Bruce Perens wants back into the circle of influence, it seems.
The man credited with coining the term "open source" and writing The Open Source Definition says he doesn't like the increasing influence that open source vendors are wielding within the Open Source Initiative. He wants a seat on the OSI executive board. As internetnews.com blogger Sean Michael Kerner pointed out Tuesday, Perens is collecting signatures on a petition that he hopes will earn him a nomination.
As of this writing, he's 1200-plus signatures into the collection process, but I'm not sure Perens is going about this in the right way. In his petition, he says:
...vendors tend to dominate the leadership of organizations like OSI and conferences about Open Source in business, to the point that many people have been led to believe that they are the most important participants. I'm not anti-vendor, I've built several of them and currently own one. But I think that vendor-domination of Open Source inevitably dilutes the rights of everyone else. With its increasing participation in Open Source, there's even a chance that Microsoft could be offered an OSI board seat.
Yet others -- at least one of whom is OSI's current president -- say that Perens has it wrong. IBM as a corporation doesn't have a board seat, nor does Red Hat, nor would Microsoft. Individuals who work at those companies may, but they're there on their own merits, Michael Tiemann says -- not by virtue of their positions in those companies.
I would suggest that pointing out (in very negative fashion) what the current board is doing wrong is not the best way to land in its members' good graces such that they might consider having you join them -- especially when you don't lay out how you would correct the "problems" that you perceive.
Moreover, as outgoing board member Matt Asay notes, board membership is in part based on what one has contributed to open source lately. Aside from his reputation as an evangelist, Asay says, Perens hasn't done much.