Open Source Initiative

From P2P Foundation
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Open Source Initiative


Open Source Initiative (OSI) is a non-profit corporation dedicated to managing and promoting the Open Source Definition for the good of the community, specifically through the OSI Certified Open Source Software certification mark and program.


Open Source projects are fundamentally similar to Free Software in that they both forbid any restriction on the free distribution of the software and on the availability of the source code. The following principles are accepted to define an Open Source project:

  • no restriction on the free distribution is allowed (but payment is allowed)
  • the source must be freely available to all at no cost
  • changes must be accepted and distributed
  • the author can request a protected version number
  • no discrimination in usage is allowed, for every activity, including commercial usage
  • the rights attached to any program are for all the users all of the time
  • the license cannot be program specific (to avoid commercial restrictions)
  • the license cannot be applied to other code (such as proprietary additions)
  • the license must be technologically neutral (not restricted to certain devices or operating systems)

Comment from Richard Stallman

"The OSI is not directly involved in specific software projects. All the OSI does is approve licenses as "open source". It has approved some 60 or so licenses, one of which is the GNU GPL. Most of them also qualify as free software licenses, but a fraction do not." (email communication January 2007)

More Information

See also at ; Background on the Open Source definition, by Bruce Perens, at

List of free vs. non-free licenses, with comments of the Free Software Foundation, at