Open Source and Standards Working Group

Last modified by Stefano Maffulli on 2023/02/17 01:52

Description & Mission

Standard setting organizations (SSO) play a critical role in developing, coordinating, promulgating, revising, interpreting, or otherwise producing technical standards that are intended to address the needs of a group of affected adopters. Their work aims to generate the acceptance or proliferation of standards-based technologies, products or services, leading to improved product quality, ensured interoperability of competitors’ products, and a technological baseline for future research and product development. Formal standard setting through standards organizations has numerous benefits for consumers including increased innovation, multiple market participants, reduced production costs, and the efficiency effects of product interchangeability.

Increasingly SSO are engaging with open source communities of practices to design and develop technologies that may impact potential standards or the industries they mean to serve. As SSO begin to work with open source software and communities, misunderstandings and questions regarding open source licensing, principles and practices have emerged, resulting in ambiguity around the definition and scope of open source and related licensing, and thus increasing the risk for conflicts in expectations among practitioners.

The Open Source Initiative has established the Open Standards Requirement for Software (OSR) which sets forth a number of criteria to ensure that specifications can be implemented under open source licenses. The OSR will be used by the working group as a set of guiding principles and best practices. 

The Open Source and Standards Working Group will:

  1. explore current SSO understanding of OSI approved licenses, and more generally, open source software, development, and projects;
  2. educate SSO in current principles and practices widely excepted by open source communities of practice;
  3. support authentic engagement across open source communities (i.e. implementers, contributors, projects, foundations) to ensure alignment with best practices in open source licensing, development and distribution, and;
  4. produce reference resources (educational materials, professional development activities, expert opinions, consulting services, etc.) to address gaps in understanding, support current practices, and increase the recognition of OSI approved licensing and the OSI License Review Process.
  5. Encourage SSOs to request and maintain formal peer relationships with OSI. The Working Group will act as the formal Correspondent.

Alignment to OSI Mission

Education – Provides information and resources for SSOs working with the open source software community: scope of open source licensing; OSI License Review Process; expectations and best practices in open source software development and distribution; principles and practices for projects and organizations purporting to be open source.

Build bridges across communities – Fosters continuity and consistency across organizations working in different industries, countries and technologies.

Promote – Furthers the OSI and its international role as a nexus of trust and authority within open source software development communities.

Protect – Ensures recognition and adoption of OSI Approved Licenses and the freedoms such licenses afford through the Open Source Definition. Addresses ambiguity, mis-perceptions and deceptions that threaten the integrity and reputation of the label "open source" and "open source software", potentially reducing the trust in the OSD and the OSI by the public.


Potential Members

  • Mike Milinkovich
  • Patrick Masson
  • Simon Phipps
  • Current and alumni OSI Board Members
  • OSI Individual and Affiliate Members
  • Representatives of OSI Sponsors

Start Date

Immediately. Annual review of the SSO landscape and activities to assess continued need.


The group will primarily communicate via direct emails among participants. Based on activities, ongoing and emerging issues, as well as developments related to SSOs and their consideration of open source, the group will participate in a variety of conference calls, panel discussions, conferences, meetings, etc.

The group will report back to the OSI Board of Directors each month with information relating to current or recently completed activities, as well as requests for approval for future activities.

An annual report will be provided to the OSI Board of Directors.


The group will need financial support for travel and accommodations to participate in in-person events (meetings, workshops, conferences, etc.) were issues on open source software’s impact on standards and SSOs will be discussed/deliberated. Dedicated support from open source communities will be solicited.

An annual budget of $63,600 is requested (details included below).

  • Six in-person engagements (North America & Europe) by two OSI representatives: $34,800
    • OSI Representation: 2 people/day, $500/day 3 days/event, 6 events: $18,000
    • Travel: 2 people/event, $1000/event, 6/events: $12,000
    • Accommodations: 2 people/event, $200/night 2 nights/event, 6 events: $4,800
  • 10 hours per month of dedicated research and communications: $24,000
    • $200/hr, 10 hours/month, 12 months: $24,000
  • 4 hours administrative time per month: $4,800
    • $50/hr, 8 hours/month, 12 months: $4,800


The Working Group is involved in a variety of activities with multiple organizations. A list of organizations involved and the Working Group's contacts and representatives is available for reference.

Open Source and Standards Working Group Associations

A list of related associations that may be of some interest to this working group and it's activities.


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