[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: OSI affiliation

Stefano Zacchiroli <zack@debian.org>
> On Tue, Feb 14, 2012 at 10:06:56PM +0000, MJ Ray wrote:
> > I would be disappointed if this happened.  The Open Source Initiative
> > failed, for reasons that aren't important at this point - they should
> > belatedly accept that and merge its corporation into SPI or another
> > suitable continuing vehicle, rather than continue as an unseemly
> > zombie organisation with its non-FOSS certification scheme that
> Wow, that's quite a bold paragraph :)

Someone once said we're at our best when we're at our boldest.

> I'm not sure what you mean with "failed", given that the organization
> exists, [...]

The OSI was an initiative to secure a trade mark for open source.
http://slashdot.org/articles/980810/1817242.shtml seems to be one of
the few places I could find the original announcement of OSI (rather
than the term "open source" - it's not been available on the OSI
website for some time AFAIK).

No trade mark was possible = it failed.  That's not debatable, is it?

I'm sorely aware that the corporation still exists.  That's why I call
it a zombie or body-snatcher.  Many of us who supported the original
initative learned quite a lot about trade marks and how icky they are,
then stopped supporting it.  The organisation was repurposed around a
certification mark and a rather annoying begware licensing scheme,
instead of closing down or merging up in a timely fashion.

> I also don't understand the analogy you're making among SPI and OSI:
> they pursue rather different goals.

Sorry - I meant to make a comparison, not an analogy.

What are OSI's goals?  "The OSI are the stewards of the Open Source
Definition (OSD) and the community-recognized body for reviewing and
approving licenses as OSD-conformant." http://www.opensource.org/about

That's what it says on OSI's tin.  I think the OSI lawyer-heavy
community-light process has caused conflict with debian developers and
ftpmasters a few times in the past.  So why is OSD stewardship and
someone else approving more licences something the debian project
should support?

Now, the OP said that OSI is changing.  Great.  Can we at least let it
change, then decide, instead of buying vapourware?

If we can help shape the change, so much the better.  But my preferred
change would be to wind up OSI, about a dozen years late, and make its
tasks a subgroup of some more holistic community association.

> > If we want to get involved in the important political battles more, we
> > should support the older organisations, some of which we are already
> > affiliated to.
> As a matter of fact, there aren't that many organizations that both do
> Free Software political battles and accept affiliation at the project
> granularity. Most only accept individual memberships and donations ---
> entirely legitimate ways of seeking for help, but not something we could
> pursue as a project.

Yes, I agree.  I'm acutely aware of this.  I think that some of them
only have associate memberships or supporterships or donorships, not
even individual memberships.  Nevertheless, we're already involved
with some and I think OSI adds nothing good to the current mix.

> > Also, we're not exactly bestowing more support on our existing partner
> > organisations than they could use, are we?
> First of all, there is no mutual exclusion here. We're discussing this
> opportunity here and now, because they've approached us now (and because
> we're nice folks who consider and answer to proposals). We can discuss
> other proposals in the future, without incompatibilities.

Please don't be flattered.  You don't need to dance with every hot
stud that asks.

> Then, I've some troubles instantiating the plural of your paragraph
> above. The only organization I see that fits it is SPI.

I think there's 8 delegated organisations at the moment.  There are
two that are minimalist groups that I suspect don't want more help,
two that look like they could use it (but maybe restricted to
particular human languages) and the others that I don't know.

> We're contributing *a lot* to SPI: I've done that as Debian project
> liaison for the past 2 years¹ and 7 out of 9 members of SPI board of
> directors are Debian Developers. I also routinely call for Debian
> Developers to get more active in SPI, because that would increase
> the quality of the services they offer not only to Debian, but to
> all affiliated projects.

I know, I'm thankful for those that do and I'm sorry I've not done
more.  I wonder if any of those 7 are, like me, contributors to more
than one associated project.  But DDs could still do more.

> You seem to imply that affiliating to OSI would diminish our
> participation in SPI. I fail to see the logic behind that implication.

The underlying reason is the project has a finite pool of volunteers.
Other organisations have better goals than OSI, but OSI has been very
successful with marketing and ignoring the inconsistencies at the
heart of the organisation, so I fear that debian would be encouraging
more castles to be built on shifting sands.  Maybe our participation
in SPI would persist, but not grow, and there wouldn't be more DDs
involved with the other partners.

Hope that clarifies,
MJ Ray (slef), member of www.software.coop, a for-more-than-profit co-op.
http://koha-community.org supporter, web and library systems developer.
In My Opinion Only: see http://mjr.towers.org.uk/email.html
Available for hire (including development) at http://www.software.coop/

Reply to: