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Re: OSI affiliation

On Mon, Feb 13, 2012 at 06:40:08PM +0100, Stefano Zacchiroli wrote:
> Dear project members,
>   as you might have heard post-FOSDEM, the Open Source Initiative (OSI)
> is opening up to an affiliate membership structure [1,2].  As I've
> already mentioned in [3], representatives of OSI have approached me to
> know if Debian is interested into joining. I'd like to discuss with you
> such a possibility.

Thanks to anyone who has given feedback on this matter, both here on
list and in private mail. With the help of your feedback, I've now
decided to go ahead and request OSI affiliation on behalf of Debian.

A few comments on the feedback I've got:
- most of it is in favor of going forward
- some of the concerns are based on past inactivity by OSI -> I'm firmly
  convinced this has already changed; if it will turn out not to be the
  case we will quit
- I don't think that Debian reputation will be tarnished by the fact
  that OSI has approved in the past licenses we don't consider Free
  (1) I agree with those who commented on how joining an organization
      doesn't mean we will always will be in agreement with *all* the
      organization does; we share objectives but we keep a separate
      identity and we will remain a separate reputable body that decides
      on the Free-ness of FOSS licenses
  (2) I will mention the set of licenses we consider questionable and
      ask for action on them (e.g. marking them as "not recommended")
- "OSI has $flaw" -> ultimately, I think it is in Debian spirit to join
  something that we consider useful even if it is not perfect, and work
  toward "fixing its bugs"

Obviously, I'll need some help :-) I didn't think of proposing a press
release about us joining OSI in the beginning. But Russ' idea of taking
that chance to clarify that we will maintain a different judgement on
Free licenses sounds like a good idea. Any volunteer to help me out
drafting such an announcement?

Similarly --- even though I don't know yet what the timing will be ---
we will need project liaisons with OSI. I'll be happy to cover it up in
the beginning (given I've proposed this</dogfooding>), but I'll be even
happier to pass it over to someone I trust and who is interested in
joining OSI activities on behalf of Debian.

Stefano Zacchiroli     zack@{upsilon.cc,pps.jussieu.fr,debian.org} . o .
Maître de conférences   ......   http://upsilon.cc/zack   ......   . . o
Debian Project Leader    .......   @zack on identi.ca   .......    o o o
« the first rule of tautology club is the first rule of tautology club »

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