Transitions in Leadership

Serving as president of the Open Source Initiative over the past few years has been a joy and an honor, and if I write a memoir someday I’m sure these will stand out as some of the best and brightest years in a long and happy open source career. It has been a delight to collaborate closely with so many people I admire greatly, including Deb Bryant, Molly de Blanc, Richard Fontana, Leslie Hawthorn, Mike Milinkovich, Simon Phipps, Josh Simmons, Carol Smith, Paul Tagliamonte, Italo Vignoli, and Stefano Zacchiroli.

I’m incredibly proud of what the organization has accomplished in that time, continuing stewardship of the open source license list, and growing our individual membership and affiliate programs which provide a path for the entire open source community to have a say in the governance of the OSI.

All good things must come to an end, and the time has come for me to pass along the president’s hat to the next volunteer. My work life has grown busier and busier in recent months, and I’m starting a PhD soon, so the time I have available to contribute to the OSI has become incredibly fractured. I’d rather empower someone else to do a great job as president than do a mediocre job of it myself for the rest of the year.

It gives me great pleasure to share the news that the OSI board has elected Simon Phipps as the next president. Having Simon at the helm will help make the transition particularly easy, since he served as OSI president before me. I’ve known Simon for many years, long before either of us was involved in the OSI, and one thing that has always impressed me is the way he consistently engages with new ideas, championing the relevance of open source in the ever-changing modern world. He also gave the best talk that I’ve ever seen explaining the four software freedoms and advocating for software freedom (at a conference in Oslo in 2011).

I’ll remain as a member of the OSI board, both to support a smooth transition to the new president, and to continue involvement in several active projects at the OSI. My hope is that handing off the administrative responsibility to Simon will enable me to focus my limited volunteer time on other things like improving the license review process.

I’ll close with an invitation: if you have a passion for open source and/or free software, consider running for the OSI board in one of our annual elections. Any individual member of the OSI can self-nominate as a candidate for the board (voted by the body of individual members), and active affiliate organizations of the OSI can nominate anyone as a candidate (voted by the body of affiliate organizations). Director terms are only 2-3 years, so serving on the board isn’t an overwhelming commitment, and is a great way to contribute your skills and experience to the open source and free software community. Who knows, maybe you’ll be the next president of the OSI after Simon.