Red Hat exec takes over Open Source Initiative

Group seeking to become more influential in open-source matters sees second change of guard in less than a month.

Stephen Shankland Former Principal Writer
Stephen Shankland worked at CNET from 1998 to 2024 and wrote about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
Expertise Processors | Semiconductors | Web browsers | Quantum computing | Supercomputers | AI | 3D printing | Drones | Computer science | Physics | Programming | Materials science | USB | UWB | Android | Digital photography | Science Credentials
  • Shankland covered the tech industry for more than 25 years and was a science writer for five years before that. He has deep expertise in microprocessors, digital photography, computer hardware and software, internet standards, web technology, and more.
Stephen Shankland
The Open Source Initiative, a group seeking to become more influential in matters concerning the cooperative-programming philosophy, has seen its second change of leadership in less than a month.

Michael Tiemann, vice president of open-source affairs at Linux seller Red Hat and an OSI board member, has taken over from Russell Nelson as president pro tem, Red Hat and Nelson confirmed on Friday. News of the change was reported Wednesday on ZDNet's Between the Lines blog.

The Open Source Initiative grants official open-source status to various software licenses and now is working to reduce the number of such licenses.

Nelson was named OSI president Feb. 1, taking over from co-founder Eric Raymond. Tiemann took over Feb. 23 and will continue in his role at Red Hat.

"We thought that Michael would be a better president," Nelson said of the change, declining to share further details. Nelson will remain a board member and active in the group, he said.

He and Tiemann will be getting more company on the board, however: OSI plans to expand the board from five members to nine, Nelson said.

"If we're going to take on more work, we need more people," he said. OSI also wants better international representation from areas such as Brazil that are active in open-source software.

Among the projects OSI hopes to tackle are reducing the proliferation of open-source licenses--not an easy task--and creating a matrix that will enable people to compare details of all open-source licenses, Nelson said.