SPI drags feet on opensource.org

Posted 28 Aug 2001 at 04:10 UTC by nelsonrn Share This

Bet you thought that Software in the Public Interest (SPI) and the Open Source Initiative (OSI) were separate organizations. Well, we're not. Our (OSI's) domain name is owned by SPI, and SPI still has us listed as one of their projects. This is all very well and good, but SPI hasn't done anything to advance Open Source, and refuses to transfer the domain name to us.

We've established a protectable certification mark on "OSI Certified Open Source Software", unlike the supposed and theoretical SPI trademark on "Open Source". We're active in registering the mark; SPI's registration lapsed years ago. SPI let the opensource.org domain name lapse for two years running. OSI has had to pay on an emergency basis for opensource.org for two years running. SPI has Bruce Perens' home address as SPI's address on open-source.org. The buoy.com nameservers listed for opensource.org are not authoritative for opensource.org.

SPI has been struggling to create a committee to work on Open Source for almost two years now. This committee either doesn't exist, or has never met. It's not clear, because the SPI board's minutes have a 900 day gap. There's also a 600 day gap in the recording of resolutions. Were no officers elected? Was no business transacted for over a year and a half? My lawyer tells me that if I form a corporation in New York State, I must have annual meeting of the board of directors. Has SPI, Inc. had these meetings? Were minutes of the meeting kept?

By the way, SPI let openhardware.org lapse, and a porn site picked it up. Oh, and SPI's legal address is Tim Sailer's house. Poor Tim!

Obviously Software in the Public Interest is not an organization that the Open Source Initiative should trust with the ownership of its domain name. I've been asking them to transfer it to us ever since we incorporated. Matters rose to a head last March when they let the domain name lapse for nonpayment for the second year in a row. I had to use my own credit card to make sure that SPI didn't lose the name like they lost openhardware.org. It's nearly September, and there's been no action.

You can help us, though. Send email to the SPI board and politely request that they transfer the opensource.org domain name to the Open Source Initiative. Perhaps they don't consider it important, but I do, and I think you do too.

Bruce Perens shall have it, posted 28 Aug 2001 at 04:39 UTC by atai » (Journeyer)

Maybe Bruce should control the Opensource.org domain since he created the definition of Open Source during his time as the leader of Debian GNU/Linux project... OSI can do what it likes to do on opensource.org, but just let Bruce oversees it...

Bruce has moved on, posted 28 Aug 2001 at 05:01 UTC by nelsonrn » (Master)

Atai, Bruce has moved on from both Debian and OSI. I'm sure he's too busy with his work at Hewlett-Packard. In any case, only the board of SPI can make the decision, since SPI, Inc. owns opensource.org. -russ

So it's a mess., posted 28 Aug 2001 at 07:40 UTC by Radagast » (Journeyer)

Open Source has always been a mess. Its very creation fragmented the community, the high-profile, large-ego leaders tooted their own horns to anyone who would listen for ages (and to an extent still do), people thought their life was being threatened by other people in the organization, then left with much fanfare, the mess with the Open Source trademark, and now this.

Strange, I don't see this sort of chaos in the FSF. So I think I'll just continue to say "Free Software".

With all due respect and deference..., posted 28 Aug 2001 at 09:04 UTC by sethcohn » (Master)

Russ, your 'open source' credentials are impeccable, I've used plenty of software you've had a hand in (at the least).

[I do find it ironic that the only project you have listed here on Advogato is qmail, which in the description (you wrote?), is clearly labeled as non "open source". (I use qmail, I like qmail, I'm not knocking qmail).]

But I fail to see how opensource.org is OSI's property over SPI's? It's not opensourceinitiative.org, is it? Yes, the intent might be so, and the history might be spotty, and for sure SPI has dropped more than a few balls, and probably needs a good asswhooping to wake up and take responsibility the way it should, and Bruce's missing in action due to his current HP involvements.... but why should we form a letter writing campaign?

What is so critical about this? Compared to the DMCA legal woes, VA Linux's financial issues, and the rest of our normal everyday lives, why should we complain that one group owns the domain instead of the other? Other than inaccurate info on the registration and poor management and bad accounting skills?

I'm not sold. I'm open to listening, if you have a better reason. Openhardware.org going to a porn site was classic, but far from uncommon. Did you know they also bought Catholic Dioceses domains? But you don't see the Pope here on Advogato asking us to write letters for him, do you? (joke)

a bit more patience, please, posted 28 Aug 2001 at 13:22 UTC by Joy » (Master)

The SPI has been effectively dead for a while, due to inactivity from the officers. It's picking up speed these days, and things are slowly "melting". There are other SPI-owned domains that need changes, and they're being worked on.

The specific issue of Open Source domains is particularly inflamable considering how the general sentiment among the SPI/Debian people on the issue of APSL was that it was non-free, and OSI lost some brownie points there.

The status quo doesn't seem to be hurting anybody. (Is it?)

(I'm not officially speaking for SPI, even though I'm involved with them.)

SPI's bylaws dictate their actions., posted 28 Aug 2001 at 13:34 UTC by nelsonrn » (Master)

Seth, in theory SPI's bylaws dictate their actions. You would think that they would do what they said they would do. They have OSI listed as a project of theirs. If you go read their resolutions, you will find that they (claim that) they do not micromanage their projects, but instead hold intellectual property and other resources like money or domain names in trust. They have said publicly that they will do as we request, yet they do not.

The only possible exception for not doing exactly what we tell them is if they think we do not have the best interests of the free software community at heart. Well, if we don't, then why are they trusting us to supply the content for opensource.org when they do not trust us to own opensource.org?

I'm mostly pissed off because I've had to pay out of my own pocket for the open?source.{org,net} domain names -- twice! I've busted my butt for Open Source, and what do I get from SPI? Nothing but disrespect. I'm majorly pissed and I want what I'm due -- ownership of my own destiny. Yes, this is mostly me. The other board members support me in my quest for the holy domain name, but it's *my* time and *my* effort and *my* money that I'm wanting control over.

If SPI cared all that much, they would put more effort on it. But all I hear from them are excuses. "Oh, we didn't have a quorum". "Oh, I didn't get it on the agenda". "Oh, board member foo doesn't like the idea; he wants to keep control". My reaction is "Well vote the bastard down -- he hasn't gotten off his ass to do anything about opensource.org for years."

As my father would say "Shit or get off the pot."

( I don't list packet drivers as a community project because right now I'm the only person working on them. However, every McDonald's cash register has a piece of free software in it -- packet drivers. I'm sure that my GPL'ed software is running on more CPUs than anything RMS has written.)

A bit more patience??, posted 28 Aug 2001 at 13:47 UTC by nelsonrn » (Master)

You don't understand. I have BEEN patient. I was patient in March of 2000 when they failed to pay for the domain name and opensource.org went down. I was patient in March for 2001 for the some reason. I have BEEN patient, and my patience has run out. I have no more patience to give them. Why do you think I've stopped trying to work with them on this issue, and taken it public? Do you think I asked them once, and suddenly had a major public cow? HELL NO. I've been asking and asking and asking and asking and asking and asking and asking.

We've been asking them for the domain name for years. Their incompetence is no reason for me to develop patience! It's not like the composition of the SPI board has changed. The same people have been sitting on our request for this whole time (in violation of their bylaws, I might add).

You wonder what the problem is with their ownership? It should be plain. Twice in the past two years we have suffered an outage in the domain name for no other reason than the fact that they failed to pay for it. Don't you think this should be sufficient reason? And right now one of the nominally authoritative opensource.org name servers has no clue who opensource.org is. You don't think that's sufficient reason? -russ

APSL not free, posted 28 Aug 2001 at 13:52 UTC by nelsonrn » (Master)

Did you look at why RMS calls the APSL not free? It's got nothing to do with free software. It has everything to do with privacy. Well, the open source definition says nothing about privacy. Maybe we could amend it so it does, but until it does, we have a legal obligation to approve licenses which comply with the definition.

Feel free to make a suggestion on how we could amend the OSD so that it takes developer privacy into stead. As they say "Send code not flames." -russ

Public catalog, posted 28 Aug 2001 at 14:27 UTC by lilo » (Master)


If I remember correctly, Bruce Perens originally registered opensource.org while at SPI. Beyond that, I'd have to look at the public record to see what people at SPI and OSI have said on the issue of the registration of opensource.org. I'm currently a consultant to the SPI board, but I in no way speak in their name.

That being said, is it useful to make a public list of every apparent problem one can find with the management of a volunteer-run, non-profit, community organization? SPI may not be the most active organization in existence, but it does maintain a legal aegis for some projects and it performs other functions. Does it benefit the community to make this sort of public catalog in pursuit of a domain name registration transfer, whatever the merits of that transfer may be?

You might consider clarifying whether you are speaking as an individual or on behalf of the OSI board.

Rob L.

Why a public catalog., posted 28 Aug 2001 at 15:50 UTC by nelsonrn » (Master)

Rob, my point is that SPI cannot be trusted to control the opensource.org domain name. So yes, a list of every apparent problem is indeed appropriate.

SPI views OSI as a project. As such, they are bound by their bylaws and resolutions regarding projects until such time as they change them. The only possible reason, according to their own policies, for failing to do exactly as we dictate is because 1) it's not for the benefit of the project (but the project will benefit from having a more reliable organization control the domain name), or 2) if it's not for the benefit of the community (the community is not benefitted when SPI fails to maintain two nameservers), or 3) if it's consistent with SPI's goals, policies, promises and legal obligations. Perhaps SPI could put forth an argument for #3, but don't you think they should do that instead of doing nothing? At least we could have a discussion about it. It's hard to talk about inaction other than to rant about it as I have done repeatedly to them in private, and now in public about them.

I am speaking as a member of the OSI board, but not on behalf of it. I have told the rest of the board that I am going on the warpath, and nobody tried to talk me out of it.

Re: SPI drags feet on opensource.org, posted 28 Aug 2001 at 18:23 UTC by Joy » (Master)

I can understand why you are upset, though I'm not quite sure what exactly are you expecting to achieve. It's unlikely that public flaming will elicit a positive response. (Then again, any response is better than none.)

Mind you, you're not the only person who has paid the DNS fees for SPI-owned domains. The money donated to SPI doesn't seem to have been spent for anything else, though, thankfully.

Also, the SPI board members have in fact changed in the last few months, so it's actually possible that they'll decide something on the next meeting (AFAIK in September).

Resolution, posted 28 Aug 2001 at 21:36 UTC by lilo » (Master)


Can you point out to me the link to the resolution that says that SPI will transfer the opensource.org domain to OSI? I've been looking through the list of resolutions which have been passed by the board and I'm not seeing it.


Rob L.

Flaming is unlikely to help, posted 28 Aug 2001 at 21:57 UTC by nelsonrn » (Master)

Yes, I agree that public flaming is unlikely to help. Yet it seems to be the only action left to me. I've tried asking. I've tried waiting. I've tried asking and waiting. I've tried waiting and asking. I've tried waiting and waiting. I've tried asking and asking. I'd be a moron to try either again, either separately or in combination. If what you're trying doesn't work, try something else. So I'm trying something else.

Sure beats waiting. And you never know, maybe the board of SPI will respond when the community asks them to act.

Problems, trust, and accountability, posted 28 Aug 2001 at 22:16 UTC by branden » (Master)

"my point is that SPI cannot be trusted to control the opensource.org domain name. So yes, a list of every apparent problem is indeed appropriate."

Actually this is backwards. You're working from the presumption that SPI "cannot be trusted" and then airing a laundry list of everything that you think is wrong with SPI, irrespective of the bearing of any particular problem on your specific grievance.

A more logical approach would be to list only those charges that are necessary and sufficient conditions to establish SPI's untrustworthiness. This makes for an argument that smacks more of calm reasoning, and less of a vengeful desire to destroy SPI (and thus the Debian Project, to a large extent).

Also I should note that while it is the current board's job to accept responsibility for any real or perceived mismanagement of SPI in the past, the current board looks nothing like the board that existed when Bruce Perens first registered the Open Source domains. The board officers are in fact 100% different.

Past members of OSI's own board played a large role contributing to SPI's low activity level, when three out of four of the SPI's officers resigned to form OSI (ostensibly to "go after bear", as I think Bruce Perens put it). As I understand it, at least two of those same officers have since resigned from the board of OSI as well -- therefore you likely know as well as anyone how such actions can rob an organization of momentum.

As an advisor to the SPI board since earlier this year, and a Debian developer for years, I can certainly understand your impatience with SPI. However, it is irresponsible in my opinion to paint SPI as an organization that has been dedicated to stonewalling OSI when it is a matter of record (the minutes to which you refer) how the SPI membership and leadership have changed over the years, and how there are voices within SPI that give weight to OSI's wishes.

Would you like to a resolution to the issue that is valid within the bylaws of SPI, or would you prefer a solution that only compounds the errors in SPI management that you claim already exist, as long as it gets you what you want?

There is no specific resolution to transfer, posted 28 Aug 2001 at 22:17 UTC by nelsonrn » (Master)

There is no specific resolution by SPI to transfer opensource.org to OSI (but that's okay, there are 600 days of unrecorded resolutions -- maybe it happened but they just didn't tell anybody??). There is a specific resolution on the way in which SPI will interact with its projects. Quoting from Framework for Associated Projects, "(iii) Other Property

If SPI accepts other property in trust for purposes relating to a Project, the property will be managed according to SPI's agreement with the Project, provided that this is for the benefit of that Project and the Community and consistent with SPI's goals, policies, promises and legal obligations."

Now, we have a problem in that there is no agreement between SPI and OSI concerning the domain name. If you look at the rest of the document, SPI has made it clear that it "takes the view that the political and technical decision making for a Project is a matter for the people who participate in it. Accordingly, SPI does not normally control or manage Projects. " That seems like a pretty strong statement that we should be in charge of our own destiny.

Still the same board., posted 28 Aug 2001 at 22:37 UTC by nelsonrn » (Master)

``presumption that SPI "cannot be trusted" ''. I have actual evidence that SPI cannot be trusted with ownership of opensource.org. It's not a presumption, absent of evidence. It's a conclusion based on their total and complete lack of activity (except to say, once or twice a year, that we're thinking of doing something with it some day, and anyway we don't trust you so we're going to keep it as a lever to keep you under our thumb.)

"The board officers are in fact 100% different. " The board still has the same people on it who have either sat on or rejected our request to transfer the domain name. Some new board members have been added, at least one of which is hostile to OSI. I have no reason to expect that these additions will be particularly helpful.

"Would you like to a resolution to the issue that is valid within the bylaws of SPI,"

I have no reason to expect the board of SPI to act *at all*, much less act promptly, much less act within the bylaws of SPI. I've read them. They make claims that SPI will not micromanage projects. And yet here we are, an SPI project, asking to have our property, held supposedly in trust, transferred to us, and getting NO action for over two years. Yes, that's how long we've been asking. It's been since April 27, 1999.

Resolutions on OSI, posted 28 Aug 2001 at 22:40 UTC by branden » (Master)

The SPI board has discussed the OSI domain issue at every meeting I have attended. As I understand it, on April 11th of this year, there was a resolution to transfer the domains and it was voted down.

The board membership and officers have since changed. The board is currently awaiting a report from one of its officers regarding the current status of the domains.

The resolution that rejected the domain transfer has the following identifier: "2001-04-11.nl.1". However, it is not present on the website, and I will ask the SPI board why this is so.

What is on the website is a resolution to form a committee to revisit the issue.

Since the matter was put up for review only 15 days after it was decided upon, I think it safe to say that even SPI feels it is not a finally settled issue. I realize this probably comes as little comfort to you, but that's the factual record as best I can piece it together at the moment. I personally didn't become privy to SPI board matters until May 16th, when I was appointed in an advisory capacity.

"Still the same board", posted 28 Aug 2001 at 22:44 UTC by branden » (Master)

If you'll care to quote me in context, you'll see that I said:

"The current board looks nothing like the board that existed when Bruce Perens first registered the Open Source domains. The board officers are in fact 100% different."

Do you assert that this is false?

I don't regard context-dropping as a valid rhetorical tool; if you're not willing to have a rational discussion then I have to wonder why you posted your message to a discussion forum.

"still the same board", posted 29 Aug 2001 at 02:26 UTC by nelsonrn » (Master)

I'm not trying to pull any rhetorical tricks by quoting you out of context. The context that matters is when we started asking for the domain name (4/1999). The board composition prior to that date is of no matter since my beef is solely that SPI has failed to obey their own rules. The board was then joey, nils, gecko, etc. Today, the board is still joey, nils, gecko, etc. How is that 100% different?

"Resolutions on OSI", posted 29 Aug 2001 at 02:41 UTC by nelsonrn » (Master)

"As I understand it, on April 11th of this year, there was a resolution to transfer the domains and it was voted down. "

No, Branden, you don't understand. SPI either has to change their rules or abide by them. Their rules say that they hold our property in trust, and that they will do as we say with it except under certain limited conditions which they have not said have been met. Essentially, nobody should trust the SPI board under any circumstances, because they have shown that they cannot be trusted by abide by a prior committment. All of their resolutions are chiseled in sand.

Has the Open Source Committee ever met? I didn't think so.

I feel very sorry for the Debian project that they are controlled by these bozos.

SPI board officers have in fact changed, posted 29 Aug 2001 at 03:09 UTC by branden » (Master)

Please see the current roster of SPI officers. Ian Jackson and Darren Benham are no longer officers. (They remain board members but their activity level has not been very high since I became an advisor.) Thus, my assertion that board officers are "100% different" than they were when Bruce, Ian Murdock, and Tim resigned (leaving only Ian Jackson) stands.

This new board was elected on May 16th of this year.

I would imagine that some of the confusion over the OSI assets stems from the facts asserted in this resolution.

Moreover, the "certain conditions" under which SPI agrees to manage a Project's assets are described here and here. Note that both of these resolutions were passed almost 3 years ago.

I volunteered to advise the SPI board because I believe I can help contribute something positive to SPI; perhaps to help it operate with greater efficiency, visibility, and to the better satisfaction of its member Projects. Would you advise me to abandon these goals? Should the Debian Project be cast adrift without a non-profit organization to manage its assets? Or should motivated Debian developers like myself work to rejuvenate SPI instead? Should the new members of and advisors to the SPI board, who had nothing to do with the events you describe before May of this year turn our backs on the work that is to be done? Or, in your view, is anyone who dares to have anything to do with SPI corrupt and without merit?

The possibility of a meaningful dialogue between OSI and the new SPI membership is almost completely dependent on your feelings about these questions, insofar as you the only member of OSI who has expressed a desire to deal with SPI at all.

If your only purpose in this affair is to circulate an image of SPI and everyone associated with it -- past, present and future -- as irredeemable villains, then please let me know so I can stop tilting at this particular windmill.

Fundamental question, posted 29 Aug 2001 at 08:59 UTC by slef » (Master)

I'm confused. opensource.org is a domain registered and owned by SPI. How does this make it OSI's property held in trust? Can someone point me to the contract or resolution giving it to OSI, please? If there isn't such a contract or resolution, doesn't that make it SPI's domain to transfer if they wish? Yes, they probably should maintain their own property because that's what we donate for, but it is theirs, isn't it?

Thanks in advance for any clarification.

All I want is control over my own efforts, posted 29 Aug 2001 at 14:47 UTC by nelsonrn » (Master)

Branden, I have put quite a bit of work into the Open Source Initiative. My only desire in this affair is to have control over my own work. Is that wrong?

Slef, if you do a bit more reading of http://www.spi-inc.org, you will find that they consider OSI to be a project, that opensource.org is being held in trust for that project, and that SPI does not normally interfere in the functioning of its projects. SPI does not own the domain name, but instead holds it in trust. This was appropriate as long as OSI was just an unincorporated association. OSI is now a 501(c)3 California public benefit corporation, so there is no need for SPI to hold it in trust anymore. Try convincing SPI of that, though. I've been trying for two and a third years.

SPI's mistakes / OSI's mistakes, posted 29 Aug 2001 at 14:59 UTC by nelsonrn » (Master)

If your only purpose in this affair is to circulate an image of SPI and everyone associated with it -- past, present and future -- as irredeemable villain,

No. My only purpose in this affair is to make it clear to everyone that while OSI may have made mistakes, this is no reason for SPI to hold onto the domain name, because SPI has made mistakes as well. If I trusted SPI, none of this would be a problem. But opensource.org currently has only one functioning nameserver, and that only because I asked SPI to allow me to be a secondary for opensource.org. Damn good thing, because the other DNS server, nominally the primary, is not authoritative for opensource.org. So if it wasn't for *me*, SPI would have lost opensource.org to some DNS speculator, or the zone would be served by two lame nameservers.

I just hate being held in limbo by an organization I don't trust, and the charter for SPI's Open Source Committee gives me plenty of reason not to trust SPI. If SPI doesn't trust OSI, it should take over opensource.org. If SPI trusts OSI, then there should be no problem transferring the domain name. SPI's inaction is driving me crazy!

OSI is nothing to do with SPI?, posted 29 Aug 2001 at 16:49 UTC by slef » (Master)

Russ, while digging through the SPI site a bit more to find the information you suggested was there, I stumbled into this news item which suggests that while "Open Source" is a project of SPI, OSI is not connected with SPI in any way. Indeed, unless their incorporations are somehow linked, it would be difficult to see how they could be, beyond OSI managing an SPI project.

In general, the web site is disappointing, as I can't find any lists of SPI's holdings, nor who is concerned with individual projects. Further, I can find things which suggest that to transfer SPI's holdings to other bodies would be in breach of its rules, including the resolution 1998-11-16.iwj.2 on "Intellectual Property" (bleah).

I think it is impossible to reach a conclusion on the basis of the evidence available and that you are wrong to call for a letter-writing campaign to browbeat SPI into handing over the domain. You know that you cannot invoke any establish domain name recapture methods because OSI has no more right to the domain than SPI does.

If you were to call for a campaign to get SPI to maintain its holdings properly, that would be a different matter and everyone would come out of it better.

Qualifier to the above, posted 29 Aug 2001 at 16:54 UTC by slef » (Master)

Sorry, the above sounds a lot harsher than it should, even though I proof-read it. What I mean is, it's not fair to ask the advogato users to make a decision on this one, because they don't have the evidence available yet. Even if they do support you, what you're asking for actually looks impossible under the available rules. Aiming for a conclusion which is possible and could benefit other SPI projects would be better.

The necessity of the "Open Source" term in non-English languages, posted 29 Aug 2001 at 19:24 UTC by atai » (Journeyer)

This comment is partly related to the story in slashdot that third world countries, in their self interests, begin to legally require the use of software libre (or Free Software/Open Source in English). (This requirement is a topic in itself and we don't discuss it here) This brings to the point that the very reasoning for the use of "Open Source" is the confusion over the term "free" in English. Since in non- English languages this confusion does not exist, the very justification for using "Open Source" is invalid. So the OSI should state clearly that they do not recommend to translate the term "Open Source" into any non-English languages, do not push the name Open Source in non-English countries, and say clearly that the non-English translation of the name "Open Source" should be the translation based on "software libre" to avoid unnecessary confusion in these countries.

Basically, OSI should, in its charter, say that, outside English, "software libre" and its equavalents are the correct names for Open Source, not any direct literal translation of the name "Open Source."

OSI is a project of SPI, posted 29 Aug 2001 at 19:44 UTC by nelsonrn » (Master)

OSI maintains opensource.org. opensource.org is a project of SPI's. It's listed right there in their list of projects. Isn't that clear enough? In any case, back when Eric and Bruce were collaborating on open source, Bruce was President of SPI. He volunteered SPI to be the legal holder of whatever the open source project needed held. This was the domain name, and a trademark on "Open Source", except that no such trademark ever really existed, and it shouldn't be a trademark anyway, it should be a certification mark. Thus, OSI came to be an SPI project. Some time after that, and before I became involved, there was some bad blood. And basically, SPI has never forgiven OSI, nor vice-versa. The best thing to do is make a clean split, because I don't think either organization will ever trust the other again.

Logic 1A11, posted 31 Aug 2001 at 12:53 UTC by slef » (Master)

OSI maintains opensource.org. opensource.org is a project of SPI's. It's listed right there in their list of projects. Isn't that clear enough?

Well, I don't see how you get "OSI is a project of SPI" from the above two facts, unless all maintainers of SPI property are projects of OSI, which other documents on their site suggest isn't the case. So I guess your reasoning here isn't not clear enough to me. Sorry.

I am interested in resolving this, posted 5 Sep 2001 at 00:13 UTC by BrucePerens » (Master)

I'm the primary author of the Open Source Definition, with the Debian developers collectively as the additional authors, and co-founder of both OSI and SPI. I'm also probably the person most responsible for creating this mess, and thus really should be tasked with cleaning it up.

I don't think it's fair to say I've "moved on". My most recent offer to serve on the OSI board was made only last month, to OSI Executive Director Larry Rosen. OSI also has problems with being "inactive", and should not be considered any more effective than SPI at this time. One of the virtues of SPI is that Debian actually gets some income, and thus SPI can be independent. OSI is in the sad position of having to beg money from corporations and is only independent by virtue of the corporations saying "no".

The doain argument is symptomatic of larger issues. One of the problems that needs to be worked on is the Free Software / Open Source schism, which is more an issue of personalities than philosophy IMO, and seems to be tangled up with the argument with SPI. I'm able to work with all of these folks and seem to have found myself holding the middle ground between them.

Although these are busy times at HP, my first priority is this community, as HP management knows.

SPI has my number.



Open Source Software Community , posted 10 Sep 2001 at 06:49 UTC by Gregory » (Apprentice)

Bruce the question is. Is open source open for abuse? In my experience it is I've noticed a worrying trend of copyright and licence breaches. There is a lot of corporate fighting going on at the moment by people and organisations, who should really know better.

We need to develop a more structured legal, commercial and technical open source framework.
In order to protect the interest of both developers and business interests.

If you give something away in my mind there is no half way house. Something is either totally free or it's not. Current OSS licenses aren't what they should be and give to much lea way for abuse. I can understand why they are so flexible but still.

I think your right about the OSI. Still I don't think that opensource.org is a bad site it just needs better legal support and more funding. If you ask me there are a lot of people in the media at the moment writing crap about Open Source, that don't know the first thing about it and have never written a line of code in their lives.

The ``truly'' Open Source Software community currently lacks many of the structured controls, resources, standards, quality control and support services of propriety software development. If business is ever to trust us this issue must also be addressed.

I think open source development works best amongst small groups of developers who have a joint interest in the success of a project. Lets face it developers have always shared code in one way or the other and will most likely collaborate with each other for some time to come.

As a rule developers like to work on projects that they're interested in Open Source gives developers a lot of freedom to do this. That said Open Source does not pay most developers rent and consequently people must get their rewards in the form of respect and recognition from their peers.

What this industry needs badly needs is good businessmen not business managers and their control freak, delusional ego driven empire building. Part of the reason for many of the recent failures in this sector is dew to the complete and utter incompetence of our industries, management tire.

Technical development is not a highly speculative business if it's implemented and managed property. By people that know what there doing. Many technologists are in my opinion are also not living in the real world and are missing the bigger picture and lack common sence. If it don't make money from the word go and support it's self don't even touch it.



Plug: Take a look at my new Web site, as I really would love some feedback on it.
Developers Resources Open Source Web developers community.

Open Source means no authority, posted 10 Sep 2001 at 20:55 UTC by atai » (Journeyer)

Gregory wrote

We need to develop a more structured legal, commercial and technical open source framework. In order to protect the interest of both developers and business interests.

Gregory, Free Software is a loosely- organized community where people do what they do because they love the work. Business is secondary--Free Software exists even if there is no business involvement. The framework you suggested is contrary to the nature of Free Software/Open Source.

You cannot expect to impose the kind of structure from proprietary software development onto volunteers, for the sake of business interests or money.

And what industry are you talking about? The .com's? These are all non-essential for Free Software/Open Source. If whatever industry fails, so be it.

No authority, posted 11 Sep 2001 at 01:22 UTC by Gregory » (Apprentice)


"Free Software is a loosely- organised community where people do what they do because they love the work."

I agree with you, I think that part of the reason that OSS works is that the community is "loosely - organised". That does not mean that codes of conduct, standards and some form of legal regulation are not needed to protect people's rights and interests. After all "Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws." Plato...

"You cannot expect to impose the kind of structure from proprietary software development onto volunteers, for the sake of business interests or money."

I still think there is the need for better technical controls, design metrics and coding standards. OSS groups should IMO have to work with in some kind of framework. The benefits of this out ways any drawbacks that I can think of. I admit though that this is all up in the air and would obviously be hard if not impossible to enforce.

OSS needs business involvement and support however. Large software companies sever their own interests and are obviously currently seeking ways to control and exploit open source technologies. Government regulation of business interests in this area is therefor needed.

If an OSS project is self-supporting or even profitable does it suddenly become proprietary? If not then please tell me why are so many OS groups incorporating "in order to protect themselves"? Where exactly do you draw the line? What happens when two similar OSS.org(s) projects start competing with each other for sponsorship? Start paying consultants "expenses". Start hiring lawyers to find licensing loopholes and to undermine and defame other groups.

"These are all non-essential for Free Software/Open Source. If whatever industry fails, so be it."

I have to disagree with you here economic factors do indirectly have an kock on effect OSS development. The more money people have in there pocket the more work they are going to be prepared to do for the Open Source community

"Free Software exists even if there is no business involvement."

I know what you mean but where on the map would Linix be with out the likes of IBM?


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