Why does an open cloud standards proponent get the boot from an open cloud organisation for wanting more open standards?

It sounds like a bad riddle or some strange joke on the old Orwellian concept of "some things being more equal than others". But it's no joke for Sam Johnston, secretary of the Open Cloud Community Inititiative (OCCI) Working Group  - or at least he was until yesterday when he was abruptly sacked by the working group's chairs

The background to all of this has been over which open licence to use. Sam Johnston has been pushing for the Creative Commons licence, and arguing against the Open Grid's own licence, which he sees as more restrictive.

In a bitter blog post,Johnston tears into the leadership within the open grid forum, particular OCCI chair Thijs Metsch, claiming that he was the victim of a personal attack from members of the group and that he was only trying to speed up the licensing process after a year of inertia. The group fought back, with a response by Andre Merzsky pointing out the holes in Johnston's justification.

It's hard to know all the ins and outs of this bitter argument - how much is down to technical issues, how much is down to political issues and how much is due to personality clashes. Merzsky points the finger at Johnston's lack of team playing but it could be accurately described as an impatience to get things done.

Why does this matter? While in many ways this an esoteric argument, it does mask some of the arguments that still tend to bog down the open source community. While it's true that open standards are beginning to penetrate the enterprise, disputes like this do little to help.

Fair play to Johnston for sticking to his guns though - I blogged yesterday about Richard Stallman and his single-minded pursuit of what is right and there are plenty of examples of such single-mindedness in the open standards world. There are places where pragmatism, business need and political (with a small 'p') collide - it's not pretty and there are sure to be more in future. Let's hope it's not all for the benefit of the proprietary vendors.



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