The 2020 election for the Open Source Initiative Board of Directors is rapidly approaching. Before going to IBM FastStart in Las Vegas last week, I nominated myself for a seat on the board as an Individual Member. I spoke with a few friends in the months prior to submitting my nomination. It sounds like OSI could use my help.

“Open source software has done nothing but provide opportunity after opportunity in my life. It should be cared for and maintained so that everyone willing can benefit from it as much as I have (hopefully more).” —Chris Short

What is Open Source Initiative

Open Source Initiative (OSI) is not to be confused with, where I contribute content. It’s also not Free Software Foundation and/or GNU. OSI is the organization that coined the term “Open Source” way back when I was a kid. OSI is also the maintainer of The Open Source Definition.

Why you should care about Open Source Initiative

The Definition itself has been somewhat under attack given some business models being gutted by large cloud providers. Those businesses are responding with non-open licenses attempting to mimic open source licenses for some, but not all. These are not open source licenses but, they are undoubtedly trying to gain some marketing bonus points or street cred by falsely claiming their works are open source.

Another concern I have is about the use of the term open source for marketing and appealing to talent. I think the most ghastly thing I saw at a recent vendor event was a company claiming to be doing everything in the open source way for a new product. Evidence indicates the contrary. Yes, some components are open source, others are open because they have to be, but the guts and plumbing of their product are some of the most protected and litigated against code on earth. That’s not fair to call a something open source unless its components are being developed in the open. It’s disingenuous at best. At worst, it’s damaging to the term open source and the community of open source users, integrators, and contributors.

How do I vote

Step 1, join OSI by March 1. That’s it!

You’ll get your ballot when it’s time to vote. The list of nominees for the 2020 Board of Directors Election Candidates is open source, of course. I’d ask that you vote for me, but, to be honest, my goal is to get you to join and participate in OSI. Without a vibrant community of people supporting OSI and helping drive open source forward, our commits are nothing.


My platform is flexible and straightforward. I could sit and list out all the potential options and scenarios that lay before us, but that would take an excessive amount of time. I want my time on the OSI board to be spent on three key areas:

  1. Get through the open source identity crisis, we seem to be having by clearly defining what open source is and isn’t.

  2. Continue to develop and spread the message about the positive benefits of open source software and its practices has on organizations and people.

  3. Ally with friends of OSI to take its, “To promote and protect open source software and communities further” mission to the masses.

Let’s face it; if this platform got more specific, I could get locked into delivering the impossible (and #1 is going to be pretty hard). I’ve taken similar three-pronged approaches to engagement in any community or project I contribute to in the past; less is more. One thing spending over a decade in the US Air Force and the following decade in DevOps has taught me is that the best-laid designs and plans go thud at the first sign of things called requirements. I also know that the past twenty-five years I’ve spent in open source has given me the skills to attain each of these goals. I know that the means and ways to attain these goals will be as fluid as water. However, the goals and getting to them are what is essential to the long term health of open source.

If you would like to read about my journey through life in open source, please review my candidate profile.

Related Content