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OSI President Eric Raymond Steps Down

Eric Raymond, the co-founder and president of the Open Source Initiative, is stepping down from his post, the organization said Tuesday.

The departure is one of several personnel and strategy changes at OSI, which is dedicated to promoting open source software.

Raymond cited no reason for his departure but said he will continue to do outreach and ambassadorial work for OSI under the title President Emeritus.

"One of the natural growth passages of a successful institution is outgrowing the need for its founders to be running things," Raymond said in a statement. "One of the most important parts of any founder or leader's responsibility is to know when to step aside and let that growth happen."

Raymond is the author of several books, including The Cathedral and the Bazaar, The New Hacker's Dictionary and The Art of Unix Programming. Along with friend Bruce Perens, Raymond designed the language and marketing tactics around which OSI was formed.

OSI said Russ Nelson will succeed Raymond as OSI president. Michael Tiemann will become vice president and Danese Cooper will continue as secretary and treasurer.

In addition to Raymond's departure, OSI said it intends to expand its role beyond its traditional stewardship of the open source definition and the certification of open source licenses.

Among the changes, OSI said it would establish principles of open source development and best practices; create a registry of software projects consistent with open source licenses, principles and practices; and add international perspectives and initiatives related to open source.

"We have decided to expand our scope so that we can address open source in the context of international issues, software project practices, and open standards problems as separate from, even if highly related to, open source licensing," OSI said in a statement. "In so doing, we believe we can strengthen what open source means, as well as expanding the role it plays in society."

Lawrence Rosen, OSI's first general counsel and secretary and its one-time executive director, is also stepping aside, OSI said.

In his stead, OSI said it has hired two new lawyers. Mark Radcliffe, a partner at DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary, has been named OSI general counsel. Laura Majerus, a partner at Fenwick & West, will hold the new position of director of legal affairs.

Rosen said he will continue to support OSI's activities to advise the open source community on licensing and related issues.