Open Source responds to the Russia-Ukraine war: First thoughts from the Executive Director

The reaction from the open source community to the Russian aggression in Ukraine has been swift and varied. Many companies have blocked sales and distributions of their software in Russia and Belarus. This is a good thing: Civil society has many non-violent ways at its disposal to resolve conflicts and it’s important to explore all possible avenues. 

When it comes to open source software, however, the Open Source Definition is clear: There must be “no discrimination against persons or groups” and “no discrimination against fields of endeavor.”  Does that mean we should take no action? Not at all! 

Open source communities are uniquely privileged to make a difference. We have so much code and we are free to use it anyway we want. And we have such diverse skills and outlooks as a result of the inclusivity of open source licensing. We can organize and deploy our skills, our code and even our community governance and tools so we can inform, educate, disrupt, maybe even liberate, all with the riches of our code and communities yet without the self harm inherent in the sacrifices necessary for corporations to disengage from tyrants. We can organize, code, and signal yet still end up with our freedoms intact.

This is not the first time communities have found they need to consider how they use their power, especially the pre-granted rights that drive the open source network effect. 

Expect to hear more on this from the OSI soon, but for now, you can read more of what I had to say about it in this piece from The New Stack, along with Scarf CEO Avi Press, developer Jacob Hrbek and Coraline Ada Ehmke, Executive Director of the Organization for Ethical Source.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on these questions. You can reply directly to this email or 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:

Moving from a proprietary to an open source culture

We are featuring guests who told their open source stories during Practical Open Source Information (POSI) 2021 online conference. This video shared Petra Sargent’s (technical writer at Red Hat) experience transitioning from a proprietary environment to open source. The path to get started, the challenges along the way, and key lessons learned help viewers anticipate what moving from proprietary to open source culture could be like. Read more.

Miro Kredit: Why we support the OSI

Miro Kredit is a second-generation family business operating in the Swiss financial market. It specializes in financing and helps find attractive offers with an excellent personal comparison service. We asked our sponsor 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. Read what they had to say. 

How to talk to your boss about open source

In her presentation at POSI 2021, Deborah Bryant, recalled that she was first introduced to open source when she ran a commercial ISP earlier in her career. Bryant introduces us to a heuristic way of thinking known as Systems Thinking. The idea is that every technology project has three components: technical, financial, and political. All of these components should be considered when briginging an open source initiative to the table. She offers a lot of resources, a couple of which are Teaching Open Source (TOS) and Professor’s Open Source Summer Experience (POSSE). Read more. 

OSI links arms with the Open Infrastructure Foundation

OSI has chosen to become an associate member of one of our own members, the Open Infrastructure (OpenInfra) Foundation. The foundation is focused on helping establish new open source communities that contribute to the advancement of today’s open infrastructure.OSI and OpenInfra are aligned in our philosophies and our commitment to open source principles, so it’s in this spirit that we have chosen to become an associate member of the foundation. Read more.

Meet OSI’s new board member, Chair and Vice Chair

We would like to welcome a new Director and a change of roles for Chair and Vice Chair. Joining the board as a Director is Justin Colannino. Catharina Maracke was elected Chair during February’s board meeting. Thierry Carrez was elected Vice Chair during the same board meeting. Catharina and Thierry will transition to the new roles with the support of former Chair and Vice Chair Josh Simmons and Megan Byrd-Sanicki. Read more.

OSI in the news

In case you missed it, the OSI was interviewed for these articles:

And a huge shoutout to our sponsors

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.