I was reading The Economist on my flight home from London today, and came across this paragraph in an article that resonated with me, because it reminds me of the various non-profit "lobbies" within the open source software movement.
Too many Brussels think-tanks accept large chunks of their funding from EU institutions and national governments. Others depend on big corporate sponsors, so that the lines between research and lobbying becomes queasily blurred....Nobody seems able to change the default formula for Brussels policy seminars: good coffee and croissants, dull speeches and a brief exchange of conventional wisdom. The painful comparison is with Washington, DC, where the best think-tanks refuse public money, compete to set the agenda with provocative ideas, and enjoy extraordinary access to administration and Congress alike. (June 9, 2007. 45) Open source software has the OSI
, the Free Software Foundation, the Software Freedom Law Center, he Linux Foundation, various conferences (OSCON, OSBC, LinuxWorld, etc.), and various other overtly open source or friendly-to-open source organizations. How effective they are in promoting open source is, to my mind, directly proportionate to their independence.
I thought it was a net negative to see the Free Standards Group merge with OSDL. FSG was a "bottoms-up" organization, despite its corporate funding. OSDL was never more than an attempt to rein in Red Hat. I think very highly of Jim Zemlin, and think he bleeds more FSG (his original home) than OSDL, and believe he can do much good. But he has his work cut out for him to ensure the community's voice is heard in the Linux Foundation.… Read more