Exploring the future of Open Source

As the steward of the Open Source Definition, the OSI needs to understand all the challenges it’s facing. The introduction of new technologies can challenge open source. Like when the “software-as-a-service” model started emerging and that required reviewing the GNU GPL, creating the AGPL. Now we believe that the emergence of Artificial Intelligence is posing new questions for the open source community.

Artificial Intelligence ruptures the boundary between data and software. When you write a letter to your friends using LibreOffice, it’s quite clear what your data is and The Document Foundation has no rights to it. If you don’t like how LibreOffice handles your documents, you have all the rights to fix it. It’s quite clear what rights you have under LibreOffice’s open source licenses.

But when you point your phone’s smart camera to a cat and the app thinks it’s a dog what happens, exactly? How do you fix such a “smart” application?

AI systems are being deployed to make choices in place of humans. There are courts in the United States where algorithms decide if someone stays in jail or gets out on parole or if one deserves credit to buy a house. What’s the equivalent of “source code” in this context?

The open source movement has shaped conversations during the emergence of the internet, driving decisions around cryptography and security, content rights management and patents on software. 

It’s time to sharpen the collective knowledge to assess the impact of these emerging technologies.

That’s why we’ve launched a new kind of online event to discover what are the challenges for Open Source posed by Artificial Intelligence. Deep Dive: AI is a 3-part event, starting with a podcast series, a panel discussion and a final report. We’ve started interviewing experts for the podcast and we’re looking for sponsors to complete the series. Join us promoting the event on social media with the hashtag #DeepDiveAI. We can’t wait to hear what the community wishes for an “open source AI system” to be.

Discuss this and other topics during OSI’s informal office hours on Fridays

Stefano Maffulli
Executive Director, OSI

In this month’s Open Source Initiative Newsletter:

The OSI attends PyCon 2022

We were thrilled to have been able to attend our first in-person event in over 2 years! PyCon has always been one of our favorites and we looked forward to returning. The Python Software Foundation is one of our Affiliates and we were excited to help support their mission of growing the international community of Python programmers through this annual gathering. Overall this year’s PyCon was a great event and we enjoyed connecting with our current sponsors.

A win for open is a win for all: Interview with The Open Organization

The Open Organization is a Red Hat-supported community project that is dedicated to exploring how open principles change the ways we work, manage and lead. We were fortunate to get to speak with Bryan Behrenshausen, Community Architect for the Open Organization in the Open Source Program Office at Red Hat, about this inspiring project and get his perspective on all things open source. Read more.

GNOME patent troll stripped of patent rights

A recent decision at the US patent office may well give patent trolls cause to steer clear of open source projects – even more than the fierce resistance the community impressively funded and mounted in the GNOME case.

The patent troll who attacked them also lost the patent it was using for the assault, following the persistent efforts of McCoy Smith, an open source community legal specialist. Read more.

Publicplan: Why we support the OSI

We were pleased to spotlight another OSI sponsor in our series, publicplan, and learn why open source is important to their organization. Publicplan develops open source software solutions for the digitization of administration in e-government. Its independent, adaptable, and sustainable solutions have improved communication between authorities, companies, and citizens since 2010.

We asked our sponsors at publicplan to share the organization’s intrinsic ties to open source, its reasons for supporting the Open Source Initiative, and its hopes for the open source movement. Here’s what they said.

Are you interested in sponsoring or partnering with the OSI? Please see our Sponsorship ProspectusContact us to find out more about how your organization can promote open source development, communities and software.