Perens' OSI Campaign Ailing

Lora Bentley

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.

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Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Mar 19, 2008 10:31 AM Bruce Perens Bruce Perens  says:
Hi Lora,Today, the public doesn't even know the date of the OSI election. They don't know who the candidates are, other than me. There is no visibility whatsoever. So, I feel that concern about who would be admitted to that board is legitimate. I am happy to hear - now - that Microsoft isn't getting in this year, but I want to be there to vote against them next year, or the year after that.My goal is not to endear myself to the OSI board, but to be an effective director there. Change is necessary, and we have to be able to criticize if we want to effect constructive change.Mike's insistence that members don't represent their employer has been shown to be naivé by standards organizations that insist on the same policy. I have sat in standards committees with avowed "individuals acting only for themselves" who have been clearly representing their company's viewpoint and had a staff of assistants from that company visibly present. Rather than point out my achievements, I suggest you consult the article on me in the Wikipedia. I think Matt doesn't think anyone is doing relevant work if they don't show up at his Open Source Business Conference.The OSI board, through their president, suggested that an uprising of public support was what I had to show to be elected. I have shown exactly that. If they can't handle political opposition as mild as the campaign I've mounted, they're only looking for yes-men.ThanksBruce Perens Reply
Mar 20, 2008 12:27 PM Andrew C. Oliver Andrew C. Oliver  says:
So let me get this straight, you don't just want to be on the board, you want to be a specially anointed leader of OSI? I was appointed as a board observer in part because I criticized OSI, its lack of transparency and its election process. OSI is presently moving to change this. My view: http://linuxintegrators.com/acoliver/blog/2008/03/20/x-0354.html Reply
Mar 25, 2008 12:53 PM Terry Lechecul Terry Lechecul  says:
> Aside from his reputation as an evangelist, >Asay says, Perens hasnt done much.I know Asay runs some company and if it wasnt for his blog, hed be a dime a dozen.Btw, when was the last time Bill Gates did something at Microsoft. He hasnt done much either. This statement is of course as idiotic as Asay who let's be honest doesnt want non-business affiliated members on the board. I think developers, the FSF and a few other groups SHOULD be represented. I think people who were there at the beginning should still have input instead of a generation of open source 'promoters' who were sellign used cars 4-5 years ago.There are more than one faction in open source whether mr Asay likes it or not. (Whether he knows this or not is another question) All deserve a word.And the process has to be totally open and clear. Reply

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