Governance and responsibility

David Dillard david_dillard at
Sun Sep 25 20:41:36 UTC 2005

> We know that the community entrusts us with certain important 
> jobs by its behavior.  Most hackers will refuse to work on 
> projects without an OSD certified license.  Major project 
> sites, including SourceForge and Berlios, reflect that policy 
> by not accepting new projects under non-OSD-compliant 
> licenses.  That's a pretty good indicator of the community's trust.
> When corporations or governments want the open-source 
> community's cooperation or imprimatur, they generally come to 
> us -- not just for licence approval, but for other major 
> initiatives as well.  When the technology trade press wants 
> the open-source community's take on an issue, they normally 
> do likewise.  These are good indicators of the OSI's 
> ambassadorship role outside the hacker community.
> In four days, the President Emeritus of OSI (that would 
> happen to be me) will address a web seminar of approximately 
> 200 corporate CEOs and CIOs, having been asked to do so 
> specifically as a knowledgeable and authoritative 
> spokesperson for the open-source community.  And this sort of 
> thing is *routine*.  Our Board members could fill their 
> entire calendars with requests like these without looking for them.
> You can insist all you like that we aren't entrusted with 
> anything and don't speak for the community. But the 
> behavioral facts say otherwise.

Everything you just wrote makes the case that people OUTSIDE the
community believe you speak for the community.  None of it says that
people inside the community feel as though as you speak for them.

I sincerely hope the distinction isn't lost on you.

--- David

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