On behalf of the board of directors, I am pleased to share the news that we have opened our first management position at the Open Source Initiative. Our search begins now and we expect to bring on board a new General Manager this summer.
This "first" for OSI underscores our commitment to our mission as well as strengthening our move to a membership-driven organization.
OSI General Manager is a full time, permanent position, reporting to the Board of Directors. We are seeking an individual with strong communications skills and experience in organizational planning, budgeting, fundraising, public outreach and events, contract management and governance support.
If you or someone who know are interested, please see our full job posting for more detail.
One of OSI's main activities at present is to switch governance to become a member-based organization. Towards that goal, earlier this year we held an Affiliate election, and we are now announcing our first Individual Members Election.
This is an important step towards fully empowering OSI's membership, and we expect this to be just the first election that will gradually replace all Board members with elected candidates from our Affiliates and Individual Members. Assuming all current Directors serve out their maximum terms, the Board will be fully member-elected by 2016.
This election is open to all individual members of the OSI, both as candidates and as voters. Any individual member can nominate themselves as a candidate, and when the election itself starts, all individual members will get an email explaining the voting process.
Nominations are now open. If you are an individual member, and would like to nominate yourself, please follow the election guidelines. You have until July 5th to self-nominate as a candidate for the election.
If you are an individual member and would like to vote on this election, just pay attention for the voting emails that will be sent on July 8. It will allow you to vote on the election, through our voting system.
Becoming a member
And if you are not an individual member yet, please consider registering for individual membership. Your participation is fundamental to make the OSI more community oriented and to better represent your interests. You can join in as a member now and still vote or become a candidate on this election as long as you join before nominations close.
The new OSI Board met in Washington DC last week. We held an effective face-to-face meeting where we discussed the progress of our plans to transform OSI into a member-based organisation. We held officer elections, once again electing Martin Michlmayr as Secretary, filling the vacancy for CFO left by Alolita Sharma by electing Karl Fogel and replacing him as Assistant Treasurer by electing Mike Milinkovich. I was re-elected as President and thank the Board for that vote of confidence in this time of change.
Among much other business, we considered how to fill the Board vacancy we have reserved for an OSI Individual Member and how to structure the Board going forward. We decided we will hold an election in June where any Individual Member may stand for election and vote for their preferred candidate. Details will be sent to members soon; now is a great time to join OSI if you want to be involved in the election.
We also decided to change the bylaws so that the seats on the Board are now allocated for election either by Affiliates or Individual Members when they fall vacant. Seats elected by Affiliates will have three-year terms; seats elected by Individual Members will have one-year terms. We will retain a term limit of six consecutive years. The transformation to a fully elected Board will be completed by 2016.
Concerning support of OSI by companies, we heard that there are many businesses that want to support OSI financially, but that none of those approached so far has felt they want to be involved in OSI's governance. We therefore decided we will no longer aim to have any Directors elected by corporate members, and will convert our outreach to businesses into sponsorship instead. We'll post details of how your company can sponsor OSI soon - of course, donations are welcome at any time and we are grateful to the companies which have already decided to support us.
Probably the largest development we discussed was staffing. The role of the Board to this point has been to serve as a pool of volunteers to directly deliver OSI's mission. As such, we have been limited in our activity by the free time of the volunteer Board. The future we envisage is one where our members can bring their vision for OSI, devise new resources and activities and have the Board deploy and sustain what they create. To deliver this and other member services, we have decided to recruit a General Manager for OSI. We have formed a staffing committee to formalise the job description we've agreed and we will publish the vacancy soon.
We also held two successful OSI events in DC; a report on those will follow.
OSI Board of Directors 2013-14
Back row: Bruno Souza, Karl Fogel, Luis Villa, Mike Millinkovich, Tony Wasserman, Martin Michlmayr
Front row: Jim Jagielski, Simon Phipps, Deb Bryant
Not shown: Harshad Gune
There is one vacancy at present, to be filled in June by election.
One of the ways we're turning OSI into a member organisation is to gradually replace the Board with member-selected directors. This process started last year when OSI's Affiliate members -- non-profit organizations themselves -- selected candidates for the Board. This year, two directors have left the Board; Fabio Kon, whose education initiatives for OSI have been held in high regard, and Alolita Sharma, who has been an OSI director for many years and in multiple roles but most recently served as OSI's Treasurer. The Board thanks them both warmly for their service to OSI and to open source.
The vacancies they left were allocated to our two member categories. The Affiliates selected Bruno Souza of Brazil as their candidate and the Board duly appointed Bruno as a director of OSI yesterday - welcome! The Affiliates have now selected three of OSI's eleven directors. The second vacancy will be filled via an election by the Individual members of OSI later this quarter -- details to follow.
The Board -- including Bruno Souza -- will meet in Washington DC next week to select its officers for 2013-14 and to plan the next steps in OSI's transformation. If you would like to meet them, please come to OSI's DC Metro Open Source Community Summit on May 10.
Software Freedom Conservancy have announced a fundraising campaign for an Open Source non-profit accounting system. The campaign seeks to raise $75,000 to fund a full-time developer for one year to first reevaluate existing solutions for their viability as a non-profit accounting system, and then improve and augment the best available system to create a new solution that will help non-profits around the world manage their finances better.
To keep their books and produce annual government filings, most non-profit organizations (NPOs) rely on proprietary software, paying exorbitant licensing fees. This is fundamentally at cross purposes with their underlying missions of charity, equality, democracy, and sharing. Conservancy, as a non-profit charity dedicated to the advancement and improvement of Open Source and Free Software, seeks to address this problem.
This project has the potential to save the non-profit sector millions in licensing fees every year. Even NPOs that continue to use proprietary accounting software will benefit from the competition it creates in the market. But, more powerfully, this project's realization will increase the agility and collaborative potential for the non-profit sector — a boon to funders, boards, and employees — bringing software freedom related and general NPO communities into closer collaboration and understanding.
The OSI Board endorses this campaign and encourages contributions to support it.