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ESR steps down from OSI 503

Hope Thelps writes "According to an article on news.com.com, Eric Raymond is stepping down from his role as president of the OSI. His replacement will be our very own Russ Nelson. "
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ESR steps down from OSI

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  • by Joseph Vigneau ( 514 ) * on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @03:27PM (#11543220)
    Looks like Eric finally accepted the job offer from Microsoft.

    Just kidding Eric, don't shoot me! :^)
  • by xmas2003 ( 739875 ) * on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @03:27PM (#11543223) Homepage
    The submissions mentioned Russ's Slashdot Page, but a lot more info about him can be found at his home page [russnelson.com] and/or his company Crynwr. [crynwr.com]
    • by Anonymous Coward
      You can get secret naked pictures of him touching printouts of open source code for all of your F/OSS fetish needs!
    • by Fruit ( 31966 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @03:54PM (#11543543) Homepage
      Interesting. He'll be heading OSI but does qmail and other djbsoftware consulting?
      • Read my chapter of the upcoming Open Sources book.
      • by jbn-o ( 555068 )
        The open source movement has no problem with advocating for software that is not "open source". This movement's philosophy champions a development methodology aimed chiefly at businesses. When you focus on criteria where you can't always excel, like technological innovation, you sometimes have to stump for things that won't qualify for the imprimateur of your own organization.

        Free software proponents, by contrast, champion a different philosophy: all computer users deserve the freedom to run, inspect, sh
        • This movement's philosophy champions a development methodology aimed chiefly at businesses.

          I think you've been drinking too much of the kook-aid that RMS has been handing out.
          • by jbn-o ( 555068 )

            According to the front page of the OSI website [opensource.org]: (emphasis theirs)

            "The basic idea behind open source is very simple: When programmers can read, redistribute, and modify the source code for a piece of software, the software evolves. People improve it, people adapt it, people fix bugs. And this can happen at a speed that, if one is used to the slow pace of conventional software development, seems astonishing.

            We in the open source community have learned that this rapid evolutionary process produces better

    • Ahhhhhhh......
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @03:27PM (#11543226)
    I look forward to his long-winded rambling pseudo-philosophical treatise on what it feels like to step down, and how that relates to the ethos of the Open Source movement.
  • ObESR Link (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @03:29PM (#11543254)
    Fear not, knowledgeable people, and learn quite how full of shit [1accesshost.com] ESR is.
  • Misunderstading... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Tellarin ( 444097 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @03:30PM (#11543256) Homepage Journal

    ESR didn't step down, according to the article, he stepped aside. :)

  • Obligatory Good Morning Vietnam:
    "Excuse me sir, seeing as how the VP is such a VIP, shouldn't we keep the PC on the QT, because if it leaks to the VC, you could end up an MIA, and then we'd all be put on KP."

  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples.gmail@com> on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @03:31PM (#11543276) Homepage Journal

    From the article:

    Approval from the OSI is required for all open-source licenses, which are used on thousands of products

    Since when? Last time I checked, "open source" was a generic descriptor, and only use of the OSI CERTIFIED mark required approval from the Open Source Initiative.

  • by Doug Neal ( 195160 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @03:31PM (#11543280)
    From the article:

    Approval from the OSI is required for all open-source licenses, which are used on thousands of products, from the Linux operating system to the Firefox Web browser.

    Erm, what? I don't need anyone to "approve" my software's license :P These business-orientated news sites have had fucking ages to get the facts right on all this stuff and they still can't do it.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      That used to be true, but since the Open Source and Copyleft Act 2004, the OSI has been granted quasi-governmental status over Open Source licensing. Essentially, it's now illegal to create a new license that allows for the free distribution of code unless that license passes muster with the OSI.

      The reasons for this are several fold. Part of it is to discourage new incompatable licenses (you can't use APSL code in Apache that can't be used in Perl that can't be used in Linux that can't be used in AROS, to

    • Erm, what? I don't need anyone to "approve" my software's license :P
      Actually, you do need their approval if you want to call it an "open source license." Of course, the open-source license you're using has probably been approved already for ages.
      • Wups, my bad. Since "open source license" is descriptive, it can't be trademarked. So I was wrong, you can call any damn thing you want an "open source license". Sorry. You just can't call it "OSI Certified."
  • looks? (Score:3, Funny)

    by bano ( 410 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @03:33PM (#11543308) Homepage Journal
    Does this nelson guy look as retarded as ESR does?
  • by pikine ( 771084 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @03:35PM (#11543338) Journal
    Approval from the OSI is required for all open-source licenses, which are used on thousands of products, from the Linux operating system to the Firefox Web browser. As open-source software expands in popularity, though, the number of open-source licenses is growing, which opens up myriad legal questions and creates some confusion over the definition of open-source.

    I'm not sure I like the idea that OSI is pitching itself as "the authority" of license evaluation. Although it is a lot easier to ask the question, "is license A approved by OSI" to mean "is the software licensed under A open source for me" but the question is flawed. One has to recognized that free software licenses are not created equal. The difference of them, and the choice involved, is what makes open source great.
  • From the article:
    Approval from the OSI is required for all open-source licenses
    How can that be? IIRC, OSI was not granted a trademark on the phrase "open source", so anyone can use it for nearly anything.

    OSI isn't spreading FUD about the phrase "open source", are they?

    • IIRC, OSI was not granted a trademark on the phrase "open source", so anyone can use it for nearly anything.

      No, not the OSI, but another organization founded by Bruce Perens, the SPI (Software in the Public Interest). Tradmark #75439502 [uspto.gov].

      Then there was a little scuffle where the OSI wanted the trademark from the SPI, and I think it ended up being abandoned, and now the OSI has their 'certification mark' instead.

      But in any case, Perens was the guy who co-founded the OSI and coined the term, and at the ver
      • OK, I have no problem with OSI (or SPI, or whoever) requiring their approval to use a "certification mark". I was just worried that they may have been misrepresenting that they had some control over the use of the phrase "open source". Perhaps it was just a misunderstanding by the reporter.
  • by chuckfee ( 93392 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @03:44PM (#11543442)
    Or better yet, to write his reflections on going through life with a complete lack of social skills?

  • by northcat ( 827059 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @03:53PM (#11543533) Journal
    A slashdot user becomes the head OSI. I think I'll burn down my computer now.
  • "One of the most important parts of any founder or leader's responsibility is to know when to step aside." --Eric Raymond, co-founder, OSI
  • Why do I have this feeling some anti open source troll is going to mod down all of his posts just because they know who he is?

    I'm surpised slashdot posted his name like that. Especially with recent posts.
  • All those complaining about the OSI insisting that a licence is open-source only if they approve it forget one thing: the OSI coined the term "open source". Hard as it may be to imagine, the phrase didn't exist up to 7 or so years ago. With this in mind, their claims are somewhat justified.
    • Re:OSI Approval (Score:4, Informative)

      by 0racle ( 667029 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @04:26PM (#11543945)
      No they didn't and yes the phrase existed before the OSI was founded and it was not limited to software.

      1992 [google.ca]
      1991 [google.ca]
      1990 [google.ca] Speaking about BSD's open source policy

      It also has a large amount of use relating to the access of Intellegence information. The OSI simply used a common term relating to source code that is accessable, they did not coin the term and in no way have any way to justify any claims regarding ownership or oversight of it, it is simply a discriptive phrase.
  • I just hope... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by boots@work ( 17305 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @07:04PM (#11545793)
    My biggest problem with esr was that he couldn't seem to keep his OSI work separate from his other opinions [crookedtimber.org] about the proper place of women, how to treat homosexuals, etc. I respect his right to have those opinions, but I wish he would tuck them away during his very visible tenure as leader of OSI.

    Russ has a fairly extreme view on libertarian economics [russnelson.com]. ("Extreme" because few people believe there should be no public liability laws -- I'd link but the archives are broken.) Fair enough; I sympathize even if I wouldn't go quite as far as he does.

    My big question is: will he manage to keep his personal opinions separate from his OSI work? I do not want to hear any more OSI-related statements alluding to gun control. It's not just unprofessional, it's also a bad idea in that you may alienate people who like open source but dislike Rand.
  • Upsetting (Score:4, Interesting)

    by petrus4 ( 213815 ) on Wednesday February 02, 2005 @06:50AM (#11549191) Homepage Journal
    This to my mind is bad news. I understand that ESR is controversial...Some people like him, and others definitely don't...but there's one area where he did the geek world a big favour...namely in the sense that from what I saw, he was the real world's answer to Louis Skolnick.

    What I mean by that is that geeks traditionally are (to put it in politically correct terminology) "neurologically diverse." We seem to typically be either somewhere on the autistic spectrum (I myself was diagnosed in 1992 with a Nonverbal Learning Disorder, which is an autistic spectrum/PDD condition fairly similar to Asperger's) or to have ADHD. I've always thought that RMS's major problem as far as obtaining genuine (mainstream) relevance is concerned is the fact (at least to my mind) that he is deeply and visibly autistic, which seems to be an enormous hindrance to him when it comes to relating to other people.

    ESR by comparison is/was relatively mainstream. I certainly won't say completely...but a lot moreso than RMS, and definitely moreso than is usual for the geek/hacker rank and file. In dealing with the corporate world (*especially* boomer corporates) it's absolutely vital that even if you aren't normal, you can convincingly pretend to be for extensive periods of time...which ESR evidently *is* capable of doing.

    The point is that we *do* need someone like that, in order to act as a liason with the rest of the planet. Not only for those of us who genuinely can't do it, but also for those of us like RMS who I suspect probably *could* if they really tried, but who see doing so as tremendously immoral.

    I understand some people don't like Raymond, and from what I've read of his writings I think I can at least suspect why that is. I think it's true that he probably *does* have an enormous ego, among other things.

    But at the same time, in some ways personally I tend to see him as at least vaguely resembling the sort of person I myself would want to be if I had the courage to become self-actualised. I'm not someone customarily given to hero worship...and I'm not saying I engage in that with Raymond either, exactly...he's written things that I disagree with. But controversy about him aside, I think I have been able to see in him a lot which I admire and consider valuable...and I think as far as FOSS is concerned, he *has* made a difference. I hope that even after stepping down from this position, he'll still be willing and able to keep doing so.

Nothing is finished until the paperwork is done.