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With the perceived growth of FLOSS deployments in the world's education sector, we wanted to try to confirm our intuition. What better way of doing so than going directly to the source. In this instance, we reached out to Patrick Masson, Director and General Manager at Open Source Initiative (OSI). He was kind enough to put a lot of time and effort into answering questions in this area. He provides plenty of reasons to confirm our initial thoughts. Please enjoy reading through the immense amount of information Patrick provided to us.

Interview Questions

Interview Answers

Question 1: How would you rate the open source software proliferation throughout the United States education sector and what in your opinion is the main driving force for its adoption or rejection?
Patrick Masson: I suppose proliferation could be assessed from two perspectives. The first perspective might be what most would expect, that is, the adoption of open source software as an alternative to proprietary options. In this regard, one would really have to consider where open source tools are being employed on campuses, and by whom. For example, campus data centers, running Linux, Apache, etc., have had a 10 plus year relationship with open source software, and I expect their adoption rates pretty much aligns with the broader business community. The 2006 “Campus Computing Survey”[1] reported, “evidence documenting the broad deployment of backroom open source tools: for example, two-thirds of the survey respondents report some Open Source tool deployment on their campuses.” In that same year InsideHigherEd also reported, “two-thirds of chief information officers said they have ‘considered or are actively considering’ using open source products.” Interest in education seems to align with reports looking at business adoption during that same time. A 2006 Ars Technica article[2] included survey results from IT consulting firm Optaros and InformationWeek magazine that, “87 percent of American organizations use open source software within their technology infrastructure,” up from the prior year’s survey which reported, “Two-thirds of companies interviewed use open-source products”[3]. My own research in 2006, surveying server software deployed across the State University of New York’s sixty-four campus system, demonstrated that 78% of SUNY campus’ servers ran open source software: again, in line with other reports.

I think the similarities in adoption rates between education and other sectors found in 2006, specifically related to infrastructure, would be similar today as IT leaders across sectors have been introduced to, and become more familiar/comfortable with open source options. I’d say if, Black Duck’s Future of Open Source Survey is reporting, “Seventy-eight percent of respondents said their companies run part or all of its operations on OSS”[4]; or, as Gartner stated, “By 2016, the vast majority of mainstream IT organizations will leverage nontrivial elements of open source software (directly or indirectly) in mission-critical IT solutions“[5]; or as Jeffrey Hammond, Vice President & Principal Analyst at Forrester highlighted, only 13% of enterprises are not using open source software[6], then the IT departments within the education sector are probably in line as well. The more interesting question today, considering the widespread adoption reported, is why an institution has not considered open source software?

I should also point out that the 2006 “Campus Computing Survey” also included an important distinction that I do think is still a factor today, “While many campuses are using Open Source tools in the backroom, open source applications [used directly by students, faculty, etc.] are still in their infancy. The early data about Moodle and Sakai may bode well for future open source applications as these products emerge and campus IT officers share information about the experiences of early adopters.” For many on campus, the software running deep in the data center is of little concern (or notice), and it isn’t until open source options reached the monitors of faculty, non-technical administrators and students—who are often included in evaluations, pilots, assessments of teaching and learning tools—that other factors, beyond technical viability, would affect adoption. As the Campus Computing Survey noted in 2006, academic and administrative systems, as opposed to technology infrastructure, was in it’s infancy in 2006 and may not then have met the expectations of end-users to support teaching and learning. Today however, in addition to learning management systems like Moodle and Sakai, other non-infrastructure, enterprise-scale options have extended open source’s reach out of the data center: Drupal, Joomla, Wordpress, etc. for content management; Kauli for student services and financials; BigBlueButton and OpenCast, for lecture capture, etc. These tools have introduced the benefits of open source software to the broader campus community beyond IT staff. The result, I believe, is that there is in fact now greater adoption of open source on campuses—not specifically more use in the data center by IT staff, but because there are more open source applications serving a broader audience: librarians, faculty, advisors, alumni and development officers, etc.

As I mentioned, a second consideration for your question regarding open source software proliferation would be the participation of institutions across higher education in the actual development of open source software. OSI Affiliate Member Apereo Foundation[7], along with their sister organization the ESUP-Portail consortium in France[8], consists of a network of over 180 higher educational institutions and partners supporting the development and administration of open source software used in thousands of educational institutions worldwide.

Both adoption and development are important to consider when assessing the proliferation of open source software, and can be thought of as two points on a continuum. Institutions might first begin their involvement through the acquisition/implementation of some open source software on campus, then if successful, that campus could begin to invest local resources to the development of open source tools, indicating greater investment and comfort. Considering this, those acquiring and using open source will always be greater than those contributing back to projects, but both metrics are important in my mind.
Question 2: Using scale 1 to 10, how would you rate the awareness of open source software within the education sector in United States?
Patrick Masson: I think the level of awareness really depends on the audience, and additionally awareness itself requires more nuance than simply the ability of a campus, department, or person to name some open source software as an alternative to proprietary software. In that regard, I suspect 100% of IT staff are aware of open source software,—I can’t imagine a campus IT department that has not heard of open source software, and even specific alternatives to the proprietary tools that they might have traditionally deployed (e.g. Linux vs. Windows). But I do wonder how many in the IT department are aware of how the procurement and management of open source software differs from proprietary models, or how engagement with open source communities of practice differs from traditional vendor-client relationships?

As mentioned earlier, while the IT department on campuses may be aware of open source options, and even some of the nuance of engagement, I suspect awareness outside IT, among faculty, non-IT staff, administrators, and students, is far less. These groups may not know of open source alternatives to proprietary options and may indeed believe that “industry standards” require the use of proprietary options. For example, Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Suite are often highlighted as required tools within specific disciplines, so faculty may not even seek out alternatives and thus may be unaware of the open source options of LibreOffice to replace MS Office, or GIMP/Inkscape/Scribus as an alternative to Adobe Creative Suite. I do not have anything but anecdotal evidence, but from my experience as a campus CIO, system CTO and school board member of my local K12 district, open source software is not well known among non-IT staff, and when it is, understanding around procurement, implementation and management is minimal.

Interestingly to me, I find the introduction and rapid growth of open educational resources—teaching and learning initiatives beyond software—to be the most impactful in raising awareness of the benefits of open development, licensing and distribution models as well as, eventually, open source software. Many faculty and non-IT staff (e.g. librarians, researchers, etc.) are engaging in open textbooks, open courses, open data, open analytics, and many other open initiatives. Through these efforts faculty and staff are realizing the benefits of openness, which can then more easily be transferred when assessing open source software.

Question 3: What is OSI's role for increasing the awareness of open source software alternatives in the education sector? Is it a consultative approach? Do you provide manpower to them to assist in the shift to an open source software alternative?

Patrick Masson: The OSI is working on several fronts to increase awareness and adoption of open source within both K12 schools and districts as well as higher education. The OSI’s current educational initiatives include:

  • FLOSS Desktops for Kids: In line with the "Maker" movement and supporting STEM (Science Technology Engineering & Math), this project helps schools and school children learn about and use open source software. This project provides resources and mentors to help school districts, teachers and kids learn about computer hardware, networks and software through hands-on activities re-building computers. Using surplus and discarded school computers, kids break-down and repair computer hardware components, install open source software including Linux operating systems, LibreOffice, GIMP, etc. The project teaches kids about computers and computing by doing. Once completed, the kids can take their computers home, "for keeps."
  • College/University Course Pack on Open Source: The interest in “teaching open source” is growing[9] and several institutions now include courses on open source development, open source communities and open source in business[10]. Rochester Institute of Technology now offers a minor in free and open source software and free culture[1]. Despite this growing interest, few academic resources exist to support curricula and faculty. Using former OSI Director Karl Fogel’s text, “Producing Open Source Software, How to Run a Successful Free Software Project”[12] as a foundation, the OSI in collaboration with the OERu[13] and The University of Southern Queensland [14] are developing and aggregating complimentary course materials, known as a “course pack”—a course syllabus, lecture slides/notes, quiz and test questions, supplemental reading materials, etc.—for use by faculty teaching principles and practices related to open source software development and the communities that support those projects. Course packs serve as a compliment to textbooks, and help faculty identify academic additional resources recommended by their peers, as well as alternate approaches to teaching and learning.
  • Higher Education Affiliate Memberships: Recognizing the growth of open source software within higher education information technology, the OSI has expanded our community Affiliate Memberships to colleges and universities. Affiliate membership is the ideal way for institutions of higher education to support the mission of the OSI and contribute to the continued awareness and adoption of open source software, while growing their own local open source software initiatives, portfolios and communities on campus and across higher education. Current institutions include Darbar Institute[15], Indiana University[16], Marist College[17], University of Southern Queensland[14].
  • Open Summit: The Open Summit[18] is the first multi-discipline summit on openness in higher education. Our goals for Open Summit include enabling high-level dialog between open initiatives across higher education, sharing experiences between stakeholders, providing current-state-of-initiative information to all, and promoting strategic directions, in order to better facilitate communication and synchronization across the emerging open landscape. This year’s presenters included Red Hat CEO, Jim Whitehurst and over twenty internationally recognized leaders in open source, open educational resources and openness in higher education[19].

Emphasizing the OSI’s commitment, several current and previous board members hold faculty and administrative appointments within education: Harshad Gune is an associate professor and deputy director at Symbiosis Institute of Computer Studies and Research; Joi Ito is professor of the Practice of Media Arts and Sciences, and the director of the MIT Media Lab; Fábio Kon is a professor of the Department of Computer Science of the University of São Paulo, Brazil; Tony Wasserman is a professor of Software Management Practice at Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley, and the executive director of the CMU Center for Open Source Investigation; Stefano Zacchiroli is an associate professor of Computer Science at Université Paris Diderot in France and fellow at IRILL; and I, in addition to previous administrative roles within higher education, am an instructor in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences’ Department of Informatics at the University at Albany, State University of New York. I was also elected to my local school district’s Board of Education.

Question 4: What approach does OSI take to get involved with educational institutions? Does the institution reach out to OSI? Or, are you contacting them directly?

Patrick Masson: We are very fortunate that many educational institutions reach out to us, often informally, with requests for information or support in identifying open source software options, finding resources to help institutional administrators understand and adopt open source software, techniques for building community and promoting participation in open source projects, etc. Many of these inquiries are one-off requests from individuals or departments, and we are happy to help at a very basic level. Others may request greater support, for example, consultation with the institution on licensing, or advise for campus IT on development or procurement issues. This support may take the form of conference calls, or webinars, or even face to face meetings. While the OSI does not provide consultation as a professional service, we are happy to tap a current board member on the shoulder to help an emerging program, or reach out to our board alumni with expertise on a specific topic, or even our large network of members, affiliates and colleagues who can shepherd an institution as they transition from proprietary to open source software. At the end of the day, we want to make sure those who contact us for help get what they need, even if we cannot provide it directly. Importantly, our mission not only includes a mandate “to educate about and advocate for the benefits of open source” but also, “to build bridges among different constituencies in the open source community.”

Of course this is in addition to our Affiliate Membership program for educational institutions. We’ve had some institutions reach out to us to join, but if we learn of a campus doing significant work with open source software, we’ll reach out to invite them to join. The goal here is to find campuses and schools who can share their own successes (and even failures) to help others coming up behind them.

We’re currently involved in a variety of activities to try and increase our presence in the educational community. I’ve already touched on our partnership with the Apereo Foundation, but another good example is our regular participation with EDUCAUSE[20], a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education through the use of information technology. This year, for example, the OSI partnered with Creative Commons at the EDUCAUSE National Conference to present a session on open licensing and the current state of open resources and initiatives, their impact across higher education, and how institutions of higher education can these resources for innovation[21]. Also, during the same conference, the OSI presented with OSI Affiliate Member the Apereo Foundation on the principles and practices that enable collaboration, contribution, and community in open initiatives.

Question 5: Is there a certain type of educational institution (public vs. private, compulsory vs. higher) that has a higher adoption rate? If so, why is that the case?

Patrick Masson: The only research I am aware of at the moment is from the Campus Computing Project, and really only from the early years, when open source software was just first emerging within the education sector. According to the 2004 report[22], “two-thirds of the respondents in public and private research universities affirm the ‘increasingly important’ role of Open Source,” while only 48% of respondents from community colleges agreed. The 2005 report[23] included similar numbers. The 2006 report stated, “Not surprisingly, the overall Open Source tool deployment numbers are highest in research universities (56.1 in public universities; 49.0 percent in private universities) and lowest in community colleges (26.6 percent)”[24]. My assessment of this would be that public institutions, and particularly 4-year research institutions, simply have the resources to not only deploy and manage open source software, but also contribute to its development. This was particularly important in the early days of open source software within education as many of the support and service providers available today had not yet entered the market. The 2007[25] and 2008[26] reports, using open source learning management systems as a metric, clearly indicated that private, four-year colleges had the greatest adoption.

Looking at the Apereo Foundation’s membership today[27], the majority do appear to be the R1 institutions. However this may not provide an accurate picture as those working with Apereo (and joining as members) most likely do so because they are actively contributing to open source projects. Smaller institutions and/or community colleges, may indeed be using a significant number of open source tools “off the shelf” but are simply not developing/contributing code back to the project, and thus are not part of a community like Apereo that can be indexed.

Question 6: What regions of the world have been the most progressive in adopting open source software solutions?

Patrick Masson: I think this is a difficult question to answer, for several reasons. First, because open source software is freely available, there are not any sales numbers to reference that can measure deployments. Secondly, what constitutes “adoption”? Are only those systems supported by the campus IT department to be considered? What about the academic department or research lab with internal staff running an open source web server, learning management system or data analytics suite? Third, with the scope and proliferation of open source software now available to educational institutions, I’m not sure how one could inventory a school’s portfolio. That is, how much of a “system” needs to be open source, before one could apply the open source label? Instructure’s Canvas learning management system is a good example. The core technology is open source but most of the modules used by campuses are not. In addition, Instructure provide hosting for almost all of their clients, so the fact that some components of the system are open source might be lost on not only the end-users but the campus’ IT staff. Android phones, VMWare, Cisco, etc. etc. etc. all include open source software, but does deploying a Cisco Nexus 9000 series switch mean that a campus has adopted open source software[28]?

Question 7: Do you see countries with a lower GDP more interested in adopting open source software from the perceived cost savings?

Patrick Masson: I do not have any numbers on this. Those interested in this might want to look at UNESCO for some information

Question 8: What, in your opinion, is the biggest hindrance in preventing the adoption rate from being greater?

Patrick Masson: My direct answer... Institutional, system-wide, and state contracts, procurement rules, and vendor lock-in. In my experience within higher education, and I suspect things are similar in K12, IT administrators primarily serve as procurement and contracts managers charged with overseeing infrastructure, with a significant focus on making sure that the services and systems that the institution relies on today are available tomorrow. This is done by ensuring institutional purchasing and operational policies are followed, negotiating hard with vendors, auditing service level compliance with support providers, managing internal controls, etc.

Especially in the public sector, procurement policies, contracting, operational practices and other administrative duties constrain the latitude of many IT departments, reinforcing traditional procurement practices that favor proprietary software, commercial transactions, and recognized vendors. The same policies that were designed to protect, particularly public institutions, are now hindering the adoption of open source software, and frankly other disruptive and innovative technologies in educational IT. Even private institutions are affected as they too have adopted “best practices” in order to align with norms across the sector and ensure due-diligence in decision-making and purchasing. Of course, such work is important and there obviously should be rules in place to ensure the expenditure of public funds, tuition dollars, etc. is carried out responsibly and in the best interests of the tax payers and students. However, the same practices designed and implemented to facilitate a fair playing field in procurement, now constrains technology development, reduces institutional choice, and creates a dependency on legacy systems. The results, I believe, are actually increased costs to campuses, reduced/constrained technical support for campuses, and ultimately fewer educational opportunities (or even access) for faculty and students.

Institutional, system-wide, and state contracts are often touted by budget conscious officials as a strategy to reduce costs through volume pricing, reduced paperwork, and shared services. I agree, this is true—but if acquisitions are limited to only those companies offering consortium contracting, then institutions are also limited to only the products and services offered by those companies. In many cases, institutions take advantage of consortium contracting to avoid lengthy, people/time consuming, and bureaucratic procurement processes to purchase required systems and/or services, “Oh, they are on state contract, we can just order from them.” In addition, by purchasing off of a system-wide or state contract, the purchasing institution can ensure that their equipment, support and services are in line with others already in place across the system: perhaps an attractive option if one believes a single source is best, or even required, for integration/interoperability. Finally, by purchasing from a “pre-qualified” vendor, local IT administrators also buy a bit of professional (even personal) insurance. After all, these contracts were already negotiated and vetted by state authorities, and offer services and systems deemed of value and appropriate for institutions in the consortia—they are in fact recommended (some times mandated).

However, the use of consortium contracting limits the vision of IT departments as they only look to the list of approved vendors for services and systems. For open source options, this might be OK if you’re looking for well known, and now commonly supported (even industry standard), open source software, e.g. Linux which can be obtained through a “preferred provider,” say, IBM, Red Hat or Oracle. But what about open source software that, while popular and common, do not yet enjoy industry-wide support though multiple well-known (and thus on the state contract) managed service providers, for example Web Content Management Systems Drupal[30], Joomla[31], Plone[32], Wordpress[33], Learning Management Systems ILIAS[34], Moodle[35], Sakai[36], ePortfolios Karuta[37], Mahara[38], etc.? Looking at New York State (where I worked as a higher ed CIO, teach at University at Albany, and sit on my local school board), the Office of General Services’ centralized contracts portal[39], reveals only one contract for an open source content management system (Drupal). The State University of New York contracts search website[40] provides no results for open source content management systems and the only result for an LMS is Blackboard (proprietary), the only result for content management is OmniUpdate (proprietary), and no results for ePortfolios.

At this point, one might say, “well, as open source software does not require a purchase, then a contract isn’t needed. Just go out and install the software.” This is naive as many organizations require specific activities to take place before a new “mission-critical, enterprise” system or service may be implemented to ensure the proper due diligence has been carried out, and risks are mitigated. The metrics used for this review are traditionally managed through a Request for Proposals (RFP)—often simply do not translate for open source software. For example, an institution may require an assessment of a company’s business history (who owns the company, other customers, pending lawsuits, intellectual property, etc.) and financial status (statement of Income and balance sheet or a certified financial statement to ensure financial viability, etc.). Open source projects simply do not have these artifacts to review, and thus may be ruled unqualified by procurement departments and institutional counsel.

The result is a type of self-imposed vendor lock-in. Educational institutions are locked into vendors who are already on consortium contracts—even sometimes called “proffered source”[41]. The services and systems acquired from a single preferred source adds to this lock-in: non-standard or proprietary products that do not integrate with other services require greater investments in the same source. Finally, institutions are held back from offering new or novel educational opportunities as they are now dependent on the development cycle of their single source.

Question 9: How would you describe OSI’s cooperation with Free Software and Software Freedom Conservancy in order to protect freedom oriented communities?

Patrick Masson: I believe the OSI has a strong professional relationship with both FSF and Conservancy. All three organizations are committed to ensuring software freedom, and support that effort in different, yet complimentary ways, with diverse tool-sets, individual campaigns and aligned peer communities. We have worked formally together through the development and promotion of several shared policy and initiatives, for example, “The Importance of Community-oriented GPL Enforcement”[42], “OSI and Conservancy Announce US Tax Exemption Working Group”[43], “FOSS Nonprofits: Judged on their Merits at the IRS?”[44], “Statement of Support: Open Source Licensing and Community Intent”[45], “Testimony to NYC Council Contracts Committee”[46], OSI Board endorses Conservancy campaign and encourages contributions in support”[47], “Comment to FCC on ET Docket No. 15-170”[48], and many more.

In addition, if you look at the leadership across all these organizations you will find many who work across each organization, or support others through memberships, and dedicated activities. The OSI has even held our board meetings at FSF headquarters[49] and you’ll find that (I believe all) of the OSI Board are FSF members (and possibly contributors to Conservancy)—I am.

Question 10: Do you believe that without GPL and proper GPL enforcement by Free Software and Software Freedom Conservancy within the Open Source family of licenses, open source software could be potentially a harmful tool in hands of profit-driven corporations?

Patrick Masson: I’m not sure what you’re asking here. If your question is if the FSF and Conservancy’s work in GPL enforcement is important for the good of open source and free software, then yes. Importantly, the work that both organizations do is far broader (and I would say more impactful) than what many may think of when they hear “enforcement”, i.e. litigation or lawsuits. Karen Sandler, executive director of the Software Freedom Conservancy, gave a very good presentation on GPL enforcement, and specifically the VMware lawsuit[51] at LibrePlanet 2015.

Specific to the OSI, I would quote from our statement, “The Importance of Community-oriented GPL Enforcement”[50], “we [the OSI] applaud these principles set forth by the FSF and Conservancy[52], clearly defining community best practices around GPL enforcement. The vast majority of users, modifiers, and redistributors of free software and open source comply with the licenses of the software they consume... Compliance failures that do occur are frequently honest mistakes, which can be repaired with some gentle guidance and an offer of education. When GPL enforcement (or any free software and open source license enforcement) is done in a way that isn't community-oriented, that action can be actively harmful to freedom-focused communities, and to the relationship of trust between our projects and their individual, organizational, and corporate users. Clearly defining the principles of community-oriented GPL enforcement, and what redistributors can expect if they are contacted by one of these organizations about a potential GPL violation, is an important step of progress in community best practices, and helps make it clear that free software and open source is the safest choice for collaborative software development. ”

I would also highlight that the President of the Open Source Initiative, Allison Randal, participated as a co-author in the drafting of the principles, together with the leadership of FSF and Conservancy.

For me personally, I actually believe the most valuable type of “enforcement” is education. Still today many working with open source software do not actually understand licensing. This is not limited to the GPL. Research in 2013 showed that most of the projects then on GitHub were released under unclear, inconsistent, or nonexistent licensing terms, leaving their legal status as open source software uncertain[53]. It is in these instances that the FSF and Conservancy’s work (as well as the OSI’s) in enforcement—read that as education—is most critical.

In my experience, there is far more danger to the free and open source software movement by “profit-driven corporations” who engage in open-washing and fauxpen source software[54]. The OSI has a long tradition of addressing (enforcing?) issues related to nefarious actors who seek to mislead open source contributors, or misappropriate the open source label and/or ethos. One example is the OSI’s response to Open Core business models, "A simple declaration about 'Open Core'"[55], and, "Why Open Core has a problem and is not a problem"[56].

Question 11: How does OSI interpret LinuxFoundation’s decision to remove an individual member’s right to elect board members?

Patrick Masson: The OSI has not interpreted this, and as an organization the OSI really has no insights as to the motives or rationale around the decision. For full transparency here, the Linux Foundation is both an Affiliate Member of the OSI and a finical contributor, but clearly we are not involved in their internal business practices. We are aware of speculation that this was done to, “specifically to block an individual from being elected”[57], but I would really suggest talking to those directly involved.

As for our own practices, the OSI is managed by a member-elected Board of Directors. The eleven person board is composed of directors elected by OSI Individual Members (5) and Affiliate Members (5). The General Manager of the OSI (that would be me) also serves on the board as a director (ex officio). However, even in our case, the results of elections for both individual and affiliate member board seats are advisory, and the OSI Board makes the formal appointments to open seats based on the community's votes.

Question 12: Except a similar domain name, how much affinity for Open Source and goals does OSI share with OpenSource.com?

Patrick Masson: Well, I cannot presume to know Opensource.com’s or Red Hat’s actual affinity for open source, nor their goals. I suppose we can only judge them by how they are behaving publicly. With this in mind, I’d have to say that the OSI very much enjoys their contributions in fostering awareness and discussion around open source, software and even broader interests in openness, e.g. open education, etc. I would hope their work and the contributions from those involved in a wide ,wide, wide array of projects and communities increases adoption and contribution (BTW, that is our mission, so perhaps we do share an affinity?).

Current and former OSI Board members are frequent authors: in addition to myself[58], Deb Bryant[59], Karl Fogel[60], Richard Fontana[61], Leslie Hawthorn[62], Simon Phipps[63], Josh Simmons[64], Michael Tiemann[65], Italo Vignoli[66], Luis Villa[67], and our Legal Counsel Mark Radcliffe[68] have all contributed. My apologies if I missed someone.

And, eating our own open source dog food—better to join a project than replicate one, while the OSI would love to develop, curate and promote such a resource, we simply do not have the capacity, so their work serves to compliment and extend ours: remember our mission, “to educate about and advocate for the benefits of open source and to build bridges among different constituencies in the open source community.” While the OSI and our individual board members may not agree with all of the articles, ideas, opinions, I think most would agree Opensource.com provides an excellent platform for discovery and discussion.

Question 13: What are the key requirements for joining OSI’s affiliate program?

Patrick Masson: The OSI Affiliate Scheme allows non-profit and not-for-profit organizations to become OSI members. Affiliate membership is an ideal way for open source projects and the communities that support them to support the mission of the OSI and contribute to the continued awareness and adoption of open source software.

The actual requirements are located here[69].

In developing these, the OSI was hoping to develop a bit of a maturity model for open source organizations. The current qualifications can serve as a road map for a new open source project and community, defining the elements needed within the organization that can help lead to successful operations and serve as a foundation for continued growth. We currently accept three types of organizations, non-profits, educational institutions and user groups/communities.

About Patrick Masson

Image aligned to the rightPatrick Masson joined the Open Source Initiative as General Manager in November of 2013 after working in higher education technology for over twenty years: first as a Programmer Analyst at The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), and Director of the UCLA Media Lab, then Chief Information Officer at The State University of New York, College of Technology at Delhi (SUNY Delhi), and most recently, as the Chief Technology Officer for UMassOnline within the University of Massachusetts' Office of the President. Patrick is an Adjunct Professor at the University at Albany, teaching Open Source Principles and Practices within the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences' Department of Informatics.

Patrick has worked to promote the awareness and adoption of open source, particularly within education, throughout his career. He served on the Jasig Foundation's Board of Directors, and is currently on the Apereo Foundation's Advisory Council as well as Brandeis University's Graduate Professional Studies Advisory Board. He is the co-founder and current chair of the Educause Constituency Group on Openness. Patrick was also elected to his local Board of Education in 2014.


[1] http://www.campuscomputing.net/sites/www.campuscomputing.net/files/2006-CCP.pdf
[2] http://arstechnica.com/uncategorized/2006/01/6017-2/
[3] http://www.informationweek.com/open-source-software-use-joins-the-mix/d/d-id/1028137
[4] https://www.blackducksoftware.com/2015-future-of-open-source
[5] https://www.gartner.com/doc/2822619/widespread-use-opensource-software-demands
[6] http://goo.gl/M6kiSI
[7] https://www.apereo.org
[8] https://www.esup-portail.org
[9] http://teachingopensource.org/index.php/Main_Page
[10] http://www.networkworld.com/article/3062660/open-source-tools/6-colleges-turning-out-open-source-talent.html
[11] https://www.rit.edu/news/story.php?id=50590
[12] http://producingoss.com
[13] http://oeru.org
[14] http://usq.edu.au/
[15] http://dvdarbar.ac.in
[16] https://www.indiana.edu
[17] https://www.marist.edu
[18] http://opensummits.org
[19] http://opensummits.org/speakers.html
[20] http://www.educause.edu
[21] https://events.educause.edu/annual-conference/2016/agenda/open-licensing-with-creative-commons-and-the-opensource-initiative
[22] http://www.campuscomputing.net/2004-campus-computing-survey
[23] http://www.campuscomputing.net/2005-campus-computing-survey
[24] http://www.campuscomputing.net/2006-campus-computing-survey
[25] http://www.campuscomputing.net/survey-summary/2007-campus-computing-survey
[26] http://www.campuscomputing.net/survey-summary/2008-campus-computing-survey
[27] https://www.apereo.org/content/apereo-member-organizations
[28] https://github.com/datacenter/nexus9000
[29] http://en.unesco.org/foss
[30] https://www.drupal.org
[31] https://www.joomla.org
[32] https://plone.org
[33] https://wordpress.org
[34] http://www.ilias.de
[35] https://moodle.org
[36] https://www.sakaiproject.org
[37] http://karutaproject.org/
[38] https://mahara.org
[39] https://nyspro.ogs.ny.gov/content/procurement-services-contract-portal
[40] https://www.suny.edu/business/contractsearch/index.cfm
[41] https://nyspro.ogs.ny.gov/content/buying-preferred-source-0
[42] https://opensource.org/node/772
[43] https://opensource.org/node/718
[44] https://opensource.org/node/840
[45] https://opensource.org/node/739
[46] https://opensource.org/node/804
[47] https://opensource.org/node/658
[48] https://opensource.org/node/777
[49] https://twitter.com/OpenSourceOrg/status/724413997227868160
[50] https://opensource.org/node/772
[51] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYSkoHqyz1s
[52] https://sfconservancy.org/copyleft-compliance/principles.html
[53] https://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/04/18/github_licensing_study/
[54] https://opensource.com/business/14/12/openwashing-more-prevalent
[55] https://opensource.org/blog/OpenCore
[56] https://opensource.org/node/537
[57] https://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/01/25/linux_foundation_scraps_individual_membership/
[58] https://opensource.com/users/massonpj
[59] https://opensource.com/users/debbryant
[60] https://opensource.com/users/kfogel
[61] https://opensource.com/users/fontana
[62] https://opensource.com/users/lhawthorn
[63] https://opensource.com/users/simonphipps
[64] https://opensource.com/users/joshsimmons
[65] https://opensource.com/users/michael-tiemann
[66] https://opensource.com/users/italovignoli
[67] https://opensource.com/users/luis
[68] https://opensource.com/users/mradcliffe
[69] https://opensource.org/AffiliateRequirements

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