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A Look Back At 10 Years of OSI 73

Posted by kdawson
from the against-crises-of-succession dept.
blackbearnh notes that this week marks the 10th anniversary of the Open Source Initiative. He points us to O'Reilly's ONLamp site, where Federico Biancuzzi (who frequently interviews notables in the Open Source community for O'Reilly) has a collection of interviews with some of the founders of the OSI, including Bruce Perens and Eric Raymond. "Eric Raymond: There is a pattern that one sees over and over again in failed political and religious reform movements. A charismatic founder launches the movement, attracts followers, and enjoys significant successes; then he dies or leaves or attempts to name a successor, and the movement disintegrates rapidly. One of the classic, much-studied cases is that of John Humphrey Noyes and the Oneida Community, 1848-1881. It was especially clear in that case that its succession crisis and eventual collapse was due to over-reliance on Noyes's personal leadership. At the time I co-founded OSI in 1998 I judged that FSF would very likely undergo a similar crackup if it lost RMS, and was determined to avoid that if possible for OSI."
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A Look Back At 10 Years of OSI

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  • by kneecap (4947) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @05:04PM (#22398314)
    Isn't OSI, the network layer model everyone had too learn in their networking class?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jez9999 (618189)
      Physical, Data link, Network, Transport, Session, Presentation, Application.
      • by xaxa (988988) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @05:32PM (#22398772)
        Someone I know went for a job interview with (I think) Vodafone. Their open-plan office was set out according to the OSI model -- physical layer people at the end, application people at the other end, and everyone in order in between!
        • by mikael (484)
          That would make sense - the function calls in each layer are only suppposed to talk to the layers directly above and below.

          You can tell when you are in a network protocol department when there are posters of the protocol layers all over the place, RFC's pinned to the walls and somebody has written APSTNDP along the side of a door.

      • by MstrBlstr (137888)
        Please Do Not Throw Sausage Pizza Away
        Much easier to remember that way.
    • by justinlindh (1016121) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @06:05PM (#22399274)
      You've got this all wrong. The OSI is basically an offshoot of the FSF as created by RMS, FFS. OSI and FSF did pull together in support of GNU against SCO. OTOH, the OSI you mention was created by ISO along with ITU-T, included FTAM and CNLP, and pissed off the IETF and TCP/IP replaced it (though SONET still uses TARP (which uses IS-IS and CNLP)).

      I'm glad we had this talk.
    • Yep you have described it exactly - Open Systems Interconnection, facetiously used as a way of padding out courses on Networking.

      Although curiously in my case, many years ago I did actually meet the elusive and shy beast when I worked on an comprehensive email suite that used X.400 transport and X.500 Directory Services. We were up against competition like CC:Mail and I thought we had a good product. Sadly it died a whimpering death when the top marketroids decided not to push it out to the customers.

      Ne
    • I must admit that a discussion of the OSI network model seen as a "political or religious movement" intrigued me (yes, I also had the christmas tree book in networking class), until I realized they were talking about the open source initiative.

    • by angus_rg (1063280)
      Had to learn? If people had to learn it, 90% of my arguments over the last decade would not have happened.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kellyb9 (954229)

      Isn't OSI, the network layer model everyone had too learn in their networking class?
      I prefer the TCP model.
  • Irony? (Score:5, Funny)

    by CSMatt (1175471) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @05:16PM (#22398538)

    At the time I co-founded OSI in 1998 I judged that FSF would very likely undergo a similar crackup if it lost RMS, and was determined to avoid that if possible for OSI.
    How ironic that the person who said this is no longer associated with the OSI.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      I find it more ironic that he feared the failure of FSF if it lost its greatest liability. As much as I can see RMS's points, and as much as I know that he's a decent programmer, he's gone out of his way to look like he's a crackpot. If RMS had been my first introduction to free software, I would have run the other way.
      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by _merlin (160982)
        How is that a troll? RMS may have some good ideas, and without him the FSF wouldn't exist. You could also argue that he's been a major driving force behind "free" software. But the way he presents himself is likely to make a lot of people think he's a looney. I saw him giving a presentation in Melbourne where he held an old twelve-inch hard disk platter above his head as a halo and declared that he was "Saint iGNUtius of the Divine Church of EMACS". That kind of thing makes him a liability. Geeks migh
        • Oh come on (Score:5, Informative)

          by Bruce Perens (3872) * <bruce@perens.com> on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @11:13PM (#22401980) Homepage Journal
          I have seen Richard do the St. iGNUtius thing many times, whenever we're both on the speaking program of a conference. It's always very clear that the audience realizes it's a joke. There's nobody in the audience not getting it and going Doh! I'm scared by this guy even if they've never seen him before.

          I don't know if you are that humor-impaired, but I think you're wrong to expect that other folks would be.

          Bruce

          • by _merlin (160982)
            I know it's a joke, but IMHO it's a very lame joke. It was the kind of thing I was expecting from him, though. In fact, the humour comes almost entirely from the fact that it's RMS doing it, and we it's the kind of thing we'd expect from him. But I'm a geek; I'm reading Slashdot after all. I wouldn't expect a person who isn't a geek or involved in the "free" software scene to appreciate the humour at all. In fact, I would say that people who think it's very funny are the ones that are "humour-impaired"
          • I am sure you read the legendary Forbes article:
            http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2006/1030/104_print.html [forbes.com]

            To my generation (early 20s) RMS comes across as an egotistical control freak. I grew up with free software (largely thanks to him, I'm sure), but I don't know of any actual contributions he has made to free software in recent history. Instead, he ridicules people who don't associate his name with their own open source software (GNU/Linux is a joke), and acts like a fool because he thinks he can ride on th
            • My audience is very adamant that I not feed the trolls, and thus I will leave this piece to steam on the grass by itself.
              • Haha, probably for the better :-) There is not really much in my post that can really be replied to. Anyway, I have the upper hand here since I knew all your views pretty well to begin with.

                I'm sure you hear this stuff all the time, but I just wanted to re enforce that there are sane people out there who fight for free software, and disagree with the methods of RMS. Thanks for reading :-)
                • Haha, probably for the better :-) There is not really much in my post that can really be replied to. Anyway, I have the upper hand here since I knew all your views pretty well to begin with.

                  Yeah, a link to goatse.cx would probably have been more informative. You post such a link. You propagate such vitriolic shit. Certainly don't expect a detailed response. And that's coming from someone who mostly agrees with you about Eric Raymond's beliefs, so if you've lost people like me -- someone who thinks a lot li

            • by einhverfr (238914)
              Unlike bperens, I don't mind responding to trolls when appropriate. However, I do concurr with his opinion as to the general nature of your post.

              Be that as it may, I *do* agree with you on your assessment of RMS as an egotistical control freak. For people who think I am just being harsh, please consider:
              1) Go and *read* the discussions between RMS and the participants on debian-legal relating to whether the FSF GFDL is Free enough for Debian.
              2) Read Thomas Bushnell's resignation letter from the HURD pro
            • by opus (543) *
              I do not publish code under the GPL.

              So you're commenting as an outsider then. You don't pick someone else's leader.

              information will be free... when corporations... RMS can't code...

              Oh, to be 20 years old with no accomplishments again.

          • To quote my wife (who's not involved in the programming or political scene):

            He definitely doesn't look like someone who should be influential in any sane community

            As embarrassed as she is by the fact that she actually said "community", the fact remains that he doesn't have a clean, respectable appearance. He's a smart man with a lot of good ideas (many I don't agree with, but good nonetheless). In a perfect world he'd be judged by these things, but instead he's being judged by the fact that he looks like he's going to ask you for spare change. Add to this the fact that he says that all softw

            • Same troll as before, different ID. Note how the times co-incide on each of them.
            • by einhverfr (238914)
              Sure that may be a troll, but I want to add some legitimate discourse here before that is lost :-)

              I think that we as a community need to be very careful as to the sort of credit we give RMS. Legitimately he has:
              1) Started the dialog about software freedom as analogous to free speach. He hasn't upheld very high standards of either (sacking Thomas Bushnell from HURD because he objected to the forced advocacy provisions in GNU documentation is a good example) but he has started the discussion and we would n
        • by epine (68316)

          Geeks might think it's funny, but if someone who didn't know about the FSF and RMS walked in, they'd just think, "Who is this tosser?"

          I was thinking about this aspect of human nature at my favorite coffee shop yesterday. The curious aspect of this is our ingrained tendency to admire (or mentally confer social status toward) the kind of person who takes one look at something like this, and makes the snap "loser" judgment. There is in practice no social approbation for the fact that this snap social judgment might be wrong, or that making this snap social judgment is a talentless act (the average nine year old does it six times before re

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Hatta (162192)
      That's not irony, that's revisionist history. ESR's always talked big, and even when he shoots himself in the foot, he finds a way to spin it in his favor.
      • by pimpimpim (811140)
        Not only his favor, he we also find a way to have that support the right to carry firearms. In the purely hypothetical case of this leading to ESR shooting himself in the foot, I actually might agree.
    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by rebootconrad (836537)
      I don't think it counts as irony when the statement is the actual point of the story, i.e., that had OSI been like FSF and dependent on a single person, his leaving would have disintegrated it. Nice whoring though :)
    • Re:Irony? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Bruce Perens (3872) * <bruce@perens.com> on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @07:22PM (#22400196) Homepage Journal
      It's an overstatement to say he's no longer associated with OSI. He's listed on their site as an advisor and board observer.
    • by Sloppy (14984)
      Oh no! He's not with those guys [geekz.co.uk] anymore?
    • by yankpop (931224)

      That's not irony. I think you missed his point. RMS remains a charismatic figurehead of an important organisation, and ESR is not. Lest we think this is due to any failing on the part of ESR, he informs us that he chose to remain out of the spotlight, in order to serve the greater good. Opinions will differ as to whether this is more self-serving revisionism, or if he really did exercise that kind of foresight.

      yp

      • So, what do you think would happen to FSF if RMS died? FSF has a full time director, a (small) board of directors, Eben Moglen as general counsel, some good leaders on the periphery like Brad Kuhn and Daniel Ravicher. We'd be sad, but it wouldn't end FSF.
        • I'd imagine FSF without RMS would be like FSF Europe. I know nothing about FSF Europe apart from the fact that it exists, despite being a FSF associate member and European.

          To me, RMS is the FSF.
          • by Alphager (957739)

            I'd imagine FSF without RMS would be like FSF Europe. I know nothing about FSF Europe apart from the fact that it exists, despite being a FSF associate member and European.

            To me, RMS is the FSF.

            That's exactly my fear.
            I am a member of the Fellowship of the FSFE and get their bi-annual letter and all of their press-releases, but that isn't really much.

            RMS is a great leader, but he really shines as a spokesperson: he is easily recognized and creates awareness. No matter who you speak to: they all have an opinion about him.

        • by yankpop (931224)

          We'd be sad, but it wouldn't end FSF.

          Agreed. All I'm saying is that ESR's version of the story seems to suggest that the only reason he's not as highly regarded as RMS is because he chose not to be, and not because he isn't really bringing anything to the table.

          RMS continues to present a considered, consistent and insightful perspective on issues related to Free Software. You may or may not agree with what he says, but he says it well and is a good spokesperson for the FSF. On the other hand, while ES

      • by chromatic (9471)

        Lest we think this is due to any failing on the part of ESR, he informs us that he chose to remain out of the spotlight, in order to serve the greater good.

        Imagine if he'd actually sought the spotlight.

  • Oneida Community. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Oneida Community [wikipedia.org] Wikipedia refrence.

    It's not off topic, it's referenced in the summary.

  • I read that article a couple days ago. I like how ESR kinda makes himself out to be some sort of puppetmaster, pulling strings and performing delicate feats of social engineering to singlehandedly bring about the current state of affairs.
    • by QuantumG (50515)
      Yes, the guy is a weirdo.. but so are a lot of people I respect. He rubbed me the wrong way about a decade ago and I wrote the guy off, but after reading this [catb.org] I came to see that I was just being too damn harsh. Which led me to write this [insomnia.org]. I try to be more tolerate these days, but I tell ya, posting on Slashdot really doesn't help in that department.
  • by Blaede (266638) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @05:51PM (#22399072)
    Once Steve Austin and Oscar Goldman left the Office of Scientific Intelligence (OSI), it was all downhill from there. Shit, even the Bionic Dog would have been a better leader than the current hacks running this death ship.
  • Surely if there was demand for the Hurd, it would be available now. With a port of Duke Neukem Forever.
  • my interest got more piqued on this Oneida Community,....
  • by yankpop (931224) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @08:45PM (#22400994)

    I'm glad that ESR sees at least one of his goals as being to reduce the amount of political crap flying around in the community

    After he'd already equated Free Software with moralizing and conducting ideological warfare, you could be forgiven for thinking he was more interested in spreading bullshit that containing it.

    yp.

  • He thinks the OSI has been successful? The lack of comments to this story alone shows just how irrelevant OSI is today. Although let's be honest; all Eric Raymond ever cared about was money [slashdot.org], the OSI was just a means of accomplishing that goal.
    • by _merlin (160982)

      all Eric Raymond ever cared about was money

      and guns

      • all Eric Raymond ever cared about was money

        and guns

        True that - and the thought of that guy with a gun is the only reason I'd ever need to support gun control.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Russ Nelson (33911)
      I used to care what people said in slashdot comments. Now, what isn't trolling is just plain stupid.
  • One of the classic, much-studied cases is that of John Humphrey Noyes and the Oneida Community, 1848-1881.

    Ah... yes. The ol' Noyes/Oneida example from the shopworn canon of 19th-century personality cult case-studies. Is it even necessary to reference this classic, much-studied case by name? Is its relevance not simply assumed by all whenever the discussion turns to leadership and succession? Excuse me a moment [puff] [puff] while I take a drag [puff] [puff] off my calabash pipe and then savor the heady ar

  • Look at Scientology. Hubbard is dead, but the organization keeps rolling on. It might be around in a century, positioned somewhat like Christian Science. Even the Rosicrucians [rosicrucian.org] keep plugging along.

    It helps if the cult owns real estate. Christian Science, the Rosicrucians, and Scientology all invested heavily in prime real estate during the founder's lifetime. (When in San Jose, visit Rosicrucian Park, a city block of pseudo-Egyptian buildings surrounded by a residential neighborhood.)

    The FSF needs a

    • by QuantumG (50515)
      invest in *.

      The FSF isn't a money making machine.. so there isn't much chance of that.

      The SFLC [softwarefreedom.org] on the other hand...
    • by X3J11 (791922)

      Hubbard's death had little impact upon the "Church" because, by the end of his life, Hubbard wasn't really running the show anymore. If what I've read is to be believed, Hubbard was a drug addled fool sailing about aimlessly, while the more lucid, higher standing members of the "religion" kept the ball rolling (and the money rolling in).

      In other words, Hubbard had a successor, whether he liked it (or was even aware of it) or not.

      /me claps his hands, laughs like a maniac, and makes a strange pshewwwwww s [gawker.com]

  • Am I the only one who said "Wait a minute, that band hasn't been around 10 years?" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OSI_(band) [wikipedia.org]
  • I ranted about this last week, and while some thought it was interesting some thought I was trolling.

    The "Open Source Movement" or "Open Source Initiative" as, I guess they like to call themselves are just harming the free software movement.

    First, I have to vent this: OSI is the Open Systems Interconnection, or basis for the OSI Model. Do the "Open Source" guys have to add confusion to this as well?

    I'm going to say this again, but I will preface it with I believe that their intentions are probably sincere,

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