The Open Source Initiative believes that the Open Source Definition can and should be applied equally to any license with a bearing on source code. We rely on a process of public debate on the License-Discuss mail list and only consider publicly submitted licenses for possible "OSI-Approved" status. It is not uncommon for organizations wishing to submit a license to contact the board for a conversation. Sometimes this happens before a license is submitted and sometimes it happens after there has been substantial public discussion about a given license. In all cases, the board strives to provide education about the OSD and the uniformity of process we follow.
This year the OSI has focused on expanding awareness of Open Source by more purposefully serving the expanding international open source movement. To that end, we've expanded our board to include 4 members from outside North America. In this process, we realized that the OSI Website is a valuable resource for governments and others worldwide as they explore open source. In order to be a credible resource, we received strong and consistent feedback that focusing on the historical negative actions of a single company, especially a globally prominent company which has strong commercial positioning in every country, was not helpful. Furthermore, it was leading to the false impression that open source was all about muckraking instead of a viable, professional alternative to the traditional proprietary world of software.
We voted unanimously as a board in April 2005 to move historical materials such as Eric Raymond's "the Halloween Documents" and Michael Tiemann's "A Case for Open Source" to the authors' sites for maintenance and to re-focus our efforts on increasing professionalism and credibility for both OSI and for open source worldwide. Re-focusing our efforts towards a positive future has been very successful. This year we've been invited to participate in South America, Asia and Europe at conferences and in private consultations with governments and local businesses that are contemplating open source licensing or policy issues. The OSI Approved brand is increasingly recognized outside the US. This puts OSI in a much better position to serve a growing constituency.
After their announcement this week, Microsoft did meet with a quorum of the OSI Board and we discussed our commitment to equal application of the license approval process and gave them very preliminary feedback on the licenses as they appear on the MSDN website. So far, Microsoft's licenses have not yet been submitted to License-Discuss for public discusion, but OSI is hopeful that they will be.