Updates to the OSI Board

Dear Members,

Moving forward, the Open Source Initiative (OSI) will appoint two directors based on the board’s discretion, as opposed to elections held with the individual and affiliate membership. As a result, the OSI Board will consist of 4 members chosen by the individual membership, 4 members chosen by affiliates, 2 members chosen by the board, and the general manager. The majority of the OSI Board will still be elected.

Each year the OSI holds elections, however per OSI bylaws, the elections’ results are advisory only, rather than binding. While the OSI honors the elections’ results, and appoints those with the highest number of votes as Board Directors, the makeup of the OSI Board is ultimately the decision of the board.

With the resignation of two directors, the OSI found itself in a position to appoint two new people to the OSI Board. Current board directors have spent a significant amount of time discussing the best way to accomplish this. Should the board look at past election results? Should it run another election?

For some time the OSI Board has been thinking about adding two fully appointed seats — where directors are chosen by the board, rather than through an advisory election. OSI directors are concerned about the diversity of the OSI Board and its ability to represent the open source software community’s diversity in multiple dimensions. The OSI wants to ensure the board includes the skills, experience, and knowledge necessary to run a successful organization: non-profit experience, fundraising, organizing, legal expertise, advocacy, and technical expertise are just a few examples of the skills considered important to the OSI.

After much discussion, the board agreed that the vacancy of the two seats through resignation was a good opportunity to change the board make-up from ten elected seats and one ex officio member, to eight elected seats, two appointed seats, and one ex officio member.

Moving forward there will be one fewer affiliate seat and one fewer Individual seat occupying the OSI Board. The upcoming elections will reflect this accordingly.

We are currently conducting a search for two new OSI Board Directors. While the decision will be made internally, you can recommend someone by emailing the OSI at osi@lists.opensource.org, using the subject line “Board of Directors Recommendation.” Please include information about why you believe this person will be a strong addition to the OSI Board. Areas of particular interest to the board are: previous board experience, fundraising skills, non-profit experience, and diversity of perspective. The OSI Board will be making a decision by the next board meeting, which is Friday, October 11th, so please have all recommendations submitted by the end of the day on Friday, October 4th, AOE (Anywhere On Earth).

Thank you for your membership to the OSI, and your ongoing support of the Open Source Software community.

Molly de Blanc
President, Open Source Initiative