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It’s Board Election Time at Open Source Initiative Again

If this is March, it must be election time at OSI. This year, two individual seats and one affiliate seat are in the running.

If you’re a dues paying member of Open Source Initiative, you’ve probably already received an email from the organization telling you it’s time to vote in this year’s board of directors’ election. If the notice got lost in your inbox, or snagged by your spam filter, I’ll tell you for them: it’s time to vote for board members.

OSI is the non-profit organization that’s tasked with deciding what is or isn’t a valid open source license according to the “Open Source Definition,” a document that was adapted by Bruce Perens and others from Debian’s Free Software Guidelines in the late 1990s. Although anyone can market any license as open source (for some reason, the term “open source” was never copyrighted), unless a license is officially recognized as open source by OSI, it won’t be recognized as valid by open source advocates, nearly every enterprise user of open source, or just about anybody else.

In recent years, OSI has been criticized by some software vendors for not approving licenses that are designed to protect vendors’ businesses, because the licenses put restrictions on users that aren’t allowed by the Open Source Definition. The organization has also been criticized for not approving so-called “ethical open source” licenses that don’t allow covered software to be used in ways that are spelled out in the licenses.

The OSI Election

Elections for board members is pretty much an annual event at the organization, and generally happen at this time of year. Board terms are staggered, so the elections never effect the full board. For example, this year three seats are in the running, which includes two to be elected by individual members and one to be elected by affiliate members, the latter being dues-paying non-profit organizations, educational institutions, and user communities.

In total, there are 10 seats on OSI’s board, with four being held by people who were elected from the organization’s individual membership, four elected by affiliate members, and two are appointed by the board.

Candidate’s for individual director seats are generally self-nominated, although any member can nominate another qualifying member that agrees to run. To be eligible, the candidate must have been a current OSI member for at least a least a week before the nominating period began. Individual members serve a two-year term.

For affiliate seats, candidates are nominated by the representative of each affiliate, with affiliate organizations getting one vote each in the election. Affiliate directors serve a three-year term.

Directors who have served for five or more years may not run for the board again until they have been off of the board for one year.

Voting for this year’s election began today (Friday, February 10) and will continue through February 20.

Who’s Running

Below is a brief rundown of the candidates seeking office in this years election, taken from OSI’s website. Only those running for individual seats are listed, since voting in the affiliate race is only open to a handful of people. ,The name of each candidate is linked to the candidate’s OSI election page:

  • Aeva Black (current board member seeking reelection): I am the current Secretary of the Board for the OSI, and the Vice Chair for the Technical Advisory Committee over at the OpenSSF. By day, I work in the Azure Office of the CTO’s “OSS Ecosystems” team, and do my best to support the success of all contributors to, and users of, open source software. On weekends, I like to ride motorcycles and play video games with friends.
  • Chris Aniszczyk: Chris Aniszczyk is an open source technologist with a passion for building a better world through open collaboration. He’s currently a CTO at the Linux Foundation focused on developer experience and running the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). At the Linux Foundation, he helped start a variety of open source foundations, from GraphQL Foundation, TODO Group to the FinOps Foundation and more!
  • Jim Jagielski: Jim’s been actively involved in Open Source since before the term was even coined. He started off by porting various projects over to Apple’s A/UX operating system and was the host of the infamous jagubox server. This led to his early involvement in the Apache Group. He is one of the co-founders of the ASF and served as a director there for almost 20 years. He’s served on other boards, including OSI, and continues to actively develop code, speak at conferences and earnestly advocate for Open Source. He is the OSPO lead at Salesforce.
  • Catharina Maracke (current board member seeking reelection): Catharina is a lawyer by training and has been involved in intellectual property and public licensing models for over 15 years beginning with her work as director for Creative Commons International overseeing and stewarding the Creative Commons global licensing suite and managing the global license porting project. Catharina has worked closely with the World Economic Forum, where she served on the Global Agenda Council on the intellectual property system.
  • Duane O’Brien: I am the Director of Open Source at Indeed, and a Visiting Technologist Fellow at the National Security Institute. As the Director of Open Source at Indeed, I have led our efforts to inventory, analyze, and understand our open source dependencies – from single-file JavaScript libraries to fundamental pieces of our digital infrastructure. My team’s work has defined Indeed’s strategic approach to direct-investment in the people, projects, and foundations at the heart of open source. This work includes the FOSS Contributor Fund blueprint that we shared with the community, our industry-leading work to directly sponsor individual contributors through the GitHub Sponsors program, our broad engagement across the open source foundation ecosystem, and our participation in various working groups. Prior to my time at Indeed, I led operations for the Open Source Program Office at PayPal, and have worked as a developer at Adobe, Autodesk, and others.
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