Summer 2021 Newsletter

Welcome to the Open Source Initiative’s quarterly newsletter. We hope the information shared in each edition provides you with interesting insights into our initiatives and activities. We also hope to include updates regarding our members and affiliates, as well as the broader open source software community. If you have any ideas for what we cover, or content to include, please feel free to let us know at


OSI News & Updates

Practical Open Source Information: New Event, CFP Open Today!

The Open Source Initiative will be holding a half-day virtual event on September 16th to discuss Practical Open Source Information (POSI). Our audience for this series is companies, nonprofits and academic institutions that are interested in using more open source. By hearing from current practitioners, new adopters will be able to get up to speed more quickly and (hopefully) avoid some of the mistakes others have made Email us about sponsoring the event and helping us to continue offering practical programming for open source practioners. Read more.


OSI Response to RMS’s reappointment to the Board of the Free Software Foundation

To fully realize the promise of open source, the Open Source Initiative (OSI) is committed to building an inclusive environment where a diverse community of contributors feel welcome. This is clearly not possible if we include those who have demonstrated a pattern of behavior that is incompatible with these goals. Read more.


Modernizing Our Mission Statement

Our old mission statement was pretty wordy and didn’t succinctly encompass all the work that we do anymore. The OSI finds itself in a very different place than we were when we started. Open source software is everywhere now and the tech landscape has changed quite a bit. The needs of the open source community are more varied and little more complicated than they were in 1998. We aim to meet the needs of a larger, more global community and that means declaring our intent to embrace change and update our tactics.

NEW: As steward of the OSD, we set the foundation for the open source software ecosystem.

OLD: We are the stewards of the Open Source Definition (OSD) and the community-recognized body for reviewing and approving licenses as OSD-conformant. Read more


Approved: Four New Open Source Licenses

First is the Cryptographic Autonomy License. This license is designed for distributed cryptographic applications. The challenge of this use case was that the existing open source licenses wouldn’t assure openness because it would be possible for one peer to impair the functioning of the network if there was no obligation to also share data with the other peers. So, in addition to being a strong copyleft license, the CAL also includes an obligation to provide third parties the permissions and materials needed to independently use and modify the software without that third party having a loss of data or capability.

As more and more uses arise for peer-to-peer sharing using a cryptographic structure, it wouldn’t be surprising if more developers found themselves in need of a legal tool like the CAL. The community on License-Discuss and License-Review, OSI’s two mailing lists where proposed new open source licenses are discussed, asked many questions about this license. We hope that the resulting license is clear and easy to understand and that other open source practitioners will find it useful.

Next, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, CERN, submitted the CERN Open Hardware Licence (OHL) family of licenses for consideration. All three of its licenses are primarily intended for open hardware, a field of open access that is similar to open source software but with its own challenges and nuances. The line between hardware and software has blurred considerably, so applying separate hardware and software licenses has become more and more difficult. CERN undertook crafting a license that would ensure freedom for both hardware and software.

The OSI probably would not have considered adding an open hardware license to its list of open source licenses back when it started, but the world has changed. So while the wording in the CERN licenses encompasses hardware concepts, it also meets all the qualifications to be approved by the OSI as an open source software license.

The suite of CERN Open Hardware licenses includes a permissive license, a weak reciprocal license, and a strong reciprocal license. Most recently, the license has been adopted by an international research project that is building simple, easily replicable ventilators to use with COVID-19 patients.


New Affiliate Member

The TeX Users Group

The TeX Users Group (TUG)is new to the OSI Affiliate program, but not new to the world. It’s a membership-based not-for-profit that was founded in 1980 to encourage and expand the use of TeX, LaTeX, Metafont and related systems. TUG fosters innovation while maintaining the usability of these systems. TUG also supports users by hosting an annual event, maintaining a list of active local TeX user groups and publishing a regular journal called TUGboat three times a year.

The OSI loves to let folks know about open source tools that they could be using like the TeX, LaTeX and Metafont systems for preparing documents. TUG is for anyone who uses the TeX typesetting system created by Donald Knuth and/or is interested in typography and font design. If you want to install TeX on your computer, please consult the resources mentioned on the TUG home page.

“The TeX Users Group (TUG) is happy to join the OSI as an Affiliate Member. Having supported the open source TeX typesetting system since its founding in 1980, TUG has been helping over the past 40+ years to make open source an integral part of the typesetting world.” says Norbert Preining, a leading TeX developer and TUG Board member.

OSI Board President, Josh Simmons, adds, “The work being done to educate users and support TeX, LaTeX and Meta font proves that you can make things look great with open source tools. We’re proud to welcome this critical and robust organization into our Affiliate Program!”

Interesting in having your open source organization join the OSI Affiliate Program? We’d love to hear from you!


OSI Affiliate Updates

TODO Group


WordPress Foundation

KDE e.V.

Brandeis GPS

Open Infrastructure Foundation