February 2021 - Open Source #1

By anniv, 3 February, 2021

In 2018, while the Open Source Initiative was on its 20th Anniversary World Tour, some faux open source licenses started emerging, most notably the Commons Clause and the Server Side Public License. OSI and its partners, with the support from the open source community, were able to successfully organize over 100 activities across 40 events worldwide to celebrate its anniversary and defend the open source definition. At the end of the tour, several OSI affiliates signed the Affirmation of the Open Source Definition.

As we reach 2021, the battle over the open source definition continues. Recently, Elastic published a blog post entitled "Doubling down on open, part II" where it announced the upcoming changes to the popular Elasticsearch and Kibana software to a proprietary license. Nonetheless, the blog post used the word "open" about 40 times, "free" about 30 times, and specifically the term "open source" 20 times. Many members of the open source community quickly called out Elastic's attempt to confuse readers, and the OSI published a public statement condemning Elastic's deceptive wording.

Recently, we also witness the founding of the Organization for Ethical Source (OES), with the goal of ensuring that free software is being used for social good and in service of human rights. The adoption of ethical licenses have stumbled so far, as critics question the enforceability of such licenses, among other issues. One approach that is succeeding is building additional layers on top the Open Source Definition and the Four Freedoms, instead of trying to redefine them. For example, the adoption of the Contributor Covenant code of conduct has been a major success (it was even adopted by the Linux kernel in 2018). It's also worth noting the work being developed by CHAOSS (Community Health Analytics Open Source Software), a Linux Foundation project focused on creating analytics and metrics to help define community health, addressing many of the issues faced by open source communities, including leadership, governance, ethics, sustainability, burnout, diversity, and inclusiveness. Lastly, it's worth recognizing creative approaches like Open Invention Network, which in its 15-year history has successfully created the largest patent non-aggression consortium to support freedom of action in Linux as a key element of open source software (even Microsoft eventually agreed to join, also in 2018).

Open Source Timeline

The Open Source timeline is live at:


Also, be sure to check out the Free Software timeline, as both the open source and free software movements have a shared history:


Open Source Activities

Open Source Books

Open Source Press Coverage

Other Key Anniversaries