Some quick notes on the occasion of my fourth OSI board face-to-face

The past two days were my fourth OSI face-to-face board meeting, this time about a block from my office in San Francisco.

Image by under a CC BY-SA license.


Some brief thoughts:

  • I’m excited about the hire of our new General Manager (and first paid employee), Patrick Masson. One of the hardest things for an all-volunteer organization is execution: finishing the last 10% of tasks; reliably repeating necessary things; generally taking ideas from conception to reality. I expect in the short term that hiring Patrick will really help with those first two, and in the longer term, as he gets his feet under him, he’ll be a great help for the last one. Potentially a very exciting time for OSI.
  • Relatedly, we have a lot of proposals in the air, particularly with regards to membership and education/outreach. I hope in the next six months we’ll see a lot of concrete results from them.
  • This meeting represented a bit of  a changing of the guard — it was the first board meeting for Richard Fontana and the last for a long-time member of our community who will be term-limited out at the end of this term. I always enjoy working with Richard, and fresh blood is great, but it was a good reminder that time continues to pass and that I should focus on, you know, getting things done :)
  • This is a small thing, but the OSI website now has a brief summary of open source on the front page. We also recently helped a high-profile website update and correct their definition of open source – the kind of small thing that isn’t very visible but will be influential in the long run, as we educate the next wave of open source devs. Hoorah for small victories!
  • You can help (I): We continue to look for help to update the OSI website, both by improving our license information and by updating or writing other pages on the website.
  • You can help (II): Richard’s addition to the board is significant, because just like I was part of the first class of board members nominated by affiliates, he is the first board member elected by the membership. That is an important milestone for us, as we move towards being more accountable to, and governed by, the open source community. You can help by joining as an individual member, or by encouraging your organizations to join as an affiliate.
  • I continue to be grateful to the Wikimedia Foundation (and my boss!) in supporting me in doing this. There is never a good time to take two days mostly off.
  • The relationship between OSI and other groups promoting open definitions was a continued source of discussion at the meeting, and I imagine will continue to be a repeating theme. I hope I can continue to act as a bridge with organizations in open data and open culture, and I expect Patrick will be great in helping us bridge to open education.

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