Open Source Initiative

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The Open Source Initiative (OSI) is an organization dedicated to promoting open source software.

The organization was founded in February 1998, by Bruce Perens and Eric S. Raymond, prompted by Netscape Communications Corporation publishing the source code for its flagship Netscape Communicator product. Later, in August 1998 the organization added a board of directors.

Raymond was president from its founding until February 2005. The current president is Michael Tiemann.

Contents

Relations with the free software movement

Although born from the same history of Unix, Internet free software, and the hacker culture as the free software movement launched by Richard Stallman and his Free Software Foundation, the Open Source Initiative was formed and chose the term open source, in Michael Tiemann's words, to "dump the moralizing and confrontational attitude that had been associated with 'free software' in the past and sell the idea strictly on the same pragmatic, business-case grounds that had motivated Netscape."[1]

Stallman counter-charges that OSI's pragmatic focus on a model for software development and marketing ignores what he considers to be the central "ethical imperative" and the focus on "freedom" that underlies free software, as he defines it, and blurs the distinction with semi-free or wholly proprietary software.[2] To Stallman, the important, fundamental difference is philosophical. Nevertheless, he describes his free software movement and the Open Source Initiative as separate camps within the same free software community. According to Stallman, "We disagree with the open source camp on the basic goals and values, but their views and ours lead in many cases to the same practical behavior—such as developing free software. As a result, people from the free software movement and the open source camp often work together on practical projects such as software development."[2]

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