The Debian Project joins the OSI

March 30th, 2012

The Debian Project is pleased to announce that it is joining the Open Source Initiative (OSI) as an affiliate. The OSI was founded in 1998 by Eric S. Raymond and Bruce Perens, with the aim of explaining, advocating, and protecting the term open source. Debian shares the OSI's desire to encourage Free Software. Debian's Social Contract commits it to producing a system which is 100% free.

The OSI's Open Source Definition is closely based on the Debian Free Software Guidelines, the document that defines the types of software licenses which the Debian Project accepts. For many years now, the OSI has helped the Open Source trademark gain recognition, particularly in the corporate world. The OSI recently decided to pursue this mission by becoming a member-led organisation, and as a first step has invited Free and Open Source Software projects to become affiliate members.

By becoming an affiliate of the OSI, the Debian Project recognises the OSI's history of efforts towards goals shared by both organisations. However, the Debian Project will not automatically adopt OSI decisions on the acceptability of particular software licenses and will maintain an independent license review process.

For widespread Free Software adoption we still need to overcome many challenges, said Stefano Zacchiroli, Debian Project Leader. While Debian is perfectly suited to face technical challenges, other organisations are better suited to face more political ones, like anti-Free Software corporate FUD, or unjust worldwide laws that make it illegal to share pieces of Free Software. I value the work that OSI is doing in those areas. Thanks to their new affiliation scheme, I'm looking forward to Debian taking an active role in OSI.

Simon Phipps of the OSI welcomed Debian to the organisation, saying, It's great to have Debian joining the new affiliate scheme; the project's breadth of experience will be a valuable addition. The Board is keen to make progress and having a diverse and representative Affiliate membership is crucial if we are to make well-founded decisions in each of the challenging changes we anticipate.

About the Open Source Initiative

The OSI are the stewards of the Open Source Definition (OSD) and the community-recognised body for reviewing and approving licenses as OSD-conformant. The OSI is actively involved in Open Source community-building, education, and public advocacy to promote awareness and the importance of non-proprietary software.

About Debian

The Debian Project was founded in 1993 by Ian Murdock to be a truly free community project. Since then the project has grown to be one of the largest and most influential open source projects. Thousands of volunteers from all over the world work together to create and maintain Debian software. Available in 70 languages, and supporting a huge range of computer types, Debian calls itself the universal operating system.

Contact Information

For further information, please visit the Debian web pages at or send mail to <>.