Justin Colannino, 2020

Last modified by JustinColannino on 2020/03/10 19:20

I’m Justin Colannino. I'm running for the OSI board in order to advance developer understanding of Open Source development and licensing. 

I’m honored to have been nominated by the Software Freedom Conservancy for the Affiliate board seat, and to stand with so many qualified candidates looking to serve. 

About me

I am a lawyer with a decade of experience representing clients at the intersection of Open Source communities and for-profit enterprises.

I began my career at the Software Freedom Law Center, where I represented non-profit developers of Free and Open Source software, including Conservancy in the Busybox litigation. In private practice, I continued giving pro bono advice to the Free Software Foundation and the GNOME foundation. I also provided legal advice to OSI board members on whether certain licenses met the OSD. I currently am an Open Source attorney at Microsoft.

I also currently provide pro bono counsel to Outreachy - a Conservancy member project. A career highlight of mine has been seeing Outreachy's Open Source opportunities open doors and smash ceilings.


My OSI platform has four planks.

  • OSD Conformance & Education. OSI’s core roles continue to be stewardship of and education about the OSD. My legal skillset is well-suited to contribute to both. As a lawyer I always try to simplify the complex. I hope to continue the OSI’s important license review work that prevents “openwashing” in the software ecosystem, and to provide simple resources to increase developer understanding of the OSD and how it leads to better collaboration. 
  • License Categorization. Just because a license is OSD conformant, that license isn't necessary good for our affiliate members to use to build communities. Working with the OSI to refactor our license list to make it more accessible for affiliates and developers to think about their license choices would be a strong step forward for the community.
  • Incubator Projects. OSI’s incubator projects make Open Source accessible to new developers by making Open Source easier to use or easier to understand. I think the OSI should prioritize seeking additional projects that advance Open Source usage and understanding to incubate under the OSI umbrella. My work advising other non-profit umbrella organizations and working with the curation committee on OSI's ClearlyDefined project will provide deep experience to grow OSI as an Incubator for charitable non-profit Open Source activities.
  • New Horizons. Just as Open Source is a great way to produce great software, it also sets out a framework for protecting user rights. OSI should consider adopting and stewarding principles around development of data and ML models that offer similar benefits and rights to developers and users, as it has in the past around standards.


Feel free to reach out to me at justin at unwelcomeguest.org, on GitHub or LinkedIn, or in the comments below with questions.


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