Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
GNU is Not Unix Software

Bruce Perens Aims For OSI Executive 161

mutube writes "Open Source advocate Bruce Perens began petitioning for support in election to the OSI Executive Board. Because it's a self-electing board, demonstrable community support is needed to attain a seat. Perens is standing on a platform of reducing over-representation of vendors in OSI leadership in favor of developers. In his petition notice, Perens suggests that recent Open Source involvement by Microsoft could lead to their being offered a place on the board. With his background fighting SCO and the Novell-Microsoft patent agreements, Perens would be a good counter-balance."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Bruce Perens Aims For OSI Executive

Comments Filter:
  • Anyone at OSI who values freedom will resign if Microsoft gains a seat on the board. Microsoft is an enemy of free and open software. Organizations that recognize or endorse Microsoft are also enemies. Good luck, Bruce.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by 0x000000 ( 841725 )
      I think that is a bit short sighted. Even if Microsoft is an "enemy" they have in the recent months started releasing more and more open source software. They have also started making amends in the browser space to follow the W3C standards. There is even an entire test suite they created with over 700 tests.

      Do I dislike Microsoft. Yes? Can I take what good they do and use it to my advantage. If they meet the requirements and pre-req's for the OSI, then why should they not be allowed to be a member?
      • by belmolis ( 702863 ) <billposerNO@SPAMalum.mit.edu> on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @05:03PM (#22788720) Homepage

        OSI does not have any members, only a board of directors. Microsoft should not be allowed on the board barring a dramatic and clearly sincere shift in its position and actions, because it cannot be relied upon to act to promote open software.

        • We'll see. OSI is not the Free Software Foundation: they're willing to go along with licenses and policies that allow considerably less user freedom, and provide far more vendor control, than the GPL.
      • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) * <bruce@perens.com> on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @05:05PM (#22788734) Homepage Journal
        I imagine that 99% of the folks at Microsoft have their heart in the right place. Certainly most of the ones I meet do. There are a few who do not at the top, and unfortunately the rest have to take orders sometimes. As we can see from the recent shenagians around the ISO vote, Microsoft has not given up its habit of playing dirty.

        I have been on committees with them before, for example the patent policy board at W3C. I know how to deal with it professionally.

        Thanks

        Bruce

        • by asuffield ( 111848 ) <asuffield@suffields.me.uk> on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @05:30PM (#22788998)

          I imagine that 99% of the folks at Microsoft have their heart in the right place. Certainly most of the ones I meet do.


          My own observation of their employees has been that the problem is, by and large, not one of intent. Microsoft is a textbook example of how you can pave roads with good intentions. Much of the harm they do isn't deliberate, it's a mixture of bad planning, worse execution, and generally being oblivious to the idea that they aren't perfect (at least until it's too late to do anything about it).
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by pembo13 ( 770295 )
          I think that's pretty optimistic. I wouldn't assume that 99% of people at RedHat or Canonical had their "heart's in the right place". What makes you assume that of Microsoft?
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) *
            I think that's pretty optimistic. I wouldn't assume that 99% of people at RedHat or Canonical had their "heart's in the right place". What makes you assume that of Microsoft?

            Well, rather than being actively malevolent, a lot of people just don't give a damn. Some know that they can do the right thing but choose not to get involved. Maybe they'll tell you it's "over their pay-grade".

        • by Naughty Bob ( 1004174 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @06:05PM (#22789494)
          According to the internets, Dextrocardia is believed to occur in approximately 1 in 100 people.

          Your 99% figure for MSFT therefore has a ring of truth, if not truthiness.
        • I modded it Troll by mistake. So I'm posting to nullify. Feel free to mod this post off-topic
        • 'The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.' - Edmund Burke

          I still can't believe you posted your phone number on slashdot. Have you got a paypal account where we can send money?

          • Have you got a paypal account where we can send money?

            Not for this. But do you mean that publishing those has become dangerous? I've had some that have been generally known.

            I got four or five phone calls. 30 or 40 emails. 840 signatures so far.

            That phone number is on my web site. Weeks can go by with no calls. Most people don't want to bother me until they have something really interesting to say. They will reply to my slashdot and technocrat postings, and less often email, and even less often phone.

            Tha

    • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) * <bruce@perens.com> on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @04:59PM (#22788682) Homepage Journal
      OSI hasn't told me who else is running. And probably most of those folks would rather die than let MS on the board. But some wouldn't.

      Bruce

      • by 0racle ( 667029 )
        This sounds like a high school class president run. How does MS being on the board of an organization that as far as I can see in my usage of OSS does about as much as the protocol stack it shares its name with hurt or help anything.

        Actually, why would anyone want to be on it's board?
        • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) * <bruce@perens.com> on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @05:26PM (#22788972) Homepage Journal
          OSI is generally recognized as the organization that tells you if a license claiming to be Open Source actually is Open Source or if it's in some way giving you less rights than should come with Open Source. Those rights being defined in something I created 10 years ago called the Open Source Definition, which people seem to mostly still agree with. The main function of that board is to interpret those rules and certify licenses.

          I think the "high school" nature of this is because the board is self-elected. Otherwise, there would be some formal structure that you could see around the election. The last time I asked Mike Tiemann, the closest definition I got of when the election is was "before the April board meeting", which I think is April 2.

          I don't know that MS is a candidate, indeed I have not been told about any candidates. I don't think they'd win, so far. I trust most of the current board not to elect them. I have been on other commitees with Microsoft folks, for example the patent policy board at W3C. Unfortunately, they still like to play dirty. Someone like me can help to balance them.

          Bruce

    • by ushering05401 ( 1086795 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @05:02PM (#22788712) Journal
      Unfortunately such a withdrawal of OSI participants in response to MS involvement would be a PR victory for MS.

      One of the most common perceptions I find among my MS clients is that open source and zealotry go hand in hand. If MS appears to be embracing the community and the community rejects them the concept of the open source community as a collection of immature idealists (read not corporate America ready) would be cemented in many minds.

      When MS does begin their full force campaign to infiltrate the OSS community it should be met with carefully considered diplomacy, not blunt force resistance. Anything else will be a victory for MS.
      • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) * <bruce@perens.com> on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @05:36PM (#22789066) Homepage Journal
        Well, if they would stop doing the patent FUD, and stop stuffing ballot boxes at ISO, and in general stop the dirty fighting, we wouldn't need diplomacy. But I agree that they can make us look bad if we won't come to the table with them. We just have to make sure they don't leave with the table.

        Bruce

        • But I agree that they can make us look bad if we won't come to the table with them. We just have to make sure they don't leave with the table.

          Nor should the table budge an inch to suit their needs. Microsoft is not a leader in the open-source world, and until they get their act together, and have had their act together for some time (say, a decade), I really don't see why anyone should trust them. Give MS "observer status" at OSI if you want---perhaps they'll learn something---but to give them decision-making power on the board is irresponsible.

        • by jav1231 ( 539129 )
          I have been convinced, and have said here many times, that Microsoft is inherently evil. Like kicking puppies. You feel this instinctively, inside. That said, I'm sure there are good people working there. Just as there are decent people sweating out an existence in some sweatshop in China longing for freedom. It is my belief that Microsoft doesn't want to be in the technology business it wants to be the technology business. And it wants this at the expense and in spite of every other technology business. Th
      • by perlchild ( 582235 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @06:28PM (#22789780)
        So in other words, as long as open source(which includes, and requires, a cleaner "process" than Microsoft) wants to fight Microsoft on OSS's own turf(clean process) they lose(not corporate), on Microsoft's own turf(shady legitimacy), they lose, on neutral ground(which I haven't seen yet, as everyone seems to have some form of bias(or can seem to, if you're arguing against them), they also lose.

        The opposition from OSS to Microsoft usually stems from people who wanted to be Microsoft friends, and who saw how Microsoft treats its friends/partners. (Long list, from Stacker to kerberos implementations gone wrong, etc...) If you are in OSS, you can see that Microsoft has a history of cheating, you can (with some justification) expect them to try to cheat you, but the business guys expect you to ignore this, or else, YOU are against the corporate ethos? Diplomacy is all well and fine, but it's usually best employed between parties whose good faith is equal.

        Let's just agree corporate America isn't ready for open source, I for one am ready for the next debate. Microsoft will not clean up its act without a BIG stick on the nose. So far, it's only got a rolled up newspaper, and only when it got caught red-handed. They have not shown "good faith", they have done damage control. They've never formally renounced "embrace/extend/extinguish" as a modus operandi. This is the people we have to be diplomatic with... Can we just agree we don't want to play, and go home? There's been a very long, bloody history of bad faith(mostly on their part, but yes there have been zealots on the other camp too, however, there's only been casualties on one side), too big to ignore unless something changes(they could formally drop OOXML, and embrace ODF(not in a year, not after the next shareholders meeting, but now!) something LOUD, something that shows they believe in openness(not necessarily open source) that they are willing to face the anger of their shareholders over it. (I've kept fantasizing they'd opensource office instead, but that won't happen that's just a fantasy).

        If Microsoft continues with software as a service, they will either become an unstoppable juggernaut, or make themselves completely irrelevant. They don't need the opensource crowd, so what diplomacy we do is just allowing them to dodge bigger and bigger fines from regulatory body, not enticing, encouraging, or helping them believe in openness. And right now, they are making money in giving just the apparence of openness, and corporate America does not care, can not care, will not care, but will bemoan its fate when a stronger Microsoft has it again by the balls and ask us, "where were you, we knew you hated them, why didn't you warn us, you're it guys, etc...". And we'll just tell them, we've been telling you, you just told us we were fanatics... Well sometimes, even fanatics have real opponents, people who believe just as fanatically(if only at the top) in exactly the opposite idea.

        I for one think openness means Microsoft cannot bully the market, since I've not seen them win market share on product merit in quite some time, I think they need to bully the market in order to enhance their shareholder value. More openness would be against increasing their market capitalisatiion, and therefore a bad thing, for them. It's mutually exclusive, we can build a market where everyone can play, or Microsoft can build a market where they give permission to play, it's not exactly a place for compromise...
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jimicus ( 737525 )
          Microsoft will not clean up its act without a BIG stick on the nose. So far, it's only got a rolled up newspaper,

          If you must use doggy analogies, then I'm afraid that Microsoft have spent so long tasting blood that they'll never make a good pet now. They're known to be dangerous around children and other pets, and have been known to go after adults as well.

          I'm sorry, but there's only one thing to do - put them to sleep. I know it sounds cruel, but it's the best option of a pretty bad bunch - the alternati
      • by sootman ( 158191 )
        Somebody mod this guy down. Not because what he's saying is bad, I just want to browse this page at +5 and see only comments by Bruce. I think that would be cool. Right now there's only this comment and one other cluttering up my view. :-)
    • Christ, you sound like you're trying to convince Christians to expel the moors from Spain. Microsoft's just a company like any other, making software just like any other. If Microsoft's "an enemy of free and open software" then what is Adobe? Intuit? Apple? Etc? Are any companies *not* enemies of free and open software?
      • Microsoft certainly has been more active in attacking the free software movement and in particular Linux. Sure, other companies want you to buy their software rather than use something else, but most of them haven't generated the amount of FUD that Microsoft has or engaged in the bullying that Microsoft has. Do you see the Opera folks behaving like Microsoft? I don't think so. Do you see Corel trying to lock people into WordPerfect's file format? No, they were one of the original members of the OASIS commi

      • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) * <bruce@perens.com> on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @06:17PM (#22789634) Homepage Journal

        Christ, you sound like you're trying to convince Christians to expel the moors from Spain. Microsoft's just a company like any other, making software just like any other. If Microsoft's "an enemy of free and open software" then what is Adobe? Intuit? Apple? Etc? Are any companies *not* enemies of free and open software?
        Hi Blakey,

        There is a scale of corporate collaborators with the Open Source community. It runs the range of Benefactor, Symbiote, User, Parasite. All companies can be fit somewhere on this scale, sometimes we argue about what label one should get. NASA, back when it sponsored the development of most of the Linux network card drivers, was a benefactor. They didn't really plan to use them for their own operations. Most companies that attempt to be a sincere partner with the community are symbiotes, and they return value to the community in exchange for the value they get for their business, for example by developing more Open Source. Users are folks who just passively use the software without doing anything for the community - but we like to have Users because they give us the artistic gratification of seeing our software used and they sometimes become Symbiotes. Parasites are folks like SCO, that take value from the community in a harmful way.

        MS, unfortunately, while they are spewing patent FUD at us, while they are attempting to pervert the standards vote at ISO by creating dozens of new members for a single meeting, Microsoft doesn't belong on the partner scale at all. Apple tries to participate in Open Source, sometimes not successfully as when they took Open Darwin private, sometimes successfully as when they support the CUPS printer management system. Adobe, I don't know enough about their recent activities, but they made some open standards that we use very extensively, like Postscript, Type 1 and PDF. They also have been putting DRM in PDF, etc., which is generally negative.

        So, Microsoft is not just like any other company just like you are not like any other person. We have to make judgements based on the way they act.

        Bruce

        • by zotz ( 3951 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @08:34PM (#22790850) Homepage Journal
          "Users are folks who just passively use the software without doing anything for the community - but we like to have Users because they give us the artistic gratification of seeing our software used and they sometimes become Symbiotes."

          Bruce,

          I think you are missing one key thing users give us... Just by using... Network effects.

          I would have a much easier time asking people to switch from office to openoffice.org if everyone else was already using openoffice.org and not office. (I hate using that .org, has the other openoffice not gone away yet?)

          We would be getting much better hardware support if we had more plain users. This is a positive input plain old users give us. Even if they don't contribute money or code.

          Your thoughts?

          all the best,

          drew
          http://packet-in.org/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page [packet-in.org]
          Packet In - net band... copyleft music?
          • Well said. I should be pointing that out.
            • by zotz ( 3951 )
              To me, this is one of the beauties of Free Software.

              People can take all they want in keeping with the copyleft licenses (I haven't thought this through with the others) and not "give back" and still be positive forces and not leaches. I wonder if this overcomes the free rider problem?

              Also, I think those who give code back, actually benefit more than just plain users. So it pays to move on to the contribution phase where you can.

              all the best,

              drew
              • There isn't really a free-rider problem like on a bus - because there's no cost to making a copy there are an infinite number of "seats". There is a finite number of customers for paid copies, so proprietary software can be displaced by Free Software. That's just progress.

                Bruce

                • by zotz ( 3951 )
                  I too think that there is no free rider problem when it comes to Free Software, but I see people talking tragedy of the commons problems for this domain none the less.

                  all the best,

                  drew
                  http://packet-in.org/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page [packet-in.org]
                  • Some think that the tragedy of the commons in Open Source occurs if work on a product stops before the product reaches critical mass. But this may just be natural selection between multiple competing products.
            • We're seeing this on the Wine mailing list of late. winehq.org set up a forum, gatewayed with the old list, and the number of posts has gone through the roof. Because finally it's getting in all the people who aren't geeks, but are sick of Windows being flaky crap, so they're trying Linux (usually Ubuntu) and have just this one old Windows app they want to run. It's annoying a lot of the geeks, but is also generating lots of useful bug reports. And showing just how important World of Warcraft compatibility
        • by Lennie ( 16154 )
          I do think Apple are starting to learn about give & take. See: http://webkit.org/ [webkit.org]
      • by djradon ( 105400 )
        >Adobe?
        Certainly not a friend, although they do benefit from open-source software. They seem like the penultimate holdover from pre-internet software companies: first-mover advantage -> de facto file and ui standard -> price bloat -> ever-tighter copy restrictions -> ?undermining open source alternatives?

        Intuit?
        Not a friend, although they do offer software to "open source systems"http://www.intuit.com/about_intuit/press_room/press_release/2007/06-13.jhtml [intuit.com]. I agree with you though, these comme
      • by Soko ( 17987 )
        The only one of the four vendors you list produces an operating system. That one exception relies on an open core to their OS, too. IOW, they have little reason at present to try and stop Open Source projects in their tracks. At present, anyway.

        Though I wouldn't exactly call any one on your list an Open Source promoter, Microsoft is the only software vendor that would dearly love to kill any software, especially Open Source, that doesn't run exclusively on Windows. They've killed others who've simply threat
    • Perens is standing on a platform of reducing over-representation of vendors in OSI leadership in favor of developers.

      DEVELOPERS, DEVELOPERS, DEVELOPERS!!!
  • For campaign funding, perhaps you could take a cut of that undisclosed settlement [slashdot.org] for BusyBox (which I believe you started) [wikipedia.org] that was paid out to two other developers?
    • Re:BusyBox Funding? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) * <bruce@perens.com> on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @04:57PM (#22788666) Homepage Journal
      Unfortunately, one of those developers tells me that every line of code I wrote in creating Busybox is gone from the code base, and that I have no rights :-( . I am not sure I believe that, but there is no good to be had in further engaging with that developer, I have bigger battles to fight.

      Bruce

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by belmolis ( 702863 )

        Unless your contribution consisted only of small, isolated bits, which as I understand it was not the case, even if there is nothing left that is recognizably your original code, BusyBox as a whole is still a derivative work and you therefore retain rights in it, no?

        • Re:BusyBox Funding? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) * <bruce@perens.com> on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @05:17PM (#22788880) Homepage Journal
          Unless your contribution consisted only of small, isolated bits, which as I understand it was not the case, even if there is nothing left that is recognizably your original code, BusyBox as a whole is still a derivative work and you therefore retain rights in it, no?

          I don't want any money. And regarding settlements, SFLC generally gets money to support its own operations, and I suppose that the plaintiffs want some money to compensate their efforts. They are after all consultants who get paid for their time.

          But I am a bit uncomfortable about the whole thing.

          Bruce

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by asuffield ( 111848 )

          Unless your contribution consisted only of small, isolated bits, which as I understand it was not the case, even if there is nothing left that is recognizably your original code, BusyBox as a whole is still a derivative work and you therefore retain rights in it, no?

          The legal theory of homoeopathic copyright (ie, derivative works that don't contain any of the original content) is one that has been often proclaimed by lawyers but never firmly decided in court. So realistically, no (unless you have the time a

          • Actually, that depends on who your opponents are. If they are a large, well-funded corporation, the financial barrier may be great. If it is a matter of getting other developers of software you started to recognize your rights, it may not be.

      • by Hatta ( 162192 )
        Unfortunately, one of those developers tells me that every line of code I wrote in creating Busybox is gone from the code base

        Shouldn't that be fairly straightforward to verify?
        • Shouldn't that be fairly straightforward to verify?

          Yes. But I thought it was better to just walk away from the silly argument. And in any case he's had time enough to remove those lines deliberately.

      • The busybox developers are doing their bit to preserve the GPL. It is unfortunate they are so shortsighted as to neglect the value of your contribution completely.

        Your willingness to forbear the issue speaks a great deal about your maturity.

        While I still appreciate their continuing efforts on behalf of the GPL, my respect for them is greatly reduced.

        Thanks for all you've done for us Bruce. I signed the petition and I'll make sure everybody at work knows they have an opportunity to do the same.

        • I did pass the complaint of another busybox developer on to SFLC after he came to me, and groused a bit to their lawyer at SFLC about the discourtesy of the whole thing while doing that. People would be happy, I think, to see SFLC compensated and those two guys paid for their time. And maybe that's all that happened.
  • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) * <bruce@perens.com> on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @04:54PM (#22788646) Homepage Journal
    I usally respond to Slashdot comments if I see them. But you are also welcome to call me at 510-984-1055, or to email bruce at perens dot com . The phone rings in my office and home, and stops ringing when we would be sleeping.

    Thanks

    Bruce

    • by AresTheImpaler ( 570208 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @05:01PM (#22788704)
      SWEEEET, I now have parens' phone number! I'm going to show it off to all my friends!!! zomg! ;)
    • by eln ( 21727 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @05:15PM (#22788866)
      Whoa, that's the exact same number this hot chick gave me at the bar last night. Dammit, I KNEW it was fake. Either that or I had the worst case of beer goggles in history.

    • by joe 155 ( 937621 )
      Bruce,

      I just wanted to say that whilst I don't always agree with you on everything I think that having someone who is as reasonable as you helping to protect us from the whims of big vendors and especially MS can be no bad thing. I'm not sure how I can support you in any way in this endeavor but I wish you all the luck in the world.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) *
        I'm not sure how I can support you in any way in this endeavor but I wish you all the luck in the world.

        Thanks! I am conscious that nobody listens to me unless I have the support of folks like you. There are mistakes I've made, that I would take back if I could. I'm trying very hard not to make them this time.

        Thanks

        Bruce

        • by dpilot ( 134227 )
          > There are mistakes I've made, that I would take back if I could. I'm trying
          > very hard not to make them this time.

          You've just rendered yourself unfit for political office. No true politician admits to a mistake, or says he/she would do something differently. It's much more political to blame the facts.
          • by deek ( 22697 )

            You've just rendered yourself unfit for political office. No true politician admits to a mistake, or says he/she would do something differently. It's much more political to blame the facts.


              True politicians suck. I'd much rather a person who can accept that they've made mistakes, as long as I can trust that they'd learn from them. Bruce would have my vote, just based on that statement alone.
    • by Cylix ( 55374 )
      And that is what I love about Bruce...

      Back when Bruce and HP/Compaq parted ways, he gave out your info to freely answer questions.

      I copied and pasted that into a text file.

      Sometime long after, I decided to show how elite I was and I pasted that info into some irc channel.

      I remember someone shitting themselves when you answered the phone.

      Good times!
    • by DeVilla ( 4563 )
      Bruce, I'm glad to see you are in the running for the OSI board and I have already signed the petition. OSI couldn't find a better person for the job.
    • Bruce,

      IMHO you are one of the few "activists" out there who have stayed true to their promises. I signed the petition and you have my full support.

      The actual (and *important*) reason why I'm replying: Please be aware that there is at least one outspoken Nay in your petition. Better read through all the comments so that those numbers are accurate and can in no way be held against you.

      Thank you for your commitment to Open Source.

  • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) * <bruce@perens.com> on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @05:01PM (#22788700) Homepage Journal
    Please sign here. [techp.org]

    Thanks

    Bruce

  • I've posted links on ubuntuforums.org [ubuntuforums.org] and the m0n0wall forum [m0n0.ch] and mailing list. I suggest others do likewise, keep the discussion up, get the word out.

    db

  • Many of Microsoft's so called "open source" efforts don't meet the definition and Microsoft's public statements are deliberately misleading. The purpose os OSI is to protect us from companies like Microsoft, not to support them in their disinformation campaigns,
  • I see developers and vendors represented, but what about end-users?

    Why isn't there any representation for the average people that actually use the software? That is one of the biggest failings of OSS, it rarely takes the end-user into account.
    • I see developers and vendors represented, but what about end-users?

      I'll restate the first point in my campaign: Most Open Source developers are co-developing the software for their own use. They need the software for their own operations, and they are the users who are interested enough in the software to actually want to help.

      Open Source doesn't really separate developers from users, anyone can develop. Not everybody knows how, but they can help the team in other ways - tech writing, for example.

      So, I t

A motion to adjourn is always in order.

Working...