“Not there yet…” that phrase actually highlights where we are with several important initiatives here at the OSI and even with open source software broadly.
First, and most pressing for us today, we’re not there yet in our fund raising goals for 2016, and we’re asking those working with open source software—those who not only understand the technical merits, but value open principles—to contribute and help fund our ongoing work.
“Not there yet,” also applies to the status of software freedom. While we now hear “every company is a software company,” and “open source is eating the software world” from a practical standpoint, we still have a lot of work in front of us to increase the adoption of open source software in industries beyond the technology sector: in local and national governments, in primary and secondary educational institutions, and even with individual developers and users who have yet to discover the benefits of open source software. But from a broader perspective, the increasing interest in open source software is raising new issues that challenge the ideals and values of software freedom that we in the open source software movement have worked so hard to develop and share: collaboration, authenticity, transparency, and even the criteria that define open source software licenses.
What will get us there…
The OSI has several initiatives underway (and several others proposed) that we know you’ll find inspiring, think are important to the open source movement, and worthy of your contribution. Your donations will…
Assist those new to open source attend and speak at community events: We need to raise $5,000 to launch the OSI’s Diversity Speakers Travel Fund which will help those who have not been able to participate in conferences, community events, meet-ups, etc. due to cost. That new project’s inspiring founder, the creative and collaborative developer, or a local innovator all deserve an international audience—especially if they’re part of an underrepresented community—and with our help, we can promote their good work to enhance the broader open source movement.
Introduce open source software to primary/elementary students: Our FLOSS Desktops for Kids is growing with interest from New York State Public Schools, Siena College, California Boys and Girls Clubs, and several other children’s organizations. We’re looking for $10,000 to support staff, help train teachers and volunteers, and prepare and deliver the FLOSS program. The initiative introduces children to open source software through hands-on activities, refurbishing decommissioned laptops and desktops, and we need your help.
Reduce barriers in organizing new open source projects: Responding to a call from the open source community after several projects were denied non-profit status, the OSI is working to understand how the IRS position toward FLOSS organizations has changed, how these changes affect new and existing FLOSS nonprofits, and what alternatives to independent tax-exempt status are available to new projects. Along with Software Freedom Conservancy and Mozilla, we’re hoping to raise $2,500 to help open source projects organize and operate while improving government’s understanding of open source software and communities.
Expose those who abuse the open source label and community: Each year we discover more and more disingenuous organizations that promise open source software, yet do not release their work under an OSI approved open source license, risking our software freedom, or, promise the ideals of open source software but in fact only use the label to promote their proprietary interests. We want to raise $2,500 to develop a system to verify claims of open source licensing made through crowd-funding efforts.
No, we’re not there yet, but we hope you will help us get there. Please make your tax-deductible donation today and help promote and protect open source software.