Josh Simmons

Last modified by Patrick Masson on 2020/04/01 16:09

Josh SimmonsMy name is Josh and I’m running for reelection to OSI’s Board of Directors, because I have a vision for the future of free, libre, and open source software.

The vision is one of broad inclusion and representation, a steadfast commitment to embracing challenging conversations, and an Open Source Initiative that is responsive and bold both today and tomorrow.

In the 4 years I’ve been on the board, I’ve served as CFO, VP, and Chair of the Staffing Committee. I’ve deepened OSI’s relationships with FLOSS foundations around the world, bringing on such Affiliate Members as Software Freedom Conservancy, Linux Australia, TODO Group, and Open Source Community Africa. I’ve represented OSI’s views at summits and meetings, and I’ve worked to build consensus in even the most fractious of times. I personally made OSI’s first financial projections and organizational development plan, and have constantly worked to put OSI on better long term footing. You can read my 2016 and 2018 platforms.

As and when called for, I’ve been conciliatory, stubborn, inquisitive, reassuring, circumspect, skeptical, and open to new ideas… All in the name of creating an organization that is more representative and responsive to the communities it serves.

But my work isn't done. I want to be the last volunteer President the Open Source Initiative ever needs.

Please register as an Individual Member by March 2nd in order to be eligible to vote in the election. Membership is $40/year, free for students, and discounted for anyone who can't afford the standard price: join OSI today.

Why should you vote for me?

I have a track record of doing what’s right and making the institutions I belong to more responsive to the community. And if I am reelected, I will be the most senior community-elected director on the board.

I will be a steady hand and strong voice for open source. I will see through the organizational development plan, the hiring of an Executive Director, the hand over from a President-lead to Chair-facilitated board, and the transition of the OSI from being volunteer-driven to volunteer-supervised.

If you believe, like I do, we need a stronger and bolder OSI, then you should vote for me. If you believe in my ability to muddle my way to True North, then you should vote for me.

Who am I?

I’m a web developer and community organizer by trade. A queer man and an outdoorsman. A concert goer and cat dad. Freelancer, small business owner, nonprofit advisor, community manager, and open source strategist, previously of O’Reilly and Google, presently at Salesforce.

I stand up for what I believe in, and I’m an eager recipient of criticism. I build bridges into software freedom and corporate open source, across cultural divides, and convene all manner of stakeholders around shared interests.


If I’m reelected, I’ll be the most senior community-elected member of the OSI board. As a person with working relationships in nonprofits and for-profits, with activists and the establishment, I can lead us through difficult times with a steady hand and moral clarity.

These are the core components of my platform:

  • Be the last President of the OSI. Two years ago I drafted OSI’s first organizational development plan, carrying forward the work of earlier directors to build a nonprofit that’s volunteer-supervised but staff-driven. I will oversee the implementation of this plan, the transition from a President-lead to a Chair-facilitated board, and the hiring of an Executive Director.
  • Increase organizational capacity. For many years the board has slowly advanced toward staffing the organization, with the aim of having a working staff and supervisory board, rather than a working board which isn't always able to rise quickly to the challenges the world presents. Our organizational development plan goes beyond just hiring an ED, it also looks to bring on program managers and analysts who are subject matter experts.
  • Create institutional knowledge. So many of the challenges we face are cyclical and are symptoms of a failure to codify the "what" and "why" when critical decisions are made. I am committed to seeing our history explored, documented, and using these guiding principles to help us navigate the conversations of the present and future.
  • Mentor the next generation of leaders. Often people discover OSI only after having spent many years working in open source, and they feel taken aback by the existence of an organization that considers itself an authority on open source. I was one of these people. I want to actively reach out to communities open source has failed to onboard and enculturate, invite them in to the fold, and encourage them to make this world their own.
  • Expand access. I have built strong relationships with people from all walks of life and all over the globe, with a special emphasis on paying attention to women, gender nonconforming people, indigenous people, people of color, and people with disabilities. Not only do I advocate for intersectionality, mentorship, financial assistance programs, and listen more than I speak, I also mentor, donate, and amplify the work of people unlike me.
  • Embrace designers, technical writers, community managers and other contributors. We will never realize the promise of software freedom if the software we create requires advanced technical skills just to install it, if it is functionally inferior to proprietary software, or if the only people who know about the software exist in our echo chamber. I am committed to creating onramps into open source for people of all skills, because we need them.

Vote for me because I have the skills, the idealism, the track record, and, critically, the experience on OSI's board.


Josh SimmonsHello world! You can find me at, on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and as bluesomewhere on Freenode. Email works too: [email protected].