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OpenForum Europe Mourns Passing of Co-Founder Basil Cousins at 91

Basil Cousins, the co-founder and director of OpenForum Europe has died after a long illness.

Basil Cousins, co-founder and director of OpenForum Europe, who recently died.
Basil Cousins, co-founder and director of OpenForum Europe, who recently died. Source: OpenUK

OpenUK announced on Wednesday in a post on its website that Basil Cousins, co-founder and director of OpenForum Europe, has died. Cousins was 91 years-old, and his death came about a year after the death of his wife, Trisha.

According to the post that was penned by Astor Nummelin Carlberg, OFE’s executive director, the death came after a long illness and will all members of his family present.

“Basil worked in technology since the early 80s, observing the modularity of software development,” Carlberg wrote. “This early effort in common application development laid the foundation for his devotion to open source. Later, he joined forces with other open source enthusiasts to promote open standards. This collaboration with Bob Blatchford and Graham Taylor later led to the creation of OpenForum Europe.”

OpenForum Europe is a not-for-profit, Brussels-based independent think tank that explains the merits of openness in computing to European policymakers and communities. It was founded in 2002 for the purpose of accelerating and broadening the use of open source software by businesses, consumers, and governments. The organization currently maintains a policy research and development team that is currently working on policy topics that include open source, open standards, digital government, public procurement, intellectual property, cloud computing and internet policy.

“I am a strong believer in open source,” Cousins said in London at State Of OpenCon 2023 in early February. “I think the universe itself is open source. The whole universe is like software.”

In 2021, Basil was the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award by OpenUK, a not-for-profit company that supports open source collaboration and open technologies within the UK.

“Today I learned that one of the formative people in the development of my engagement with technology, policy, and law has died,” Shane Coughlan, GM of OpenChain at The Linux Foundation and non-executive director at OFE, said in a statement. “Basil Cousins was an exceptional influence for myself and many others, combining a childlike curiosity with a generosity of spirit. Instead of electing to be cautious or miserly, he chose to seek out and elevate new generations. A warm contributor who never sought the limelight, he will nevertheless be remembered fondly and with gratitude by many hundreds.”

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