Last modified by LuisVilla on 2020/03/03 05:29



I am Mario. I am standing for the election of the OSI board 2020. Please read about my motivation, background and agenda below. The above photo was taken at a Hackerspace Singapore social gathering after the FOSSASIA Summit 2019, which I co-organize since 2009. I am the blond guy in the red shirt on the right-hand side of the image.

You can also find me on the following platforms:
Twitter | GitHub | Gitlab | Linkedin

Thank you for considering me on the board!

My Motivation

For many years I am working on Open Source Software and Open Hardware projects. In 1989 when the wall came down I was still in high school in East Berlin. Collaborating on building something good together with people from all over the world was always a far away dream. After the fall of the wall and the spreading of the Internet this became suddenly possible. When I first learnt about Open Source I was immediately amazed about how so many people with different backgrounds, views and cultures work together in the Open Source community solving all kinds of problems.

Values like freedom, sharing and openness inspired me to participate in the FOSS community throughout my life and today it is more than ever important to work together to save the planet.

Open Technologies are sustainable in so many ways. We can collaborate freely to develop something amazing with people from around the world. Freely licensed work is sustainable. Even if a company or developer discontinues a project, others are able to continue the work.

I have had a strong interest in Open Hardware for a long time too and I was thrilled when friends asked me to work with them on the Pocket Science Lab and other projects years ago. I have learnt a lot in the process from idea to production and I am happy to often having the opportunity to share this experience at events. My next goal is to make Open Hardware consumer products become a reality. Last year we joined up in the Open Next project with nineteen diverse partners working on it.

At Fosdem I recently talked about the opportunities we have to bring sustainability to a whole new level with Open Hardware and Continuous Integration tools. Imagine we could make local production work supporting local businesses. We could start with producing any kinds of electronics locally and in future we could even just send schematics for really big machines, cars, air planes, space rockets around the world instead of shipping them. Reducing shipments and producing locally would be a fantastic way to reduce emissions (and it could be another step towards the Replicator). A hard problem to come by is also the recycling of hardware. Today we use pick and place machines to assemble electronics. Why can’t we have disassembly machines using freely OSI compatible licensed schematics too? 

To achieve the goal of a sustainable world with FOSS we need to work together with people, enterprises, governments, NGOs everywhere. OSI is in a great position here to help in this process and facilitate it. OSI can also be a bridge to government organizations and advise them on licenses and policies in regards to Open Source - software and hardware. To make this a success at OSI:

  • We need to continue our work to review Open Source licenses, while at the same time we should increase our efforts to provide guidance for young developers to choose licenses for new projects and provide information on license compatibility.
  • We need to ensure Open Source compatibility by supporting Libre/Open Standards which would allow local production across different software stacks and hardware machinery.
  • We need to feature success stories of projects that are sustainable in all aspects - ecologically, economically and community-wise and share our best practices.
  • And everyone is welcome! Only by including people from around the world, in each country, city, village can we build a sustainable world. We need a way to collaborate easily without signing NDA’s, having to agree on profit sharing, taking care of paperwork for import/export and all those small things that prevent us from building sustainable solutions. 

The only way I see this can happen is through FOSS/Open Source. As a member of the OSI board I want to work on making this happen and bringing FOSS forward.

My Background

After studying for an International degree in Australia, France, Italy and Germany I worked in educational tech programs. In 2007 I moved to Afghanistan and supported the young Open Source community in Kabul and later on the One Laptop Per Child project in Jalalabad. 

I then set up my base in Singapore and organized business matchmaking events as part of the EU FOSS Bridge program in Asia. In 2009 I co-founded the FOSSASIA community with the idea to create a place where FOSS contributors from around the world can meet with developers from Asia at meetups and events. With the growth of the community I today co-organize OpenTechSummits in Europe, China, Thailand, and Cambodia. In India I organize Jugaad Fests and in Vietnam Science Hack Days in cooperation with the UNESCO.

At events people come together and have ideas and some of those ideas materialize in the form of code. And a lot of code was produced in the companies I founded too. After running a self-hosted Git server for a couple of years, I moved all our projects to a public Git platform under the FOSSASIA organization. And we tried to make it easy to contribute and get started by:

  • Introducing a standard Readme structure in all projects
  • Integrating CI tools
  • Implementing automatic tests
  • Creating standard contribution practices such as one issue = one pull/merge request
  • Setting up project chat channels and dedicated mailing lists
  • Establishing friendly communication guidelines.

The result is truly amazing. We have projects that attract a lot of contributors. A community developed around Pocket Science Lab, Open Event, SUSI.AI, loklak, an Android image editor and many more. To make it easier to collaborate in projects we formulated development best practices. Furthermore, to facilitate the onboarding of young developers we started the annual Codeheat contest.

As a serial entrepreneur I work nearly entirely with Open Source. With my teams I have provided Linux solutions for global postal companies or support leading German automotive companies in releasing their in-house projects as FOSS. We collaborate on the development of Open Hardware and run large scale production.

I am also fascinated by global music. I can sing songs in many languages, in particular I like Bollywood songs, Chinese and Russian hits. Following my interest in architecture I designed and built a seven storey eco-hotel with water solar panels on the roof in Vietnam.

What is my agenda

In my view the OSI should take a more active role to nurture the Open Source/FOSS eco-system and to ensure a sustainable future. My focus as a member of the board will therefore be:

  1. Working with Policy Makers to Establish “Openness” as a Default Model for Sustainable Development: Libre/Open Standardization, open APIs, code that is used in critical public infrastructure and technologies paid by the public should be released as OSI licensed to ensure the functioning of services independently from single vendors. FOSS is also a way to ensure digital sovereignty and to limit negative political influence. Furthermore to solve the world's problems we can’t wait for just a few companies, scientists and politicians. We need publicly funded Open Source development programs and an open framework for International collaboration to achieve the SDGs (Sustainable Development goals) where every single world citizen has the chance to participate. I have been part of policy groups on a EU level and as a member of the OSI board I will collaborate with policy makers to put “Openness” at the heart of future policy frameworks ensuring sustainable development on all levels.
  2. Connecting 'Fridays for Future' with FOSS: Sustainability is finally the huge topic that it should have been for a long time. I remember conversations about climate change and working on solutions the Open Source way already ten years ago. We don’t see a lot of people who are making this connection today, but I believe FOSS is the best way to work on sustainable solutions and we need many to make this connection now very strongly and "paint" a sustainable future with FOSS. As a member of the board I will reach out actively to the 'Fridays for Future' community and facilitate and support connections to the Open Source Tech community in order to initiate collaboration bringing together people to work on solutions.
  3. Representing More Regional Diversity, Individual Contributors, Communities and FOSS-SMEs and Addressing Undesirable Developments because of Corporate Domination: In many community organizations we see that more and more representatives of large corporations are joining the boards, also on the OSI board. We need to stop the domination of our organizations by companies that are only cherry picking from the Open Source "pipeline" and who are not committed 100% to the Open Source collaboration and sharing model. Because of companies taking advantage and not giving back, we have communities that face challenges and developers who have difficulties making ends meet. One result is that projects change or consider to change their license to OSI incompatible ones threatening the sustainability of the Open Source idea. The example of MongoDB is well-known. We cannot afford to lose these contributors and we need people on the OSI board to openly address the behavior of corporations, and in particular cloud providers, towards the Open Source community and the lack of community support. I will address this as an OSI member of the board and I will strengthen the voice of independent developers and FOSS SMEs.
  4. Tackling Legal Contract Restrictions When Companies Do Not Allow Contributions to Open Source: With the success of Open Source the power has shifted in many areas towards large corporations that make use of Open Source in different aspects, but do not allow open collaboration on code. The possibility of collaborating openly is one of the most important aspects of FOSS for me. But there are examples where collaboration is blocked, examples are the Android system or the fact that many contributors are not permitted to contribute to Open Source after joining a company. As a member of the board I will start an exchange process with companies and developers with the goal to receive pledges of companies to implement and support the sustainable development of FOSS projects through open collaboration.
  5. Increasing Visibility and Participation at Events: We need more visibility and connections to local communities to keep the idea of Open Source moving forward. As a member of the board I will participate at more conferences and events to spread awareness of the activities of the organization and connect with FOSS contributors.
  6. Supporting Open Source Onboarding and Contests: Many young developers don’t know yet about the history and best practices in the Open Source community. Contests and onboarding guides
    can be a way to engage them. I want to work with affiliate and corporate members to establish onboarding programs to welcome new contributors in their projects.
  7. Supporting the Creation of Regional Chapters: In order to achieve the goals of OSI and our affiliated Open Source communities we need to be present on a more regional and local level. Regional chapters are a way to achieve this. Therefore as a member of the board I will support the formation of regional Open Source organizations in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America.
  8. Using More Open Source Services: As part of my role I want to support the transition to using more Open Source services within the community and feature them for example on the blog. 


Thank you for reading! You can reach out to me on Twitter via @mariobehling.


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