OSI Board Meeting Report
The new OSI Board met in Washington DC last week. We held an effective face-to-face meeting where we discussed the progress of our plans to transform OSI into a member-based organisation. We held officer elections, once again electing Martin Michlmayr as Secretary, filling the vacancy for CFO left by Alolita Sharma by electing Karl Fogel and replacing him as Assistant Treasurer by electing Mike Milinkovich. I was re-elected as President and thank the Board for that vote of confidence in this time of change.
Among much other business, we considered how to fill the Board vacancy we have reserved for an OSI Individual Member and how to structure the Board going forward. We decided we will hold an election in June where any Individual Member may stand for election and vote for their preferred candidate. Details will be sent to members soon; now is a great time to join OSI if you want to be involved in the election.
We also decided to change the bylaws so that the seats on the Board are now allocated for election either by Affiliates or Individual Members when they fall vacant. Seats elected by Affiliates will have three-year terms; seats elected by Individual Members will have one-year terms. We will retain a term limit of six consecutive years. The transformation to a fully elected Board will be completed by 2016.
Concerning support of OSI by companies, we heard that there are many businesses that want to support OSI financially, but that none of those approached so far has felt they want to be involved in OSI's governance. We therefore decided we will no longer aim to have any Directors elected by corporate members, and will convert our outreach to businesses into sponsorship instead. We'll post details of how your company can sponsor OSI soon - of course, donations are welcome at any time and we are grateful to the companies which have already decided to support us.
Probably the largest development we discussed was staffing. The role of the Board to this point has been to serve as a pool of volunteers to directly deliver OSI's mission. As such, we have been limited in our activity by the free time of the volunteer Board. The future we envisage is one where our members can bring their vision for OSI, devise new resources and activities and have the Board deploy and sustain what they create. To deliver this and other member services, we have decided to recruit a General Manager for OSI. We have formed a staffing committee to formalise the job description we've agreed and we will publish the vacancy soon.
We also held two successful OSI events in DC; a report on those will follow.
OSI Board of Directors 2013-14
Back row: Bruno Souza, Karl Fogel, Luis Villa, Mike Millinkovich, Tony Wasserman, Martin Michlmayr
Front row: Jim Jagielski, Simon Phipps, Deb Bryant
Not shown: Harshad Gune
There is one vacancy at present, to be filled in June by election.
OSI Board Changes 2013
One of the ways we're turning OSI into a member organisation is to gradually replace the Board with member-selected directors. This process started last year when OSI's Affiliate members -- non-profit organizations themselves -- selected candidates for the Board. This year, two directors have left the Board; Fabio Kon, whose education initiatives for OSI have been held in high regard, and Alolita Sharma, who has been an OSI director for many years and in multiple roles but most recently served as OSI's Treasurer. The Board thanks them both warmly for their service to OSI and to open source.
The vacancies they left were allocated to our two member categories. The Affiliates selected Bruno Souza of Brazil as their candidate and the Board duly appointed Bruno as a director of OSI yesterday - welcome! The Affiliates have now selected three of OSI's eleven directors. The second vacancy will be filled via an election by the Individual members of OSI later this quarter -- details to follow.
The Board -- including Bruno Souza -- will meet in Washington DC next week to select its officers for 2013-14 and to plan the next steps in OSI's transformation. If you would like to meet them, please come to OSI's DC Metro Open Source Community Summit on May 10.
Non-Profit Accounting Software
Software Freedom Conservancy have announced a fundraising campaign for an Open Source non-profit accounting system. The campaign seeks to raise $75,000 to fund a full-time developer for one year to first reevaluate existing solutions for their viability as a non-profit accounting system, and then improve and augment the best available system to create a new solution that will help non-profits around the world manage their finances better.
To keep their books and produce annual government filings, most non-profit organizations (NPOs) rely on proprietary software, paying exorbitant licensing fees. This is fundamentally at cross purposes with their underlying missions of charity, equality, democracy, and sharing. Conservancy, as a non-profit charity dedicated to the advancement and improvement of Open Source and Free Software, seeks to address this problem.
This project has the potential to save the non-profit sector millions in licensing fees every year. Even NPOs that continue to use proprietary accounting software will benefit from the competition it creates in the market. But, more powerfully, this project's realization will increase the agility and collaborative potential for the non-profit sector — a boon to funders, boards, and employees — bringing software freedom related and general NPO communities into closer collaboration and understanding.
The OSI Board endorses this campaign and encourages contributions to support it.
OSI to Host DC Metro Open Source Community Summit May 10, 2013
Another in the series of public meetings to be hosted by the OSI around its next face-to-face board meeting, OSI will also host the non-profit DC Metro Open Source Community Summit at the Mayflower Renaissance in Washington, D.C. The May 10th, 2013 program will include short sessions by some of our OSI board members and an “unconference” format for maximum attendee participation, collaboration, and learning.
Open source community and user group leadership, open source project leads, committers and developers, non-profit foundations, open data engineers and others with an interest in learning more about growing and sustaining open source are invited to attend and participate. Registration is free to government employees, $20 to non.
Program details and registration information is available at the event web site at http://opensourcecommunitysummit.org .
Event Sponsors helping underwrite the non-profit event include Google, Eclipse Foundation, Red Hat, GitHub, Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), and MIL-OSS. Labor for producing the summit has been donated by The Open Bastion, along with the efforts of local volunteers and OSI board members to organize the Summit’s program.
Open Source License Clinic to be held May 9, 2013 in Washington, D.C.
The Open Source Initiative (OSI) will host a small open source license clinic as part of its non-profit educational mission, in collaboration with federal agency participants and the Washington D.C. technology community, at the US Library of Congress in Washington, D.C..
Who Should Attend? The clinic is designed as a cross-industry, cross-community workshop for legal, contract, acquisition and program professionals who wish to deepen their understanding of open source software licenses, and raise their proficiency to better serve their organizations objectives as well as identify problems which may be unique to government. Discussion of licenses and issues in straight-forward terms make the clinic of value to anyone involved in the life-cycle of a technology decision/acquisition or strategy for internal software development.
Your Moderator: The morning will be moderated by OSI board director and license committee chair Mr. Luis Villa. Mr. Villa is currently Deputy General Counsel at the Wikimedia Foundation. Previously he was an attorney at Greenberg Traurig and Mozilla, where he worked on the revision of the Mozilla Public License (MPL).
Open Source Licenses 201 - A tour of standard open source software licenses and their most common use.
Invited Expert Presenters & Panelists
Ms. Vicki Allums, General Counsel, Defense Information Systems Agency, Department of Defense
Mr. Jim Jagielski, OSI board director and President, Apache Foundation
Mr. Mike Milinkovich, OSI board director and Executive Director, Eclipse Foundation
Mr. Luis Villa, OSI board director and Deputy General Counsel, WIkimedia Foundation
Mr. David Wheeler, Analyst, Institute for Defense Analyses
Round Table: A panel of experts representing open source community, industry and government will discuss key licensing issues. Audience participation encouraged, questions will be taken from the floor. Some of the topics discussed will include:
- What are the common barriers - real or perceived - in government adoption of open source with regard to the licenses under which the software is distributed? What are the successful approaches to overcoming these? Where are the reference models in this regard?
- What are the challenges for industry or open source community in working with federal agencies? Who has been successful in overcoming these?
- How are government agencies distributing their own code under open source licenses? Include external shareholders in the process?
- What is the rational behind license non-proliferation? Does government need special license? What are the case studies or history in this area?
Registration and Venue Details at: Open Source License Clinic Registration
Please Note: You must register to attend the clinic; the clinic will be limited to the maximum capacity of the facility.
The clinic is designed to educate and provide a forum for discussion, and should not be construed as legal advice. Attendees should consult with their own legal counsel before making decisions regarding software licenses.