Proposal for OSI Memberhip Structure (coar)

The proposal below was made to the membership-discuss
mailing list on
9 May 2006.
Discussion on the list followed
(view thread).

1. Membership.

I propose three types of membership:

  1. ‘Interested party’ affiliation:
    • No dues.
    • No approval necessary.
    • Permission to use a (to be designed) ‘I support Open Source’
    • No ability to vote.
    • No special mailing list access.
  2. Contributing membership:
    • Annual dues TBD (~US$20 maybe, adjusted regionally).
    • Requires approval by membership.
    • Permission to use a (to be designed) ‘OSI Member’
    • Binding franchise for contributing membership, officer, and
      corporate membership votes.
    • Subscription to a private OSI-only list.
    • Access to all OSI mailing lists save those which are
      specifically confidential.
  3. Corporate membership.
    • Annual dues TBD (~US$5’000 maybe).
    • Requires approval by board. (Ratification by membership?)
    • Permission to use a (to be designed) ‘OSI Corporate Sponsor’
    • Non-binding advisory vote on admission of other corporate
    • No special mailing list access.

Annual meetings of contributing membership, called the Assembly,
to vote on new members, board elections, other things requiring
membership ratification. Combined physical and online participation
(such as IRC) may be problematic; streaming of physical activity
combined with some means for remote feedback maybe. More
frequent meetings possible (such as at conferences), but not
counted as ‘annual’ meetings where board is elected, etc.


  • Anyone should be able to ‘raise a hand’ and signify that they
    support OSI.
  • To have a say in what OSI does requires some sort of commitment.
    The ‘approval’ process is an attempted governor on being subverted
    by mass enlistments from any specific source. (Apache has this.)
    Scalability is problematic; a ‘web of trust’ mechanism may well
    be needed to supplement personal acquaintance.
  • Corporate membership is essentially buying a logo and the ability
    to advise OSI about business-scope behaviour of other corporate
    applicants, info that may not be otherwise available to OSI.

2. Regional representation.

  1. ‘College of Representatives’:

    Composed of one or more representatives from geographic,
    ethnic, or political regions. Fellows act as bi-directional
    conduits, providing dissemination of OSI information into
    their regions (potentially including translation) and act as
    points of contact with OSI for interests in their regions.

    1. Responsible for coordination of regional ‘OSI user groups.’
    2. Fellowship includes contributing membership gratis whilst
    3. Permission to use ‘OSI regional fellow’ graphic.
    4. Subscription to OSI-private ‘college strategy’ mailing list.
    5. Fellows appointed by board, ratified annually by members,
      may be proposed by members, and serve at the pleasure of
      the board.

    Obviously the terms (‘fellows,’ ‘college,’ ‘assembly’) are just
    working ones; please don’t get hung up on the words rather
    than what they’re representing. 🙂