Brussels / 1 & 2 February 2020


Interview with Chris Aniszczyk, Max Sills and Michael Cheng
Open Source Under Attack. How we, the OSI and others can defend it

Photo of Max Sills

Chris Aniszczyk, Max Sills and Michael Cheng will give a talk about Open Source Under Attack. How we, the OSI and others can defend it at FOSDEM 2020.

Q: Could you briefly introduce yourselves?

Chris Aniszczyk is an open source executive and engineer with a passion for building a better world through open collaboration. He’s currently a CTO at the Linux Foundation focused on developer relations and running the Open Container Initiative (OCI) / Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). Furthermore, he’s a partner at Capital Factory where he focuses on mentoring, advising and investing in open source and infrastructure focused startups. In a previous life, he was a Fedora and Gentoo maintainer; also a technical lead at the Eclipse Foundation.

Michael is a lawyer supporting mergers & acquisitions, licensing and open source at Facebook. In a prior life, he used to do IT sysadmin, deploy ERP systems, carry luggage for hotel guests and probe vulnerabilities in IIS. He’s now currently obsessed with the Raspberry Pi.

Max is a lawyer supporting open source, standards, technology licensing and M&A at Google. His team is authoring an open casebook on open source legal issues: Open Source Casebook.

Q: What will your talk be about, exactly? Why this topic?

We believe that the onslaught of new licenses, the flood of VC money and the renewed and more aggressive way in which open source is being abused will lead to the eventual destruction of vital open ecosystems — resulting in a return to a proprietary world. Even though free software and open source aren’t the same thing. The dream of free software may very well die if we let open source collapse.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish by giving this talk? What do you expect?

We hope that this will serve as a call to arms to motivate either the OSI or other organizations to aggressively take the necessary actions to protect open source. If they don’t, then someone should step up.

Q: What has changed over the last 20 years in the attacks on open source?

Much of what is currently happening has already happened before with the source-available licenses from nearly 20 years ago (think Shared Source from Microsoft and more). We think the biggest change is that now that the VCs are interested, and some examples of bad open source behavior have already been validated with VC money, it will be much more challenging to beat back this time.

Q: 2020 marks the 20th anniversary of (F)OSDEM. What contributions has FOSDEM made to the advancement of FOSS?

To us, FOSDEM is the center of gravity for free and open source software. It’s always been magical to us — as the heart and soul of the community. The way it is run, the way it’s managed, the speakers, everything about it espouses the best values of FOSS.

Q: Have you enjoyed previous FOSDEM editions?

Yes, Max, Michael and Chris have attended and spoke at many FOSDEMs in years past.

Creative Commons License
Creative Commons License

This interview is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Belgium License.