actually reflect the FLOSS community, wee need a strong, varied membership from all over the world. So, in addition to running or encouraging your friends to run, consider joining as an Individual or Affiliate member.

Categories: Open Source

Happy Anniversary—The Next 20 Years of Open Source Begins

Open Source Initiative - Sat, 02/03/2018 - 08:53

Open Source Software—yes, we did coin the term (thanks Christine Peterson) and started the movement—is software that can be freely used, changed, and shared (in modified or unmodified form) by anyone.

Thirty-five years ago when Richard Stallman decided that he could no longer tolerate proprietary software, and started the free software movement, software freedom was misunderstood and dismissed. Twenty years ago a group of free software advocates gathered in California and decided that software freedom needed to be brought to the business world. The result was a marketing program called “open source”. That same month, February 1998, the Open Source Initiative (OSI) was founded as a general educational and advocacy organization to raise awareness and adoption for the superiority of an open development process.

It is said, whenever you start a revolution first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then they join you.

People did laugh at the idea of free software, they questioned the quality of the software, the feasibility of the development model, and the commitment of the community. English-speaking people only heard the word “free” as in no money, and they laughed at the idea of software being created without cost or payment.

With the launch of the open source marketing program people fought us. SCO fought very strongly. It tried to kill off Linux. Microsoft tried to kill open source, conspiring in something called the Halloween documents.

Yet today they’ve joined us—open source is eating the software world. As the vast majority of users and developers believe, open source improves your efficiency in software development, it leads to and eases interoperability, and fosters higher quality software delivered faster and cheaper. Businesses find open source software fundamental to infrastructure, as well as a critical factor for driving innovation.

But we’re also facing the next 10 years of open source.

The first 10 years of open source were dedicated to advocacy and controlled by controversy. In the second 10 years we saw adoption and even ascendancy within many sectors. Ahead, in the third 10 years, the goal is assimilation, and the expectation is authenticity.

Over the next ten years, the OSI anticipates open source communities to gradually change. The first decade was characterized by enthusiasts or hobbyists—a hacker community—devoted to developing specialized tools or projects to replace off-the-shelf software. In the second decade open source focused on components, and was dominated by single-project specialists (i.e. individual companies, or non-profit organizations). The third decade will be dominated by generalists—businesses, consortia, and foundations—that work across many open source communities, integrating them and their outputs.

We also saw the first decade dominated by the search for “the open source business model.” We may never have found it, just companies that started up and tried to control us through their business. During the second decade, businesses focused on services supporting their internally-developed open source products. Over the next decade businesses will sell (and hire) the skills to assemble, integrate, and operate the component parts that characterizes today’s businesses like Google and Facebook and Twitter—every business will face complexity, and scaling that complexity in production.

Open source succeeded because the OSI first defined open source (thanks Bruce Perens & Debian), then standardized licenses. What we'll see in the next decade is the consolidation of licenses, and sadly, we expect to see abuse of the open source software label (i.e. fauxpen source and openwashing). We will see a stabilization and a shrinking of the number of licenses in use, because of the need to manage ecosystems of complexity.

In the third decade of open source, we will rediscover software freedom. We allowed ourselves to be divided—the free software and open source communities—and pretended there was a difference between the two, but there is not. They are both expressions of software freedom and we're going to rediscover that in the next 10 years because we will be forced to solve problems with new models: cloud computing, the Internet of Things, manipulation of Big Data, Blockchain, 5G, etc. As we solve those problems we will discover that it is vital to go back to the Four Freedoms, ensuring software is free to use, that it is open to study, that it may be freely changed, and that it may be equally distributed.

Finally, the OSI has a future as well. The OSI has been crystallizing consensus for the last 20 years, and we're committed to that work. Our support for continued growth, in both open source software and the communities that enable it, will change. “Open Source has won” so the need for combating "fear, uncertainty and doubt," the propaganda that questioned open source software’s viability or feasibility, has waned. An organization dedicated to simply promoting adoption and advocating for collaboration is no longer enough. Although the OSI will take on this work when needed, the upcoming decade will require adopting and contributing organizations to operate and engage authentically, ensuring interactions between projects and communities conform to established norms, best practices, and an open ethos if they want to successfully manage the emerging complexity. Helping open source users, developers, and communities here, will be an important role for the OSI in the third decade.

New initiatives with institutions of higher education and professional development programs will allow those just beginning with open source or those working to address complexity, no matter what their role—developer, community manager, project/program manager, marketing professional, attorney, CIO, CEO or any other—to benefit from all the opportunities of software freedom.

OSI Working Groups will be expanded. We will continue to invest in groups and projects that directly increase the awareness and adoption of open source, and build bridges between communities. But we realize, due to open source’s broad influence spanning many technologies, sectors, and industries, that we will need to extend the scope of our initiatives to address new issues, emerging from fields which we never anticipated impacted before, or simply did not exist.

In the very near-term—and on a much lighter note—over the next year we will be celebrating: celebrating 20 years of open source and 35 years of software freedom. So along with our affiliate members, sponsors and some of the worlds most influential conferences, we're calling a big party and you're all invited. That big party starts on the 3rd of February, 2018—today—with anniversary celebrations throughout the world, the first are at FOSDEM (right now) in Brussels, and at Campus Party Brasil, in Sao Paulo (also right now). In addition to these events we will be hosting celebrations at other venues and conferences across the globe, at ACT-W, All Things Open, FOSSAsia, Linux.Conf.au, LinuxFest Northwest, OpenApereo, OpenCamps, OpenExpo, OSCON, Paris Open Source Summit, and SCaLE16x.

In recognition of both OSI's and Open Source Software’s 20th Anniversary, and in order to begin our work for the next decade, we are launching the Open Sources Network (online via Opensource.net), which will serve both as a community of practice and a mentorship program for those addressing legacy issues of open source as well as facing the complexity ahead. The goal of the Open Sources Network at opensource.net is to further promote and support adoption of open source software over the next twenty years as issues shift from open source’s viability and value to issues around complexity and authentic participation.

The Open Sources Network connects those that “get it” and “did it” with a global network of highly qualified peers across industries. Your experiences as an exemplar in the community will help others address common (or unique) issues. Some open source themes you will find to explore include:

  1. Development : How has open source benefited code development at organizations in terms of costs, quality, customization, security, support, and interoperability? How do organizations manage open source development/contributions?
  2. Business: What business practices align best with open source? How do companies collaborate with others to enhance products and services while creating new business opportunities?
  3. Brand Awareness: How have organizations’ commitment to open source helped promote their brand among the open source community, their communities, markets, and industries?
  4. Community Building: How has open source helped organizations connect with developers, businesses, non-profits, government, and/or educational institutions.
  5. Talent Nurturing: How has participation in the open source community helped organizations attract and retain the best talent?
  6. Open Innovation: How has open source, both from a legal perspective (e.g. OSI-approved licenses) and social perspective (culture of collaboration), helped organizations drive innovation?
  7. Leadership: What is the future of open source? What are the challenges and opportunities for the next 20 years within and across different organizations, projects, technologies? How will open source shape industry, and what role will organizations play?

We hope you will join us in celebrating throughout 2018, but also join us in our work over the next decade. We've come an amazing distance from 35 years ago, and we’ve achieved so much over the past 20 years: we can all be proud of what we’ve accomplished, excited about what is yet to come, and committed to continued development. The future of open source belongs to us!

Image credit: RevolutionOS, ©Copyright 2002 Wonderview Productions, LLC All Rights Reserved http://www.revolution-os.com/
Edited by, Patrick Masson.

Categories: Open Source

"Anyone and Everyone," Leslie Hawthorn Reflects on 20 Years of Open Source.

Open Source Initiative - Thu, 01/25/2018 - 09:29

I believe there are two big challenge currently facing open source communities: cultivating empathy and sustaining maintainers.

The Open Source Software Movement and the Open Source Initiative will celebrate our 20th anniversary in 2018. As part of that celebration, we're asking open source luminaries to reflect on the past twenty years—the milestones, success, controversies, and even failures—to capture and understand our shared history, and the impact of the open source movement on not only software and technology, but also business, community and culture. We're also curious to hear what those who have done so much to help drive open source to where it is today, on where it should go tomorrow.

We thank very much all of those who have not only take the time to offer their perspectives here, but who have also worked so hard of the past 20 years to make open source software and the OSI so successful.

In this edition, we hear from Leslie Hawthorn. Leslie is a former OSI Board Member, and an internationally known developer relations strategist and community management expert, Leslie has spent the past decade creating, cultivating, and enabling open source communities. She’s best known for creating the world’s first initiative to involve pre-university students in open source software development, launching Google’s #2 developer blog, and receiving an O’Reilly Open Source Award in 2010. Her career has provided her with the opportunity to develop, hone, and share open source expertise spanning enterprise to NGOs, including senior roles at Red Hat, Google, and Elastic.

If you cheer during movies when you hear the words “I fight for the users” or “Get your head out of your cockpit,” the two of you will likely get along famously. Follow her on Twitter @lhawthorn or read her blog at https://hawthornlandings.org/.

1. What does "open source" mean to you, and what do you think its most significant impact has been?

My understanding of the term open source is of course rooted in the OSI's Open Source Definition, which you can read in its entirety at https://opensource.org/osd. For me, the most important aspect of these principles is that developers can create software that is of value to themselves and others, then make it available to everyone for their own use. The greatest value of open source lies in the fact that anyone can make use of it provided they have the knowledge to do so, and they may also make improvements to that software that benefit themselves and others.

In terms of overall impact, I’m delighted to see that companies have adopted the open source model as a cornerstone of their businesses. Without open source languages, libraries, operating systems and frameworks, the technological innovations we see today would have taken much longer or, perhaps, have been cost-prohibitive. Now anyone with a great idea can start a successful company by building a compelling application atop an open source stack and bring that idea to market quickly.

It’s easy to point to the importance of open source software in building large corporations like Google - without the gratis and open source LAMP stack, the company arguably would not exist today - but for me open source’s impact on business is more compelling at the individual and small business level. Small businesses can thrive producing open source software and/or supporting its use; just take a look at the huge number of SMBs supporting say the Drupal content management system or the great success that Basecamp (formerly 37signals) has had creating their products with Ruby on Rails. Not to mention the great success they have achieving work-life balance for their employees whilst profiting handsomely!

2. Over the past 20 years, what do you feel has been some of the key developments in the open source software movement that has led to its success? What do you think is still missing?

The adoption of open source software by businesses has been one of its key success factors. Most companies no longer believe the bad press that open source software is dangerous or that open source licenses can harm their business. Even Microsoft now loves Linux (and Go, and Python, and ….)!

While we’re still in the early stages of adoption, I think that a greater acceptance of InnerSource principles by companies will be the next great step for open source. (For those unfamiliar with the term, the idea is to develop software behind the corporate firewall as ‘open source’ - with everyone having access to the code repositories to follow development or even contributing, regardless of where they sit in the organization.) By entrusting an organization’s technical team’s to work in The Open Source Way, companies have become demonstrably more efficient in their development practices, saving time, money and, most importantly, making their employees feel a greater sense of ownership and empowerment over their work. People who feel a great sense of autonomy and mastery produce beautiful things.

3. How has the OSI been able to further the awareness and adoption of open source software, development, communities? What should the OSI be focusing on in the future?

The OSI’s advocacy work over the years has been a crucial part of ensuring that the Open Source Definition (OSD) applies to a given work. We’ve seen a ton of “open washing” - companies claiming a work is open source even when it does not conform to the OSD - as the idea of openness and transparency has gained popularity with developers and consumers alike. The OSI works to make sure that the freedoms promised to a particular person under the OSD are present in a product when its called “open source”; it’s not just a PR ploy.

For the future, I would love to see the OSI focus on improving the overall ecosystem for open source projects in a variety of ways: helping to make our communities more diverse so that the software available meets the needs of the greatest number of people; sharing the knowledge of 20 years of history with technologists so we can live up to open source’s great promise of not constantly reinventing the wheel; championing the values of openness and transparency not just in how they impact software development, but also as a model for all of society.

4. What are your expectations for open source software and communities over the next 10 or even 20 years?

I believe there are two big challenge currently facing open source communities: cultivating empathy and sustaining maintainers. (You can argue that the second is actually a subset of the first point, but I believe it’s critical to analyze the two separately.) We are in the earliest stages of solving both problems.

Cultivating empathy in open source is crucial as it seems that everything - well, almost everything - is built upon open source software. While the old adage is that good open source developers scratch their own itch, when creating works that are used so widely, we must always be aware that not everyone shares our “itches,” meaning our life experience. (While neither is open source, consider two hot button issues of today: abuse on Twitter and issues with the facial recognition feature of the new iPhone, both criticized as a result of their creators’ not sufficiently understanding use cases and life experiences beyond their own.)

Regardless of differing life experiences, humans have the need to solve the same problems with software. The more that we see empathy blossom into a key feature of our development practices, the more we will see that the resulting technology provides benefits to wider swathes of people. The benefits for users who do not have our same itches provide benefits to all users, making products better.

Supporting maintainers in their work must be more effective to make open source software production sustainable. There are a large number of people working unpaid on various mission critical pieces of software; an unsettlingly large number, actually: open source maintainers working as individuals simply cannot sustain what has been coined open source’s “free rider problem.” (I highly recommend Nadia Eghbal’s excellent research under the auspices of The Ford Foundation, Roads and Bridges: The Unseen Labor Behind Our Digital Infrastructure, for both its scholarly depth and highly approachable discussion of the topic.)

No person or small group of persons can be relied upon to create and support software used by thousands of people without financial support, not to mention project management assistance, quality health care, and the opportunity to take a break from one’s work. The general interim solution has, thus far, been for large corporations to hire key developers and pay them to continue work on their open source project, but this solution has been problematic. It works wonderfully when the developers’ and company’s interest converge, but these developers may find themselves at odds with their company’s expectations for prioritizing feature development or even demonstrating the importance of funding their work when a particular tool or language is no longer in vogue at that company. We need to figure out a reasonable way to ensure that those creating important works of software are compensated and cared for beyond traditional employment relationships.

Fortunately, this problem is being actively addressed by a number of smart folks so I’m confident we’ll see a more sustainable approach to open source development in the coming decade. We’ve seen developers get support via crowdfunding sites like Patreon or Librepay, but I think that programs & platforms targeted specifically at open source developers will meet with greater success than those focused on supporting creators in general. The folks at GitHub have created a program focusing on support for open source maintainers, led by the aforementioned scholar Nadia Eghbal. There are start ups focusing on helping maintainers create sustainable small businesses, such as Tidelift (not coincidentally founded by open source developers), and even co-op models for maintainer support, such as snowdrift.coop.

Categories: Open Source

Open Source Initiative Announces New Partnership With Adblock Plus

Open Source Initiative - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 12:03

PALO ALTO, Calif. - Jan. 16, 2018 -- Adblock Plus, the most popular Internet ad blocker today, joins The Open Source Initiative® (OSI) as corporate sponsors. Since its very first version, Adblock Plus has been an open source project that has developed into a successful business with over 100 million users worldwide. As such, the German company behind it, eyeo GmbH, has decided it is time to give back to the open source community.

Founded in 1998, the OSI protects and promotes open source software, development and communities, championing software freedom in society through education, collaboration, and infrastructure. Adblock Plus is an open source project that aims to rid the Internet of annoying and intrusive online advertising. Its free web browser extensions (add-ons) put users in control by letting them block or filter which ads they want to see.

Commenting on the partnership Patrick Masson, General Manager at the OSI said, "We're very excited to welcome Adblock Plus to the OSI's growing list of sponsors. Adblock Plus and eyeo demonstrate how open source software can not only support business but actually drive business — two important lessons we here at the OSI have been promoting for nearly 20 years."

"With transparency being of utmost importance to us, Adblock Plus has been an open source project from the very start " said Wladimir Palant, eyeo founder & original developer. "This allowed us to build a loyal community around the project, with volunteer contributions helping the project to grow and thrive. We appreciate the work done by our community and will continue investing efforts into keeping Adblock Plus a truly open project where everybody can contribute"

Till Faida, founder and CEO of eyeo adds: "I am proud that we have built a successful company based on open source software. We are convinced that being open is key to innovation, so for us it is a mission and a business case. Today, eyeo has more than 100 employees all around the world, producing and running open software, wherever possible. With Adblock Plus we want to contribute to a sustainable, fair and open web for creators and consumers. So it is only logical to provide our products as open source."

Adblock Plus joins a broad range of well-known technology and software companies that all started as open source projects and matured into open source businesses. Now they are contributing back to the broader open source community as OSI sponsors and supporters.

About Adblock Plus

Adblock Plus (https://adblockplus.org/) is an open source project that aims to rid the Internet of annoying and intrusive online advertising. Its free web browser extension (add-ons) puts users in control by letting them block or filter which ads they want to see. Users across the world have downloaded Adblock Plus over 1 billion times, and it has remained the most downloaded and the most used extension almost continuously since November 2006. PC Magazine named the extension as one of the best free Google Chrome extensions, and it received About.com readers' choice award for best privacy/security add-on. Adblock Plus is a free browser add-on for Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Maxthon and Opera for desktop users, and offers a free browser for mobile users on iOS and Android.

Follow Adblock Plus on Twitter at @AdblockPlus and read our blogs at adblockplus.org/blog/. Media press kit with FAQ, images and company statistics is available at: eyeo.com/en/press.

Adblock Plus Media Contact
Laura Dornheim
laura(a)adblockplus.org
+49 172 8903504
@schwarzblond

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 California public benefit corporation, with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. For more information about the OSI, see https://opensource.org.

Follow the OSI on Twitter at @opensourceorg, and read our blogs at opensource.org/news.

OSI Media Contact
Italo Vignoli
italo(a)opensource.org

Categories: Open Source

Twenty Years and Counting

Open Source Initiative - Fri, 12/22/2017 - 09:14

The third decade of open source software starts in February 2018. How did it rise to dominance, and what’s next?

20 years ago, in February 1998, the term “open source” was first applied to software, Soon afterwards, the Open Source Definition was created and the seeds that became the Open Source Initiative (OSI) were sown. As the OSD’s author Bruce Perens relates,

'Open Source' is the proper name of a campaign to promote the pre-existing concept of Free Software to business, and to certify licenses to a rule set.

Twenty years later, that campaign has proven wildly successful, beyond the imagination of anyone involved at the time. Today open source software is literally everywhere. It is the foundation for the Internet and for the worldwide web. It powers the computers and mobile devices we all use, as well as the networks they connect to. Without it, cloud computing and the nascent Internet of Things would be impossible to scale and perhaps to create. It has allowed new ways of doing business to be tested and proven, allowing giant corporations like Google and Facebook to start from the top of a mountain others already climbed.

Like any human creation, it has a dark side as well. It has also unlocked dystopian possibilities for surveillance and the inevitably consequent authoritarian control. It has provided criminals with new ways to cheat their victims and unleashed the darkness of bullying delivered anonymously and at scale. It allows destructive fanatics to organise in secret without the inconvenience of meeting. All of these are shadows cast by useful capabilities, just as every human tool through history has been useful both to feed and care and to harm and control. We need to help the upcoming generation to strive for irreproachable innovation. As Richard Feynman quoted,

To every man is given the key to the gates of heaven. The same key opens the gates of hell.

As open source has matured, so the way it is discussed and understood has also matured. The first decade was one of advocacy and controversy, while the second was marked by adoption and adaptation.

  1. In the first decade, the key question concerned business models – “how can I contribute freely yet still be paid”, while during the second more people asked about governance – “how can I participate yet keep control/not be controlled”.
  2. Open source projects of the first decade were predominantly replacements for off-the-shelf products, while in the second decade they were increasingly components of larger solutions.
  3. Projects of the first decade were often run by informal groups of individuals, while in the second decade they were frequently run by charities created on a project-by-project basis.
  4. Open source developers of the first decade were frequently devoted to a single project and often worked in their spare time. In the second decade, they were increasingly employed to work on a specific technology – professional specialists.
  5. While open source was always intended as a way to promote software freedom, during the first decade conflict arose with those preferring the term “free software”. In the second decade this conflict was largely ignored as open source adoption accelerated.

So what will the third decade bring?

  1. The Complexity Business Model — The predominant business model will involve monetising the solution of the complexity arising from the integration of many open source parts, especially from deployment and scaling. Governance needs will reflect this.
  2. Open Source Mosaics — Open source projects will be predominantly families of component parts, together being built into stacks of components. The resultant larger solutions will be a mosaic of open source parts.
  3. Families Of Projects — More and more projects will be hosted by consortia/trade associations like the Linux Foundation and OpenStack and by general purpose charities like Apache and the Software Freedom Conservancy.
  4. Professional Generalists — Open source developers will increasingly be employed to integrate many technologies into complex solutions and will contribute in a range of projects.
  5. Software Freedom Redux — As new problems arise, software freedom (the application of the Four Freedoms to user and developer flexibility) will increasingly be applied to identify solutions that work for collaborative communities and independent deployers.

The OSI Board of Directors and many Board Alumni will be expounding on all this in conference keynotes around the world during 2018. Watch out for OSI’s 20th Anniversary World Tour!

This article was originally published in Meshed Insights, and was made possible by Patreon patrons.

Image credit: "NextDecade.png" is a derivative of "woodland-road-falling-leaf-natural-38537.jpeg", via Pixabay, and used with permission under Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license.

Categories: Open Source

Twenty Years and Counting

Open Source Initiative - Fri, 12/22/2017 - 09:13

The third decade of open source software starts in February 2018. How did it rise to dominance, and what’s next?

20 years ago, in February 1998, the term “open source” was first applied to software, Soon afterwards, the Open Source Definition was created and the seeds that became the Open Source Initiative (OSI) were sown. As the OSD’s author Bruce Perens relates,

“Open Source” is the proper name of a campaign to promote the pre-existing concept of Free Software to business, and to certify licenses to a rule set.

Twenty years later, that campaign has proven wildly successful, beyond the imagination of anyone involved at the time. Today open source software is literally everywhere. It is the foundation for the Internet and for the worldwide web. It powers the computers and mobile devices we all use, as well as the networks they connect to. Without it, cloud computing and the nascent Internet of Things would be impossible to scale and perhaps to create. It has allowed new ways of doing business to be tested and proven, allowing giant corporations like Google and Facebook to start from the top of a mountain others already climbed.

Like any human creation, it has a dark side as well. It has also unlocked dystopian possibilities for surveillance and the inevitably consequent authoritarian control. It has provided criminals with new ways to cheat their victims and unleashed the darkness of bullying delivered anonymously and at scale. It allows destructive fanatics to organise in secret without the inconvenience of meeting. All of these are shadows cast by useful capabilities, just as every human tool through history has been useful both to feed and care and to harm and control. We need to help the upcoming generation to strive for irreproachable innovation. As Richard Feynman quoted,

To every man is given the key to the gates of heaven. The same key opens the gates of hell.

As open source has matured, so the way it is discussed and understood has also matured. The first decade was one of advocacy and controversy, while the second was marked by adoption and adaptation.

  1. In the first decade, the key question concerned business models – “how can I contribute freely yet still be paid”, while during the second more people asked about governance – “how can I participate yet keep control/not be controlled”.
  2. Open source projects of the first decade were predominantly replacements for off-the-shelf products, while in the second decade they were increasingly components of larger solutions
  3. .
  4. Projects of the first decade were often run by informal groups of individuals, while in the second decade they were frequently run by charities created on a project-by-project basis.
  5. Open source developers of the first decade were frequently devoted to a single project and often worked in their spare time. In the second decade, they were increasingly employed to work on a specific technology – professional specialists.
  6. While open source was always intended as a way to promote software freedom, during the first decade conflict arose with those preferring the term “free software”. In the second decade this conflict was largely ignored as open source adoption accelerated.
  7. So what will the third decade bring?

    1. The Complexity Business Model — The predominant business model will involve monetising the solution of the complexity arising from the integration of many open source parts, especially from deployment and scaling. Governance needs will reflect this.
    2. Open Source Mosaics — Open source projects will be predominantly families of component parts, together being built into stacks of components. The resultant larger solutions will be a mosaic of open source parts.
    3. Families Of Projects — More and more projects will be hosted by consortia/trade associations like the Linux Foundation and OpenStack and by general purpose charities like Apache and the Software Freedom Conservancy.
    4. Professional Generalists — Open source developers will increasingly be employed to integrate many technologies into complex solutions and will contribute in a range of projects.
    5. Software Freedom Redux — As new problems arise, software freedom (the application of the Four Freedoms to user and developer flexibility) will increasingly be applied to identify solutions that work for collaborative communities and independent deployers.
    6. I’ll be expounding on all this in conference keynotes around the world during 2018. Watch out for OSI’s 20th Anniversary World Tour!

      This article was originally published in Meshed Insights, and was made possible by Patreon patrons.

      Image credit: "NextDecade.png" is a derivative of "woodland-road-falling-leaf-natural-38537.jpeg", via Pixabay, and used with permission under Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license.

Categories: Open Source

Open Yet Closed

Open Source Initiative - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 11:12

In these days of code that no single mind can grasp, it's hard to see how software freedom is present when there's no realistic community access to source code.

In the early days of Free Software, it was a safe assumption that anyone using a computer had coding skills of some sort -- even if only for shell scripts. As a consequence, many advocates of Free Software, despite a strong focus on user freedoms, had a high tolerance for software that made source available under free terms without providing binaries.

That was considered undesirable, but as long as the source code could be used it was not disqualifying. Many other ways evolved to ensure that the software was somehow impractical to deploy without a commercial relationship with a particular vendor, even if the letter of the rules around Free Software was met.

This tolerance for "open but closed" models continued into the new Open Source movement. As long as code was being liberated under open source licenses, many felt the greater good was being served despite obstacles erected in service of business models.

But times have changed. Random code liberation is still desirable, but the source of the greatest value to the greatest number is the collaboration and collective innovation open source unlocks. While abstract "open" was tolerated in the 20th century, only "open for collaboration" satisfies the open source communities of the 21st century. Be it "open core", "scareware", "delayed open", "source only for clients", "patent royalties required" or one of the many other games entrepreneurs play, meeting the letter of the OSD or FSD without actually allowing collaboration is now deprecated.

As a consequence, OSI receives more complaints from community members about "open yet closed" than any other topic. Companies of all sizes who loudly tout their love for open source yet withhold source code from non-customers generate the most enquiries of this type. When approached, OSI contacts these companies on behalf of the community but the response is always that they are "within their rights" under the relevant open source licenses and can do what they please.

One claim that deserves to be soundly debunked is that it's OK to withhold open source code from non-customers. All open source licenses should be interpreted as requiring source to be made available to the public. OSD 2 is very clear:

2. The program must include source code, and must allow distribution in source code as well as compiled form. Where some form of a product is not distributed with source code, there must be a well-publicized means of obtaining the source code for no more than a reasonable reproduction cost, preferably downloading via the Internet without charge. The source code must be the preferred form in which a programmer would modify the program. Deliberately obfuscated source code is not allowed. Intermediate forms such as the output of a preprocessor or translator are not allowed.M/small>

Interestingly it's common that the companies involved obtained the source code they are monetising under an open source license, while they themselves own the copyrights to a tiny percentage of the code. They can be considered to have enclosed the commons, enjoying the full benefits of open source themselves -- and celebrating it -- but excluding others from collaboration on the same terms.

Many community members would tolerate this were it not for the company claims to be strong supporters of open source. Even this behaviour might be mitigated for some with upstream code contributions. But in the absence of public code, most community members dispute something is open source, regardless of the license used. "Open yet closed" may have been tolerated twenty years ago, but today the rule is open up or shut up.

Image credit: "OpenClosedPost.png" is a derivative of "Paris - A Bicycle against an old wall - 4292.jpg", 2008 by Jorge Royan (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons and used with permission under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Categories: Open Source

Open Source Initiative Announces DigitalOcean Corporate Sponsorship

Open Source Initiative - Tue, 11/07/2017 - 20:45

Cloud services platform will provide both financial and in-kind contributions to support OSI infrastructure and new collaboration platform.

PALO ALTO, Calif. - Nov. 8, 2017 -- The Open Source Initiative® (OSI), dedicated to increasing the awareness and adoption of open source software, is delighted to welcome DigitalOcean as a Premium Sponsor. DigitalOcean, a cloud services platform designed for developers, will provide both financial support and hosting for several OSI community-driven services.

A Forbes' Cloud 100 company, DigitalOcean's active engagement and investment in open source software highlights how today's most innovative and successful companies have recognized the value of, and opportunities within, open communities of collaboration. The company regularly sponsors open source related MeetUps and Hackathons—including their popular "Hacktoberfest", develops tutorials on open source technologies and techniques, maintains and contributes to a number of open source projects, and of course offers hosting to open source projects and foundations.

"DigitalOcean's support provides a critical boost to the OSI's ongoing operations, and for the new, community-focused programs we'll be launching in 2018," says Patrick Masson, General Manager at OSI. "With the growth in open source software across all sectors, the OSI is seeing more and more requests for assistance and resources. DigitalOcean's services will provide the OSI with the dedicated infrastructure we need now to successfully extend and expand our support for the new and growing roles emerging in open source communities of practice."

"One of our core company values is, our community is bigger than just us," says Greg Warden, VP, Engineering at DigitalOcean. "From our KVM-based hypervisors to our Go and Ruby applications running on our Kubernetes clusters, DigitalOcean is built on a foundation of open source. That's why it is so important for us to support the Open Source Initiative in its work promoting and protecting open source on behalf of the community."

As a non-profit, community-driven organization, the OSI relies on the support of volunteers who lend their time to develop and manage internal operations and working groups; individual contributing members, whose annual dues provide critical support and votes elect the Board; Affiliate Members, composed of a who's who of open source projects and foundations, and; corporations who choose to support our mission through in-kind donations and generous financial contributions.

About DigitalOcean

DigitalOcean is a cloud services platform designed for developers that businesses use to run production applications at scale. It provides highly available, secure and scalable compute, storage and networking solutions that help developers build great software faster. Founded in 2012 with offices in New York and Cambridge, MA, DigitalOcean offers simple services, transparent pricing, an elegant user interface, and one of the largest libraries of open source resources available. For more information, please visit http://www.digitalocean.com or follow @digitalocean.

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 California public benefit corporation, with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.

Media Contact
Italo Vignoli
italo@opensource.org

Categories: Open Source
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