PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Open Source Initiative, a non-profit organization that advocates for open-source software and builds bridges between open-source communities, announced that it is accepting applications for Individual Membership, starting immediately.
Up to now, individuals were not allowed to join the OSI. However that has changed and open source community members worldwide are invited to join OSI now at opensource.org/join and help shape the future of open source, OSI officials said. The OSI announced this move at the OReilly Open Source Convention 2012 (OSCON) here.
"The transformation of the OSI into a member-based organization is a timely and important step for the worldwide open source community," said Simon Phipps, OSI president, in a statement. "I encourage everyone to visit opensource.org/join and take a stand for open source."
The OSI was founded in 1998 and over the last 14 years has been led by a small board of directors who have managed work including advocacy and open source license review and approval. The board felt that, with the increasingly pervasive acceptance of open source, it was time to expand the base of the OSI and give open source developers, users and vendors a direct role in its mission of education, advocacy and unity. As such, at the start of the year the OSI created an Affiliate Membership program open to not-for-profit organizations. As of today, 22 organisations have enrolled, from Apache to Wikimedia. Full details can be found at http://opensource.org/affiliates, where other organizations are invited to enroll. OSI also announced that three new Affiliates have enrolled this month: the Open Source Software Institute, the Python Software Foundation, and SOUJava (the Brazilian Java user group).
Describing the situation in an FAQ of sorts about the new individual membership on the OSI site, OSI said: The OSI is moving its governance from a model of volunteer and self-appointed directors to one driven by members. Our high-level objectives in doing so are to provide a broad meeting place for everyone who shares an interest in open source software, with the continuing aim of strengthening the OSI so that it can more effectively fulfill its goals over the long term. These goals include safely maintaining the Open Source Definition, managing the approval of open source licenses, and publicly supporting the widespread adoption and use of open source software. We believe that having a large global membership base is an excellent way to achieve those goals, and that our Individual Members will be able to advocate for open source in their communities and organizations. Individual Members, combined with OSI Affiliate organizations, can help make the OSI the strongest voice for open source around the world.
The new Individual Membership category allows individuals who support the mission and work of the OSI to join discussions about that work, to be represented in the evolving governance of the OSI, and to spin up task-focused Working Groups to tackle open source community needs. Individual Members are asked to make a tax-deductible donation to support the mission of OSI. More information about Individual Membership is available at http://opensource.org/members.
Meanwhile, a month ago, on June 18, the OSI Board announced that five organizations had applied for and been granted Affiliate Membership of the Open Source Initiative, including the first User Group. Joining the list of OSI affiliates in June were:
"Â· AFUL, Association Francophone des Utilisateurs de Logiciels Libres (French speaking Libre Software Users' Association)Â· The Document Foundation, home to the LibreOffice communityÂ· The OuterCurve Foundation, working to enable the exchange of code and understanding among software companies and open source communitiesÂ· OW2, the open source community for infrastructure softwareÂ· The Wikimedia Foundation, which operates some of the largest collaboratively edited reference projects in the world, including Wikipedia, a top-ten internet property"