The 20 Years of Open Source


The Open Source Initiative is celebrating its 20th Anniversary in 2018. In the true open source spirit, we would like to invite you and the open source community to participate.

This is a great opportunity to highlight yours and your organization’s open source success story. Please join and help us make this celebration a true representation of the passion, diversity, and creativity of the open source software community!

Key Opportunities

  • Celebrate 20 Years: Commemorate the success of open source (your successes) and the Open Source Initiative’s role in building awareness, adoption and communities over 20 years.
  • Share Your Story: Highlight the significant accomplishments and contributions that have made open source software a valued asset and community for your organization.
  • Join the Network: Connect with a global network of highly qualified peers to exchange ideas and create solutions. Your experience and leadership will help build the “next 20 years” of open source.



Open Source Software — yes, in fact we did coin the term, and started the movement — is now ubiquitous, recognized across industries as a fundamental component to infrastructure, as well as a critical factor for driving innovation. But it wasn’t always so...

The “open source” label was created at a strategy session held on February 3rd, 1998 in Palo Alto, California. That same month, the Open Source Initiative (OSI) was founded as a general educational and advocacy organization to raise awareness and adoption for the superiority of an open development process. One of the first tasks undertaken by OSI was to draft the Open Source Definition (OSD). Till this day, the OSD is considered a gold standard of open-source licensing.

Although adoption of the term “Open Source” had support from many, including the founders of Linux, Sendmail, Perl, Python, Apache, and representatives from the Internet Engineering Task Force, and Internet Software Consortium, interest in the late 90’s from industry was… well, less than enthusiastic. 

The OSI’s focus for the past 20 years has been to address open source F.U.D., while promoting best practices in community, collaboration, and co-creation. Now that so many agree “Open Source has Won,” we think we’ve been successful.

More importantly to recognize at this point in our shared history is the remarkable success of the open source software movement, and the inspiring fellowship of developers, maintainers, businesses and communities engaged in innovative efforts across so many technology sectors, supporting just about every company and community.

Our 20th Anniversary is a celebration of the open source software movement itself. We hope you’ll join us in celebrating the code and communities.


Celebrate 20 Years

The 20th Anniversary of open source is a huge milestone impacting the global tech community. Celebrations will be held worldwide, in conjunction with the leading open source conferences, as well as standalone community-led events. 

The OSI is working toward organizing several events in conjunction with prominent open source conferences around the world. Local open source communities are also organizing  community-led celebrations. Our anniversary website will support volunteer organizers to host events in their own cities. The OSI will provide small grants to these community-led events and promote them to the broader community.

Attend an event:

Organize your event:


Share Your Story

As part of our mission, we want to promote the success stories of companies like yours that are investing in open source software and community in order to increase adoption and development even more broadly.

In our website, supporters will be able to share events, videos, interviews, articles, timelines, and social media — and we want to feature you! We’ll be sharing your stories with the community and connect you with peers.

Publish your story at


Join the Network

To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Open Source Software, the Open Source Initiative is launching OpenSource.Net, which will serve both as a community of practice and a mentorship program. The goal is to further promote adoption of open source software over the next twenty years as issues shift from open source’s viability/value to issues around implementation and authentic participation.

OpenSource.Net connects those that “get it” and “did it” with a global network of highly qualified peers across industries. Your experiences as an exemplar in the community will help others address common (or unique) issue. Some open source themes you might want to explore include:

  • Development: How has open source benefited code development at your company in terms of costs, quality, customization, security, support, and interoperability? How does your company manage open source development/contributions? 
  • Business: What business practices align best with open source? How does your company collaborate with others to enhance products and services while creating new business opportunities?
  • Brand Awareness: How has your company’s commitment to open source helped promote your brand among the open source community, your market, and your industry?
  • Community Building: How has open source helped your company connect with developers, businesses, non-profits, government, and/or educational institutions.
  • Talent Nurturing: How has participation in the open source community helped your company attract and retain the best talent?
  • Innovation: How has open source, both from a legal perspective (e.g. the OSI-approved licenses) and social perspective (culture of collaboration), helped your company to embrace open innovation?
  • Leadership: What's the future of open source? What are the challenges and opportunities for the next 20 years? How will open source shape your industry and what role will you play?