July 2008


The promise of
Nordic Open Source collaboration
• Creating a center based on existing institutions
• Create a ...
The following people and institutions have participated in the project:


Iceland                                  Sweden
...
Title:
Creating a virtual Nordic Center for Open Source Software
Nordic Innovation Centre project number: 06222


Authors:...
IV   The promise of Nordic Open Source collaboration
Contents
Executive Summary	                                                                                  1


Part 1: B...
vi   The promise of Nordic Open Source collaboration
Executive Summary
Background:
The Nordic business sector is probably one the most advanced regions in the world. This mean...
The aim of the work-packages:

Business models:
The main objective was to describe the different business models when work...
task. Through a large and extended network linking with both enterprises, civil servants, private and
public decision make...
Nordic Conference (WP5).
Throughout 2007 we have organized a dialogue between all the major Conferences related in the Nor...
The way ahead
The projects have identified a number of areas where future collaboration will make a big difference.
The ke...
Part 1:
Business models
1 Building a Best Practice Repository
In order to expand the knowledge of working business models ...
Open source and Buy Off
   Companies that offer a proprietary license for their open-source software, in order for their c...
cantly small), the category of buy-off in itself might show that open source is no longer regarded as an
    exclusive eit...
1.3 Development from Traditional Licensing to Open Source Software
   The Nordic world of open source software, as it pres...
2.1 Internationalisation within Open Source Software
     Regarding the question of internationalisation within the world ...
Part 2:
Nordic Code Sharing Site (Work package 3)
The first part of the creation of the Virtual Nordic code-sharing site i...
There are some general structures that have to be at hand in order to make it possible to share code deve-
loped by the Pu...
The website
The website makes it possible for the intended users to find and learn about the available software without
be...
Two of the repositories are built upon the same software, a practical example of successful code sharing.
We have focused ...
Part 3:
Developer Networking
Introduction

Open source is a working model and unique creation of software developers and d...
The Finnish Tekes-funded research project “Managing OSS as an Integrated Part of Business (OSSI)” (2005-
2007) has been a ...
Communication and decision-making structures of the community. Different systems of governance exist
in free/open source s...
In the classification above, we can see both differences and similarities between communities. Based on this
analysis, som...
Open source community sustainability evaluation

As several studies on OSS communities indicate, open source communities d...
Evaluation of open source software

A reasoning to use open source software as a part of business has two sides, internal ...
Conclusions and recommendations

The OpenNordic project (as we ended up using as project name) has delivered an extremely ...
22   The promise of Nordic Open Source collaboration
APPENDIX 1:
Summary of WP Responsible and Deliveries
The	project	has	organized	in	5	workpackages	(WP)

Work package 1
Proj...
APPENDIX 2:
Business models for open source and nordic collaboration
A	business-model	for	exchange	of	software	and	knowled...
The	FLOSS-POLS	describes	their	research	objective	as	follows:

”The	FLOSS	project	(funded	by	IST/FP5)	resulted	in	the	sing...
Distribution of lines of business for companies                All companies 200                    Actual respondents
 Li...
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End Report Project 06222 Open Nordic

  1. 1. July 2008 The promise of Nordic Open Source collaboration • Creating a center based on existing institutions • Create a repository of business models on open source software • Create opportunities for sharing open source software across the Nordics • Make the open source model accessible for both public and private sector Photo: Rune Tollisen Authors: Morten Kjærsgaard, Mats Østling, Petri Räsänen, Guðmundur Ásmundsson and Fredrik Syversen
  2. 2. The following people and institutions have participated in the project: Iceland Sweden Samtök iðnaðarins Sveriges kommuner og landsting Guðmundur Ásmundsson Mats Østling gudmundur@si.is mats.ostling@skl.se Finland Denmark Center for Open Source Software Danish Open Source Business Association Petri Räsänen Morten Kjærsgaard petri.rasanen@coss.fi mortenk@magenta-aps.dk Norway IKT-Norge Fredrik Syversen fs@ikt-norge.no
  3. 3. Title: Creating a virtual Nordic Center for Open Source Software Nordic Innovation Centre project number: 06222 Authors: Morten Kjærsgaard, Mats Østling, Guðmundur Ásmundsson, Petri Räsänen, , Claus Lassen, Anders Nordh, and Fredrik Syversen Institutions: Danish Open Source Business Association (Denmark), Sveriges kommuner og landsting (Sweden), Center for Open Source Software (Coss Finland), Samtök iðnaðarins (Iceland) Abstract: The aim of this project has been to create a real Nordic Open Source Center based on existing institu- tions. Create a repository of business models and best practice of OSS projects in the Nordic, to look at the developer networks in the Nordics. In addition we wanted to create a virtual Nordic code sharing site. To conclude our project we hosted a Nordic conference. We also concentrated on the public relations part which we believe is one of the main strategies of bringing awareness of open source to the public at large. The main result of the project: The project has been focused on getting the Nordic players to work together. Our main task has been to align and leverage on the different strong points the players have. Doing this have made it easier to achieve concrete results. A focused survey among the top Open Source Software companies (OSS) in the Nordics have been made. Both business models and the development process have been documented with real companies and real projects. In addition our Finnish partner have contributed with extensive research made on business models connected to OSS. During the duration of the projects there have been established a code sharing sites in all the Scandinavian countries and Finland is on the verge of doing the same. Groundwork have been done in order to connect these initiatives so that both code and business can flow across the Nordics. The practices of the Nordic developer networking have been studied, good Nordic and global practices have been identified, and good practices have been promoted in the target groups of the open source centers. The end conference was held in Norway, Skien late June with over 300 participants from all over Europe. This gave us a opportunity to show the Nordic relevance and commitment to OSS Topic/NICe Focus Area: ICT ISSN: Language: English Pages: 60 Key words: ICT, Open Souce, Code sharing, Business models, Conference, developer networks, software, ecosystems Distributed by: Nordic Innovation Centre www.nordicinnovation.net Contact person: Fredrik Syversen, Director IKT-Norge www.ikt-norge.no The promise of Nordic Open Source collaboration III
  4. 4. IV The promise of Nordic Open Source collaboration
  5. 5. Contents Executive Summary 1 Part 1: Business models 1 Building a Best Practice Repository 6 1.1. Business Models in the Nordics 6 1.2 The Question of Ecosystem 8 1.3 Development from Traditional Licensing to Open Source Software 9 2 Developing New OSS projects 9 2.1 Internationalisation within Open Source Software 10 Part 2: Nordic Code Sharing Site (Work package 3) 11 Background 11 The website 13 Developer’s area 13 A virtual Nordic code-sharing site – work and results 13 Conclusion and recommendations 14 Part 3: Developer Networking 15 Introduction 15 Types of open source communities and collaboration 16 Open source community sustainability evaluation 19 Evaluation of open source software 20 Conclusions and recommendations 21 Appendix Appendix 1: Summary of WP Responsible and Deliveries I Appendix 2: Business models for open source and nordic collaboration II Appendix 3: Study on the use of Open Source Software in the Norwegian Software Industry, Conclusions XV Appendix 4: Survey XVII Appendix 5: An Example of a Supplier-driven site: The Danish Software Exchange XXI Appendix 6: Open Source Business (Models) XXII Appendix 7: Glossary of Open Source Software Terminology XXIII Appendix 8: Program XXIV Appendix 9: Press facsimiles XXIX The promise of Nordic Open Source collaboration V
  6. 6. vi The promise of Nordic Open Source collaboration
  7. 7. Executive Summary Background: The Nordic business sector is probably one the most advanced regions in the world. This means that all business and public institutions relies heavily on their ICT-infrastructure to be the most cost efficient and modern. It is paramount, not only for the ICT-Industry bit for all to have some knowledge and aid when challenged by OSS as a innovation model, business model and a development model. I order to compete with global business, knowledge and actions on these issues are crucial for future success . Sharing on a Nordic level will give us a broader and more complete insight than working on this nationally. It is also important for business in the OSS environment to meet Nordic colleagues that can motivate and aid them, as this is yet a new way to do business. OSS is fast changing the way we develop and do business. In many ways OSS is the major running busi- ness philosophy in the Internet business. Google, Youtube, Facebook, MySpace, and their equivalents in the Nordics and in Europe. They are all based upon free use and the sharing of information content and opini- ons, their founders are all based in the OSS world. We strongly feel that the Nordics have the characteris- tics that gives us an edge compared to rest of Europe, and of course Finland with Linux have strong tradi- tions to OSS. But the facts that the Nordics are user-oriented, have often flat organizations and are based upon notion that knowledge sharing and the spreading of information are a benefit to the whole. These facts underlines the need to introduce OSS to both public sector and for business. We are going to both benefit from and contribute to the Nordic culture of sharing and collaborating, which is a natural and embedded part of our open societies Open Source is as a community of equals. Typically there is a real-world community built around the mailing lists and support groups of Open Source, but more importantly, as a user of open source you regain control over your use of software. You are not simply a powerless consumer. The impact of open source tech- nology is expected to be quite noticeable in the software industry, and in society as a whole. It allows for novel development models, which have already been demonstrated to be especially well suited to efficiently take advantage of the work of developers spread across all corners of the planet. It also enables completely new business models, which are shaping a network of groups and companies based on open source software development. And it has, in general, a very positive impact as an enabler for the creation of new markets and business opportunities. The Nordic public sector is well known for having an advanced and modern ICT-infrastructure and a high level of ICT-use within the administration as well as in the services offered to citizens. In order to take an- other step in the development of a modern and effective eGovernment in the Nordic public sector, we have to find new methods and models for sharing knowledge, experience and ICT-solutions. Scope Open source software (OSS) is the most disruptive change in the world of software since the introduction of the Internet. OSS challenges the given truths in many areas: New innovation models, new development models, new business models, new licensing models, new support models, new value chain models. All these new ways of creating new software and new solutions creates great challenges and great opportu- nities. Today the open source infrastructure is based on Nordic initiatives LAMP, is the foundation of much of the OSS systems. L stands for Linux, the operating system out of Finland, A stands for Apache the server system out of US, M stands for MySQL the database company of of Sweden/Finland, and finally P stands for PHP, the code language for web solutions out of Denmark. Norway has a number of companies that also gives the Nordics a certain position with the global OSS community. Aim of the project: • Create a real virtual Nordic Open Source Center based on existing institutions. • Create a repository of business models best practice of OSS projects in the Nordic. (WP2) • Create a virtual Nordic code sharing site. (WP3) • Developer networking. (WP4) • Host a Nordic conference (WP5) • Public relations The promise of Nordic Open Source collaboration
  8. 8. The aim of the work-packages: Business models: The main objective was to describe the different business models when working with an Open Source mo- del, with focus om these areas; * Developing new software using OSS projects * Business development from traditional license model to OSS * Internationalization within OSS Nordic Open Source Repository The main objective was to establish a virtual Nordic code sharing site, and describe best practice from Nordics and EU. This work package aimed at: * Connectings the Nordic initiatives * Involve and Challenge the use and development on a cross-Nordic level * Create a working relationship with private sector on use, support, and maintenance on OSS Development networks The task was to identify “best practice” in organizing, financing, and the administration of OSS projects and tom iIdentify developer networks in the Nordics. Nordic Conference and PR The conference was to end with a conference that attracted both people from the Nordics and Europe. The aim was to bring the Nordic dimension and to tell the story of the project. PR has been an important and integrated part of our project with focus both on the ICT media and business media. Conclusions and recommendations Business models There are varying degrees as to which you can open your software to other parties and thereby opening up a whole range of different possible modes of doing business. Open source is no longer regarded as an exclusive either-or, but rather as an element among others around which o build ones particular business. There seems to be an abundance of open source related projects within the software industry. A great many and very diverse projects take place along the lines of a variety of different business models, but in general there is only little ecosystem present to preserve and maintain the recycling, integration and further development of open source software. If already conquered territory is to be retained and safeguarded against the threat of evaporating over time, lasting ecosystems needs to be established. Frameworks within which players are offered the continuity necessary for the proliferation and recycling of open source related products and projects, and where market positions can be maintained and strengthened. The partners in the Open Nordic project has established a strong collaboration crossing the national boun- daries in the Nordic countries. The Open Nordic Centre has, among other things, been coordinating software repositories in the Nordics, which today is widely used, especially by the respective public sectors. The Open Nordic Centre is, in our opinion, only in the first and very important stages of the Open Nordic project. The next step would be to focus upon the Nordic software industry, which holds a promising potential for future growth (or, as one researcher on the industry would have it “the future of Open source software looks indeed very Nordic”, referring to LINUX, APACHE, MySQL, PHP, among others^1 #sdfootnote1sym). The partners of the Open Nordic collaboration wish to strengthen the position of Nordic companies in the respective domestic markets, and we wish to do so by turning the Scandinavian markets into one single domestic market, hereby giving the Nordic enterprises the needed platform for competing on global level with of large-scale international corporations. Naturally, the Open Nordic partners are aware of the fact, that this task cannot be managed be the Open Nordic on its own. This is a long-lasting process, the success of which, depends on several players. On the other hand, this process needs to be started, and the Open Nordic Centre is more than ready to take on this 2 The promise of Nordic Open Source collaboration
  9. 9. task. Through a large and extended network linking with both enterprises, civil servants, private and public decision makers, the Open Nordic Centre will be able to set the direction for open source code soft- ware and its competitiveness on the software markets. Nordic Code sharing site (WP3) The first part of the Virtual Nordic code-sharing site is finished and we have established a close and rewar- ding collaboration. A common taxonomy have been agreed upon as well as the methods for exchanging information and make searches in all the Nordic repositories possible. Connections to other repositories are established and we can see a growing interest for what is happening in the Nordic countries. There are a number of other areas that we don’t have fully explored yet, where the repositories could benefit from continuous collaboration. We have held a number of workshops regarding the collaboration between the code-sharing sites. The discussions have focused on taxonomy, strategies and policies, exchange of news and how to populate the repositories with software. Two more repositories have been added to the two already existing. The experiences and findings have been discussed and described in workshops, seminars and confe- rences. The Nordic repositories have been active in the European community and played a vital role in the progress of OSOR, the EU-repository, thus creating a platform for the Nordic Public Sector and the Nordic vendors in the European Open Source Community. A common Nordic software market for Opens Source Software is not that far away if we continue with our efforts. It is important that the Nordic countries keep on collaborating with the EU-repository -OSOR, but even more important the Nordics play an active part in the process and the ongoing development. We have just started to examine the nature of communities where the Public Sector is to be involved, and both research and case studies is needed to understand how re-use of publicly developed software can occur. Developer Networking (WP4) The starting point to understand business -developer community collaboration is the typology of open source communities. Four ideal types of open source communities can be identified: 1. Centralized, company-driven, small community (e.g. MySQL) 2. Large community, several companies, business work ethics (e.g. Eclipse) 3. Large community, several companies, hacker background (e.g. Linux kernel, Gnome) 4. Volunteer, decentralized, large (e.g. Debian). Different kinds of recommendable collaboration models are presented for each community type. The sustainability profile of a open source community in crucial factor the management of open source business risk. An evaluation model that comprises the social, economical, legal and cultural sustainability factors is suggested. Several systematic tools are available for the evaluation of open source software. The value of these tools is not only in the final result the method produces, but the process itself. Suggestions for further action: Action Who Education of software professionals and Open source competence centres, Universities companies related to methods and processes of community collaboration New knowledge and knowledge sharing about Universities, Open source competence centres creating new communities Catalysing company-community collaboration: Open source compence centres conferences, workshops, project funding The promise of Nordic Open Source collaboration
  10. 10. Nordic Conference (WP5). Throughout 2007 we have organized a dialogue between all the major Conferences related in the Nordics and worked to make the participation in these conferences less national and more Nordic by promoting each national conference through the contact networks in all the 5 Nordic countries. We have developed a joint brand, Open Nordic, now being offered to other Nordic Conferences to brand them as more Nordic and enable them to attract a broader Nordic participation. The wrap up conference for the project will be the first in what we hope will be a series of well established conferences branded by the Open Nordic brand. The first conference will be the transformed version of eZ Conference, originally the largest Open Source related conference in content management. Last year eZ Conference attracted more the 300 participants from more then 30 countries. June 19th –20th a rebranded Open Nordic version of the eZ conference was held in Skien Norway. The scope this first Open Nordic conference will be broader the original eZ conference now also hosting Open Nordic Mobile in cooperation with a number of players in the mobile services and technology sector. Over 300 people from all over Europe attended the conference. We also awarded a company and a person for their outstanding contribution to the open source community in the Nordics, winners were Bjørn Venn (Individual), and MySql (Company). PR/media The project has used the project meeting in each country to get press coverage to promote project results into the media. In addition the end conference gave us opportunities focus in the projects and its Please see attached clippings on the project-related coverage for 2007 in appendix 2. Photo: Rune Tollisen The promise of Nordic Open Source collaboration
  11. 11. The way ahead The projects have identified a number of areas where future collaboration will make a big difference. The key cooperation areas and their specific challenges are illustrated below. Collaboration area Key challenge Who could participate Political focus on the OSS Move current strong political Governments, Nordic council, Public opportunity for the Nordics- support in Norway to more agencies both as builders of an advanced countries and make the public eService offering and as Norwegian political support more a business case for increased robust. software based export. Sharing of code for use in private Only a small fraction of code The national Competency centers and public sectors and building shared in current repositories are in collaboration with OSS vendor of sustainable communities being used and enhanced because association, developer and user around the code they lack an active community communities and related Research and an ecosystem . We need and Education institutions to learn more involved actors the best practices of building a sustainable community/ecosystem Procurement of software based Current procedures, buying Governments, public agencies and solutions in public sector cultures and competencies of bodies. public purchasers are keeping OSS based solutions and vendors out of the public sector OSS related education and A nonexistent and at best a very Nordic Universities and University research fragmented offering in an area Colleges, research institutions where the biggest growth barriers in technology, social sciences, is the availability of talents economic and business development. Venture Capital interest and Lack of insights into OSS related Business angels with experience funding availability business models, practices and in OSS. VC associations, ICT strategies associations. Strengthening the OpenNordic A large portion of the OSS Current “owners” of the OpenNordic brand and establish more related events and networks are brand; primarily the competency permanent transnordic events national only. This reduces our centers, the ICT associations and and communities ability to make Nordic and global the current networks controlling collaborations succeed in the key OSS events. global arena The promise of Nordic Open Source collaboration
  12. 12. Part 1: Business models 1 Building a Best Practice Repository In order to expand the knowledge of working business models in open source enterprises in Scandinavia, as well as testing the grounds for a future Nordic network – Open Nordic, the Nordic Virtual Centre of Open Source (the project) instigated a small-scale probe into the business models of enterprises in Finland, Den- mark, Norway and Sweden.1) The query was carried out in the during the whole project, and constitutes the foundation of an Open Nordic best practice repository. 27 Scandinavian companies were asked to answer a series questions regarding their business models, the creation of revenues, the structure of the ecosystem surrounding their opens source activities and the pos- sibility of linking onto these ecosystems. A minimum of five companies was selected from each of the 4 countries (respectively 8 Finnish, 9 Danish, 6 Norwegian and 5 Swedish companies chose to participate). The companies represent a diverse segment of open source enterprises offering a broad range of open source related activities, services and products. The group consisted of both large internationally located companies crossing national boundaries (globally as well as in the Nordics only), and smaller locally based enterprises. For future use and furthering of already established networks contact information for all 28 companies was gathered and stored in the repository.2) The query behind the repository must therefore also be seen much less as a scientific research proper, than a first step in bringing together open source enterprises in the Nordic countries and as one of the first steps in creating of a Nordic network for open source software enterprises. The intention was both to provide Open Nordic with an initial grouping together of possible companies interested in future cooperation as well as a tool for mapping open source software-related business activities in the Scandinavian countries. Best practice is to be understood in the sense of different and well-established business models for open source related enterprises.3) The questions where designed in order to highlight different business models in enterprises connected to and earning an income from open source software related activities. The query should be able to provide examples of different possible models of doing business in the software industry involved with open source in Scandinavia. Of special interest to the Open Nordic Centre was the importance of the network and/or ecosystem in the distribution and proliferation of open source solutions. 1.1. Business Models in the Nordics The query was intended to highlight different working business models in the Nordic countries. Enter- prises were asked to state their main field of specialisation and their company’s primary source of income working with open source. Secondly, they were asked to describe their business model in their own words. Enterprises were asked to place their company within five different categories:4) Open Source and Hardware I.e. the use of open source as the foundation for the software running their machines when making hardware. Open source and Aggregation Companies that assemble various open source software packages into integrated and easily consumable units. ) The number of open source-enterprises based in Iceland is still very limited, and although the Icelandic forum for open source activities (the Icelandic SI) is part of the Open Nordic collaboration, wherefore there are no current plans of expanding the repository to covering Iceland. 2) The repository is available at http://www.coss.fi/c/portal/layout?p_l_id=PUB.0.7 , at the Open Nordic homepage. ) The Finnish research project OSSI - ”Managing OSS As an Integrated Part of Business” under COSS has been the foundation for the Open Nordic virtual centre’s understanding of ”business models” as well as ”best practice”. For further information see: http://www.coss.fi/web/coss/research/ossi/publications ) Again, the work of Finnish COSS, and especially the work of Mikko Puhakka, has been extremely helpful in choosing the defining categories of this repository. The promise of Nordic Open Source collaboration
  13. 13. Open source and Buy Off Companies that offer a proprietary license for their open-source software, in order for their customers to modify and redistribute software without having to make the code changes available to the public. Mixed An open-source code base with proprietary add-ons. Open Source and Service Companies that sell support and services around open source software. Open Source and hardware 28,6% Open Source and agregation 35,7% q2 Business models Open Source and buy off 10,7% Mixed 32,1% Open Source and Service 71,4% 0% 20% 0% 0% 80% As the illustration clearly shows, open source software related services is by far the most prominent of the five categories.5) Nearly three-quarters of the interviewed companies view the provision of services related to open source as their main source of income. This is significantly larger than any of the other areas of interest, and exactly twice as large as the second-place category concerning the aggregation and integration of open source software. Equally significant, only ten percent of the interviewed companies were basing their business upon offering a proprietary license for open source software. This picture is confirmed by the enterprises own description of their business model, for many (13 of 28 companies, or nearly half ) of the firms in question «support and service» (or deviations hereof, «main- tenance» e.g.) is a main area of business, offering support agreements, contracts or long or short-term subscriptions to support services. If one counts the 9 companies (a little less than a third of the companies asked), who described themselves as providing training or services of an educational nature, and on top of this add the companies, who claimed to offer «consulting» (again nearly half ) as a main part of their business model, it becomes quite obvious how important the area of services is within the world of open source.6) Least surprisingly maybe, is the fact that only a third of the interviewed companies were engaged in offering a proprietary license for their own open-source software allowing their customers to modify software. First of all, this business model tends to go somewhat against the grain of open source software and in fact to offer semi-closed/semi-open software and secondly this might still create some of the disadvantages normally attributed to proprietary software, albeit in a much smaller scale. However inte- restingly enough, it shows that there are varying degrees as to which you can open your software to other parties and thereby opening up a whole range of different possible modes of doing business – finding ones own particular niche, as it were. One the other hand (and despite the fact that the figure is signifi- ) A clarifying remark regarding the illustration: The 28 companies were not limited to one single category, when stating their business model. ) In an indirect manner this seem also to comply to the result sof the Norwegian NTNU-study, who also found the business sector of consultancies to be one of the more active proponents of open source software and related services. The NTNU report is available at http://research.idi.ntnu.no/oss/NTNU_friprog.pdf. The promise of Nordic Open Source collaboration 7
  14. 14. cantly small), the category of buy-off in itself might show that open source is no longer regarded as an exclusive either-or dichotomy, but rather as a pick-and-choose element among others around which to build ones particular business. A more common way, however of mixing proprietary and open source software is by offering open source software entailing proprietary add-ons. This might still not satisfy the OSS purist, nevertheless this model is less prone to the disadvantages of ordinary proprietary software. This might be at its most apparent in business models such as the dual licence model, where commercial developers are offered software under commercial licensing, while at the same time making the software available to the non- commercial user. The remaining categories of «open source and aggregation», «open source and hardware» along with the above mentioned category of open-source base «mixed» with proprietary add-ons all constitute around a third of the interviewees each. The first of the three categories, aggregational packaging and integra- tional development of open source software, being the largest of the three, and somewhat larger than the smallest of the three, concerned with the making hardware through the use of open source software. Again, as long as the world of open source is as diversified (and ever diversifying) a field as is the case, the continuous use, reuse, integration, reintegration and repackaging of software is unavoidably linked with the business practises in this area is hardly surprising. 1.2 The Question of Ecosystem Regarding the question of ecosystem and the character of the networks surrounding open source business models in the Nordic countries the interest of the Open Nordic Centre lay first and foremost in the mapping of ecosystems both regarding quantity and quality, and secondly in ways of furthering and/or strengthening current ecosystems. 7) The understanding of the term ecosystem seems to be posing certain difficulties due to the fact that answers are not always consistent (e.g. some use quantity and size as an indicator, others focus upon the quality of an ecosystem by using the words «weak», «strong» and the like). However, on a very general level it is possible to pull-out certain result of the answers given. Companies relate to ecosystems to varying degrees, and the strength and quality of the various eco- systems, they are a part of, differ greatly. Furthermore each ecosystem might be very different regarding its make-up, built more or less loosely around the collaboration on products, projects, firms or even rather minimal participation on a pure verbal level of «ideology», as it were. Participation ranges from the almost non-existent to taking part in a very strong and well-established network (although only a few companies claim to be participating in such an ecosystem). Quite a few companies complain about a weak network or ecosystem, some claiming not to be contributing much or only on an individual basis. Others seem to be posing the very same concern in a more positive vein; hoping for firmer structures, larger networks with more companies involved. Only very few are clai- ming to be part of a large network (not mentioning any actual size, however). A large subsection have a network consisting of 2 to 6 smaller companies, whereas others are coupled with one other (often larger) company, e.g. as partner or sub supplier. When it comes to the question regarding the entry of an ecosystem, the general trend seems to be an initial openness without any hesitations, albeit this is often expressed rather loosely. Answers vary from «the ecosystem is open» and «anybody is welcome» to «send an e-mail» - which might be interpreted as a general acceptance and willingness to participate in and furthering ones ecosystem, however without any actual strategy towards this end (which is admitted only by a few of the participants). Others claim that entry into the ecosystem would be based upon skills, knowledge and competencies. Others again would base this upon an evaluation of common goals and interests. Very few explicitly hold some sort of pledge of allegiance to the open source cause as an absolute condition. 7) A definition of an ecosystem might be, that it covers policies, strategies, processes, information, technologies, applications and stakeholders that together make up the technological environment for any given enterprise. Most importantly an ecosystem includes people – individuals who create, buy, sell, regulate manage and use open source technology. Therefore an ecosystem also covers the term usually referred to as “a network”. 8 The promise of Nordic Open Source collaboration
  15. 15. 1.3 Development from Traditional Licensing to Open Source Software The Nordic world of open source software, as it presents itself from within the repository, constitutes a diversified field with various different ways of doing business. The world of open source has gone a long way from being a primarily developer/programmer driven activity to being a thriving business sector including a rather large spectrum and different ways of doing business, be they based upon services, hardware work, integration and development of projects, products and regardless whether they take place within consultancies, as suppliers proper or partners etc. Even if open source activities might not yet be the most main streamed part of the world of software, then it has, at least risen well above ground level.8) Although open source software may not always be the most visible part (often not even to the agents themselves) of the fauna and flora of the software industry, it is at least flourishing in the lower parts of the environment. A clear indicator for the overall acceptance and widespread use of open source is the fact that a number of the respective companies seemingly quite easy cross the boundaries between closed and open source code software. The fact that possible business models within the open source world seem able to cover positions ranging from a traditional uncompromising open source purism to more tolerant (or at least pragmatist) attitudes towards the mixing of open and proprietary source code, only goes to show that open source quite naturally seem to have grown into and been adapted by an already existing world of business. Of course it might be due to the simple necessity that some companies (to different degrees and in dif- ferent ways) offer a mix of open and closed source code, but nevertheless it shows the almost inescapable persistency, with which the open source software has been entering the market. 2 Developing New OSS projects On the basis of this initial repository little can be said about the actual influence of the respective ecosystems regarding further development and the proliferation of open source. However, it must be assumed that the existence of larger networks and of actual (and durable) ecosystems enhances the overall possibility of spreading open source code software (regarding particular products as well as network based projects embracing several players). An ecosystem that endures over time is a condition for the use, reuse and integration of open source software, as well as a requirement for further business opportunities for the particular agent, simply by enhancing the reachable surfaces and contact possibilities for the firm in question. Are open source businesses to be more than just another service provider for a particular section of the software industry (as we have seen the provision of services is almost a mandatory obligation for a vast majority of the questioned companies in the repository), then such a system or systems are the precondition for the further development of software. If already conquered territory is to be retained and safeguarded against the threat of evaporating along with the ending of projects, finishing of products or simply to turn into questions of maintenance, service and support, then a durable framework needs to be provided, in which the players are offered the continuity necessary for the proliferation and recycling of open source related products and projects: A framework where the highly celebrated openness actually can take place and continue to take place. Lasting networks and actual well-established ecosystems are conditions for maintaining positions already gained, for further developing and growth of open source software related projects. The great problem is not the quantity and amount of open source related projects – there seems to be an abundance of projects within this particular world of the software industry. A great many and very diverse open source related projects take place along the lines of a variety of different business models.But in general there is only a little ecosystem present to preserve and maintain the recycling, integration and further development of open source software. In a great many of the cases discussed here, what is needed therefore is the establishing of a structure that allows for both openness and continuity – a framework that at the same time provides players with the necessary structure of sustainability, without having to reverse the current developments within the dustry towards proprietary software once again. 8) For further evidence see also the EUC report “Economic impact of open source software on innovation and the competitiveness of the Information and Communication Technologies sector in the EU” from 200: http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/ict/policy/doc/200--20-flossimpact.pdf The promise of Nordic Open Source collaboration
  16. 16. 2.1 Internationalisation within Open Source Software Regarding the question of internationalisation within the world open source software or related activities, the theme of ecosystems equally plays an important role when it comes to the overcoming of national boundaries. In a certain sense this takes place more or less on its own and by itself in world marked by globalisation and an extreme widening of spheres of interest. Nonetheless, the furthering open source code software and related projects cannot be left completely to itself. It must be nurtured and structured around frameworks, that are easily accessible, albeit not too loosely defined. The Open Nordic centre is off course not an ecosystem of its own. It is however intended to provide open source players in the Nordics with the frameworks within which to acquire access to larger networks, supporting the development of open source business ecosystems in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland. Basing itself on existing structures and open source promotion activities conducted by the different agencies in each of the Nordic countries, the Open Nordic virtual centre promotes open source solutions and is intended to enable networking between both providers and developers. The creation of a virtual Nordic code sharing site for public administrations has been the pivot in these efforts. Photo: Joanna Myszak 0 The promise of Nordic Open Source collaboration
  17. 17. Part 2: Nordic Code Sharing Site (Work package 3) The first part of the creation of the Virtual Nordic code-sharing site is finished and we have established a close and rewarding collaboration. A common taxonomy have been agreed upon as well as the methods for exchanging information and make searches in all the Nordic repositories possible. Connections to other repositories are established and we can see a growing interest for what is happening in the Nordic countries. There are a number of other areas that we don’t have fully explored yet, where the repositories could benefit from continuous collaboration. Background In general there are three different approaches on Open Source Software for the Public Administration to consider: • The use of existing Open Source Software as a replacement for more expensive, heavy and functionally overloaded or less appropriate proprietary software. This is typically the case when you change to Open- Office, Linux, MySQL and other similar products. The reason for this kind of change is mainly eco- nomic, but vendor independence and the possibility to use cheaper and standardised hardware are also important aspects. • The use of existing Open Source Software as a way of improving your IT-environment by introducing new features and functionality. This is typically the case when adding new software (or components) or changing your infrastructure. In the last years we have seen a number of implementations of Open Source Software as a way to create a more flexible and effective infrastructure by introducing middle- layer architectures, web services, SOA and other modern features. In this scenario there are complete applications as well as libraries and components to be used. • The development of new software. This is the case when there is no software in the market meeting your needs. The public sector has many specialized task and duties to perform, and software vendors do not meet most of them. Apart from the central office environment, where you often find a mature and well- established IT-structure, most of the employees in the Public Sector lack the necessary IT-resources in order to be able to improve the efficiency in their daily work. When the Public Sector gets involved in developing new software it is mainly done by professional consultants and vendors. The first two options are not that different from the usual way of acquiring software. You may have to chan- ge the way you do procurements and tenders, and you have to educate the people in charge of acquisition how to take advantage of the new possibilities brought by Open Source Software. One important aspect though for the Public Organizations is that they should share their knowledge and experience in order to improve the efficiency of the Public Sector in general. Specifications, the basis for procurement, evaluation criteria’s and other documents is easily shared and can reduce both time and efforts for other public organi- zations. The third option, developing your own software, is something you have to take into careful considera- tion. The benefits of having a well suited software that fulfill your needs and the opportunity to offer your employees new functions and excellent IT-resources in their daily work are quite obvious, but the risk of ending up with a complex system that you have to support during its lifetime is evident. This is why sharing and re-use is of such great importance, lowering the risk of unique solutions used by just one organisation and instead create groups – communities – of public bodies and vendors developing and taking care of the software together. When the Public Sector engages in developing software, the coding and development it’s almost always done by professional consultants. In some rare occasions the development is done by the ITC-department itself, but in general the Public Sector acts as buyers, specifying the functionality and performance, wor- king closely together with the vendor, monitoring the progress and testing the result. As a buyer you have to make sure that you are the owner of the resulting software so that you can share it with others as Open Source. Software developed by the Public Sector should be shared as Open Source Software whenever it’s possible. There are a number of licenses to choose between, so you will certainly be able to find one that suits your (and your lawyers) needs. The promise of Nordic Open Source collaboration
  18. 18. There are some general structures that have to be at hand in order to make it possible to share code deve- loped by the Public Administration. One is of course a place on Internet where you can publish your own code and find code from other organisations. Such a site is called a repository or forge. Another prerequi- site is knowledge and methods how to do share your code. Since this is a new phenomenon there are some uncertainty how to behave and what laws and regulations that could be of guidance. A third requirement is the insight and awareness that sharing and collaboration between the Public institutions is both necessary and rewarding. Changing the mindset of people is always a time consuming and patience proving process, but one that will pay off in the end. In order to promote the sharing between the Public Sectors in the Nordics we have focused on creating a virtual repository for Open Source Software in the Nordic Countries, formed by the existing national repo- sitories. • Repositories and sharing The following statement is the fundament on which we have built the Virtual Open Source Repository for the Nordic Countries: Software developed on behalf of the Public Sector should by default be published as Open Source and thereby made available for others to use. Software developed by a public institution in order to provide a good and well-suited IT-support for the civil servants whit-in the organization may be as useful to other, similar public organizations. The work being done by one public body could therefore be of great value to another public body for a very low cost and result in a more efficient public sector and substantial cost savings on a national or even Nordic level. The structure and responsibilities of the public sector in the Nordic Countries are quite similar and even more so between the public bodies in each country. The potential of sharing and collaboration are in that respect quite obvious if we can provide structures and methods for sharing and re-use. Repositories aimed at the public sector can be found all over Europe. A common EU-initiative called OSOR have been under construction for some time and was launched at a meeting in Brussels in the mid of June 2008. During the project participants from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden have been involved in the OSOR-project and have had some substantial impact on the result, meaning that in the coming years the Nordic repositories will find it easy to collaborate with OSOR, on a policy level as well on the technical side. The strategies behind the Nordic repositories has proven to work very well and can provide the Nordic Countries with a solid platform in the European context. The Nordic repositories (now present in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden) has focused on publis- hing open source software develop by the public sector and at the same time strengthen and visualize the collaboration with the private vendors. The Public Sector needs professional tools developed by profes- sional programmers, developed in a tight collaboration with the people that are going to use it. The Nordic software archives (as most of the software repositories) have two separate parts (except from the Finnish archive that so fort just have the website): • A user-oriented area, usually a website with information, news, search, forums and publications. • A development area with software archives, bug reporting, development timelines and other technical oriented tools. 2 The promise of Nordic Open Source collaboration
  19. 19. The website The website makes it possible for the intended users to find and learn about the available software without being programmers. The person responsible for the software can publish specifications, user experiences, the plans and ideas for further development and find others to discuss with. In order to create a virtual repository it is important to establish common structures. Using a common taxonomy makes it possible to search for software in other repositories. During the project we have decided to use a simplified version of the IDABC taxonomy for categorization of the published software. This will make it easy to compare software in our national archives as well as to collaborate with archives outside the Nordics. The IDABC taxonomy may in the future have to be combined with other of taxonomies and other ways of categorization, for example user tagging. News feeds (RSS) are a common and useful way of distributing news to other websites or persons. All the Nordic repositories use RSS as a way of sharing information and updates. RSS is also the basis for the pos- sibility to find software in other archives by a single search in one of the repositories. RSS-feeds stored in a local database using the agreed taxonomy enable you to search in your native tongue and find software in other repositories. Even if you are not familiar with the language of the description of the software you at least know that the software you have found is within your line of search. Another part of the website concerns the vendors and the question of how to avoid lock-ins and instead create a vibrant market with enterprises competing with their knowledge and skills. One important aspect of the Open Source licenses is the opportunity to replace one vendor with another. With proprietary soft- ware you usually has to replace both the vendor and the software if you for some reason isn’t satisfied with the software you are using. Using Open Source Software puts you in the position of choosing a new vendor but keep on with the software. The vendor that has been engaged in the development of the software is of course in a better position than other vendors, due to the knowledge acquired during the development and that can lead to a sort of vendor lock-in. It’s important that the structure of the repository has some me- chanism that stimulates competition and give all vendors, not just the prior one, the opportunity to offer support and further development. One way to deal with this issue is to give the vendors the option to list them selves onto the software they feel that they can support. The vendors declare by listing them onto a specific piece of software that they have the knowledge and skill needed in order to offer good services based around that software. Developer’s area Apart from the user-oriented website the repositories also have a more technical structure, aimed for deve- lopers, programmers and project leaders. This is the forge, the place where the code is published and the de- velopment is made visible. The code could emerge in any of the different development phases: the first raw version, more developed stages to the final code, version 1.0. There are functions for reporting a bug, version tracking, and the appearance of new builds and of course the timeline for the development and when the different versions are to be released. At the present stage these parts of the Nordic repositories are used as archives, and they contain the first major versions, 1.0 of the published software. In the future there may be some project that will use more, maybe even all of the functions of the forges. A virtual Nordic code-sharing site – work and results During the last 18 months we have held five workshops regarding the collaboration between the forges. The discussions have focused on taxonomy, strategies and policies, exchange of news and how to populate the repositories. The two existing repositories have strengthened their position and two more repositories have been established. The work with the repositories has attracted a lot of media coverage and interest from a lot of people. The experiences and findings have been discussed and described in workshops, seminars and conferences. The managers of the Nordic repositories have been active in the European community and played a vital role in the progress of OSOR, the EU-repository. The discussions and collaboration between the Nordic countries have been of great importance, creating a platform for the Nordic Public Sector and the Nordic vendors in the European Open Source Community. A common taxonomy have been agreed upon as well as the methods for exchanging information and make searches in all the Nordic repositories possible. The promise of Nordic Open Source collaboration
  20. 20. Two of the repositories are built upon the same software, a practical example of successful code sharing. We have focused on how to promote and make it easier to share code, not just deposit it in the forge. Some examples are present from Denmark, Norway and Sweden, but this is an area that has to be explored and investigated further. At all the major Open Source Conferences aimed at the Public Sector, both in the Nordics as well in Europe, the Nordic initiative regarding code sharing, collaboration and promotion of open Source Software has been presented by speakers from the participating organisations. Connections to other repositories are established and we can see a growing interest for what is happening in the Nordic countries. The repositories are now parts of Competence Centres in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. The question of Open Source in the Public Sector is not limited to just use and re-use of software. Open standards, architectural issues, security, quality and the building of communities are other aspects that have to be put into consideration. By forming Competence Centres the repositories are part of a more coherent context and can play an important role in a modernisation of the Public Sector. Conclusion and recommendations The first part of the Virtual Nordic code-sharing site is finished. We have a close collaboration and methods for exchange of news are established. There are a number of other areas that we don’t have fully explored yet, where the repositories could benefit from continuous collaboration. A common Nordic software market for Opens Source Software is not that far away if we continue with our efforts. The Nordic initiative have played a part in forming the European repository and we have the oppor- tunity to establish a strong and vibrant platform for the Nordic Public Sector as well as for the Nordic vendors. The EU-repository – OSOR – will undergo some serious development the coming years and it’s important that the Nordic countries keep on collaborating with OSOR, but even more important play an active part in the process. We have to examine the nature of communities where the Public Sector is to be involved; this is so far a totally unexplored area. The traditional Open Source community can be described as a developer- community, with a lot of active programmers. This is a model that’s not suitable for the Public Sector as is. We should try to use the very successful community model but with some moderations so that ordinary users can participate together with project leaders and developers. Both research and case studies is needed to understand how re-use of publicly developed software can occur. Code-sharing is not just about publishing code, but more important about re-use, collaborative development and refining the software in order to create a more effective Public Sector working with well suited, specialised software. Photo: Rune Tollisen The promise of Nordic Open Source collaboration
  21. 21. Part 3: Developer Networking Introduction Open source is a working model and unique creation of software developers and developer communities. Distributed development and the ability of talented developers to solve meaningful problems collaboratively is - now and in for future - the core success factor of open source. As the role of open source in software business has rapidly increased, it has become very important for software companies to understand how open source communities work and how they can interact with these communities, their culture and their ways of operation. The starting point of this work package was an analysis of the network relationships of open source developers. An illustration of these relationships is given in figure 1. The figure indicates that the network relationships are very complex and versatile. OSS Developer Networks my project users my community other communities other companies Universities professional networks: Research My own LinkedIn, Ohloh etc company Figure 1. The network relationships of open source developers. Based on this analysis and related discussion, the Open Nordic team soon realised that in the further steps of the work package there is a clear need to focus on some aspects of the networking and collaboration. Based on the mission of the overall Open Nordic project, that is to support and promote open source business in the Nordic countries, a selection was made to focus on business - developer community relationships as illustrated in the blue area in the figure 1. Following this focus, the refined objective of the work package is to: • provide a summary of the latest information about the fundamentals of the nature open source developer community – business collaboration • provide insights about best practices related to business - developer community interaction and collaboration. The promise of Nordic Open Source collaboration
  22. 22. The Finnish Tekes-funded research project “Managing OSS as an Integrated Part of Business (OSSI)” (2005- 2007) has been a major source of knowledge and material in the work package. The researchers of this project have presented the results is several events of the project. OSSI- project developed a management framework by examining the phenomena of open source from the perspectives of sociology, technology and business. The business perspective was further divided in the research project to legal aspects, economics, business models, competitive strategy and value networks. For further information and reports of the project, please visit http:// www.coss.fi/web/coss/research/ossi . Types of open source communities and collaboration In a survey conducted by the OSSI-project among a group of leading open source communities (Gnome, Eclipse, Debian and MySQL), the overall attitude of communities towards company participation was sur- prisingly positive. Thus, the main question related to developer – business -collaboration is not if it is desirable and beneficial, but rather how it can be organised. The research groups suggests that FOSS communities may be divided into different categories according to idealised types, and that answering to the “how” question of participation must be differentiated according to the typology. Traditionally, OSS communities have been started as volunteer projects (e.g., GNU project, Linux kernel, De- bian). The traditional picture of hacker culture (see, e.g., Raymond 1999, Levy 1984) as an informal self-organi- zing bazaar of having fun while programming has largely been based on volunteer communities like these. Ho- wever, the traditional picture has recently changed considerably with more and more companies participating in OSS communities either by letting their employers work on OSS or by directly hiring developers working on OSS. Increasingly companies also initiate OSS communities either by releasing previously closed code or by directly engaging in OSS development from the start. Consequently, a continuum of communities from volunteer- based to company-based has appeared. Most generally, this shift can be observed on the level of the ethos of communities: the ideologically organized ways in which labour is understood, maintained and given meaning. The self-organizing volunteer way of “working for fun” has been dubbed “hacker ethics”. For example Pekka Himanen wants to explicitly contrast hacker ethics with the more well-known salary-based commercial ethics that prevails in modern corporations, where a divi- sion and rationalization of labour takes place based on institutional rules and hierarchies. Consequently, the characterization of OSS communities to volunteer-based or company- based does not mean (mainly) the initiation of the project, but rather the basic ideological framework that motivates and structures the operations of the community. Typically, a company-based community has hierarchical structures, deploys monetary rewards and divides labour on the basis of pre-set goals. In contrast, volunteer-based communities are self-organized, ground motivation on extra-monetary rewards and work on the basis of informal goal-setting (either anarchic, democratic or meritocratic). Today OSS communities are typically a mix of the two extremes. The work ethics of a community are closely tied to forms of decision making. Typically a self-organized community will favour decentralized decision ma- king. One extreme is given by the decision on release dates in Debian: whenever the release is ready. In contrast, software development by and in a company will typically be centralized, with one source of authority deciding on, e.g., roadmaps and schedules. A middle ground between these two extremes is often sought by establishing a foundation or a similar organ that gives voice both to volunteers and the various institutions taking an interest in a given software development project. The foundation may guide development and structure schedules. Furthermore, communities may be classified on the basis of their age or maturity, size and the type of license in use: Size of the community. It can be assumed that a larger community is always more sustainable but potentially increases problem complexity for company participation. The size of the community must also reach a certain minimum size in order to make the open source effect work. Maturity of the community. This refers to the strength of the social and cultural ties, traditions and practices. A mature community is often old in age, and has developed common guidelines and best practices. The promise of Nordic Open Source collaboration
  23. 23. Communication and decision-making structures of the community. Different systems of governance exist in free/open source software communities, including democracy, meritocracy and dictatorship. Here special attention is given at how centralised communication is. This tells something about the governance structure, hierarchy and bottlenecks. License. The type of free/open source software license chosen by the community potentially affects who will participate in the community. Licenses can be classified based on how strong copyleft effect they have. GNU General Public License, for example, is a strong copyleft license, while Eclipse Public License gives more freedom, and licenses like the BSD license are not copyleft at all. When these four elements are combined with the volunteer/company axis, differences between communities can be identified as can be seen in figure 2 (with examples). Hybridity Volunteer Mixed Company Small Wordpress MySQL, Laika Size Medium OpenBSD Mozilla OpenSolaris Linux (kernel) Large Debian Eclipse GNOME Young Gnash Laika Maturity Developing Wordpress Mozilla OpenSolaris, Darwin Established GNU, Debian Linux (kernel) MySQL Decentralized Debian Eclipse Decision- Balanced Linux (kernel) making Centralized GNU Mozilla MySQL Non-copyleft OpenBSD Apache Eclipse, OpenSolaris, License Weak copyleft Mozilla Darwin Strong Linux (kernel) GNU MySQL copyleft GNOME Figure 2. Classification of open source communities. The promise of Nordic Open Source collaboration 7
  24. 24. In the classification above, we can see both differences and similarities between communities. Based on this analysis, some ideal types can be identified which characterise some of the most prominent differences between communities. Four ideal types of open source communities can be identified: • Centralized, company-driven, small community (e.g. MySQL) • Large community, several companies, business work ethics (e.g. Eclipse) • Large community, several companies, hacker background (e.g. Linux kernel) • Volunteer, decentralized, large (e.g. Debian) Correspondingly, different types of business-developer co-operation can be considered suitable with these types. Typically, small communities are more vulnerable. Here the risk of losing high-profile developers is considerable. On the other end, large communities often contain some inertia and may be susceptible to forks and internal disputes. From the perspective of sustainability, a large community that has also many participating companies is ideal. Diversity is the key to longevity in the open source ecosystem, as elsewhere. Based on the research and current knowledge, the following dos and donts for company- community collaboration can be presented for different types of communities: Centralized, company-driven, small community do: direct co-operation with the company do: customization in co-operation with the company risk: sustainability dependent on single company Large community, several companies, business work ethics do: involve own developers in the community do: collaboration with companies do: genuine contribution to community do: involvement in the decision making organs (e.g., Eclipse Foundation) don’t: expect spontaneous development of code Large community, several companies, hacker background do: involve own developers in the community do: quality contributions (“Show me the code!”) do: involvement in the Open Source Development Labs do: good open source citizenship and sharing do: acknowledge community values don’t try to push development without participating and contributing Volunteer, decentralized, large community do: support community (public acknowledgement) do: acknowledge community values do: be aware of licensing policies do: in case of a problem, do-it-yourself don’t: use the software against the license terms risk: internal tensions risk: hard to keep deadlines Table 1. Do’s and don’ts for companies collaborating with different kinds of communities. 8 The promise of Nordic Open Source collaboration
  25. 25. Open source community sustainability evaluation As several studies on OSS communities indicate, open source communities do share some common characteristics (male dominance, relatively high level of education), but are also different in important respects. For instance, the developers of Eclipse and MySQL are as a trend roughly ten years older than those of GNOME and Debian. Also the motivations for participating in OSS development are different (for details, see Mikkonen, Vainio Vadén 2007). Consequently, in open source business we need tools to assess the risks that the various communities face. Recognising some of the bottle-necks of community growth and sustainability will help a long way in establishing fruitful co-operation and managing open source business risks. Below, the evaluatory factors of the open source community risk profile are grouped in four sets, cultural, social, legal and economic. Social sustainability of a community relies on the individual characteristics of its members, on its size and form, and the division of labour and power in the community. Cultural sustainability of a com- munity is defined by its traditions and history that create and shape its social and ethical norms and practices. While social sustainability is a matter of interaction between individuals, cultural sustainability is something that is created during a longer time period as the community matures. The importance of legal risk management in the OSS world has risen sharply during the last decade. The economic significance of software has drawn also the attention of the legal community and as the result the risk of getting sued for patent or copyright infringement is today very real. Finally, economic sustainability is one matter in volunteer based communities, and quite another in communities led by strong companies. However, for both extremes the problem of resources is anything but solved, and different models are constantly evolving and experimented with. Based on the current understanding and findings of the OSSI-research project, the following check list for identification of open source community characteristics and risks can be presented. Social dimension . Are there more than 20 active developers? 2. Does the community have a trusted main developer? . Does the community have developers with high technical skills? . Is the project cool enough the attract new developers? Cultural dimension . Does the community have a charter that defines the common principles and goals? 2. Is the development process open and inclusive? . Does the community have members who participate for ideological reasons? . Does the community have members that work for pay? Legal dimension . Does the community have legal expertise? 2. Does the software use a major open source license? . Does the software handle legally risky topics (p2p, encryption etc.)? . Does the economic footprint of the community attract law suits? Economic dimension . Is the maintenance of technical infrastructure on a sustainable basis? 2. Is some of the development work funded by companies? . Are some companies dependent on the community? . Does the community have funding for conferences and workshops? Table 2. Check list for defining open source community sustainability. The promise of Nordic Open Source collaboration
  26. 26. Evaluation of open source software A reasoning to use open source software as a part of business has two sides, internal and external. Usually most of analysis focuses on external issues, for instance how to select the best piece of software or how to assess the viability of a particular community. However, internal issues may play vital role in succeeding implementation of open source. Internal analysis should start with recognizing current and future needs. Questions that are useful in recognizing the reasons behind selecting open source software are, for example, the following: • Analyzing time scale and urgency • How soon the output should be on market? • What is the overall life cycle of the output? • Analyzing firms own resources and competences • What competences you need to a) select b) acquire c) maintain a software (this issue relates closely to outsourcing/purchasing) • How much resources you are able to invest for this issue? • Analyzing the reasons to use open source software • Can you recognize your explicit and implicit motives? • Why it is a strategic decision? • What are the main drivers? • What is the proposed use: are you going to use that particular piece of software in experimenting, piloting or production? • Analyzing the status of relevant information • Do you know what you do not know? • Analyzing the future • When the decisions are made, what consequences will follow? An assessment task is about tradeoff between accuracy and time (i.e., money). Depending on answers on the questions above, one should make decisions what will be the needed level of information. An analytical and detailed approach may be too time- or resource- consuming when the software is just being experimented. In the OSSI- project four evaluation tools for assessing Open Source products or projects were identified as the “best-of-breed”: • Optaros’ Enterprise Readiness (ER) model • Open Source Maturity Model (OSMM) by B. Golden • Model for Qualification and Selection of Open Source Software (QSOS) • Business Readiness Rating (BRR). The project concludes that using a method like BRR is recommendable when a maturity of OSS is under eva- luation. The value is not only in the final result the method produces, but the process itself. It gives a structured way for investigating the software product. The final number indicating the maturity does not reveal some risks of the software. On the other hand a small number definitely reveals that the product is not mature. The lessons learned by using the existing evaluation methods led the research group to believe that a two-step evaluation is necessary. The user-role and intended use have a tremendous effect on how the software, the com- munity and the interaction should be approached. Not only are communities different from each other, also the user-roles necessitate various types of analysis and involve different types of risks. 20 The promise of Nordic Open Source collaboration
  27. 27. Conclusions and recommendations The OpenNordic project (as we ended up using as project name) has delivered an extremely valuable contribution in the work to tap the OSS value potential in the Nordics. The project has created a number of Nordic meeting places for players usually operating primarily on a national basis: • The national OpenSource Competency Centers • Public sector representatives at both national and regional levels. • Universities with OSS related education and research spanning academic areas from sociology, law, economic, business administration to computer Science • The ICT Business Associations and their OSS related networks • Politicians influencing: - the development of ICT sector and specifically the software industry - How the public sector buy, develop and support the software behind all the new digital public services. Most of these meeting places will survive the project and make a permanent contribution to Nordic collabora- tion. Still some of them needs to be fed and nurtured by new projects in order to reach critical mass. The project has effectively demonstrated how national strengths can be built into Nordics strengths by open collaboration and sharing of software, competencies, research, events and conferences. We have also been able to build a joint Nordic brand, OpenNordic, holding the potential to add a joint Nordic identity to OSS related work by vendors, users and academia and helping the Nordics be more visible on the global arena . The projects have identified a number of areas where future collaboration will make a big difference. The key cooperation areas and their specific challenges are illustrated below. Collaboration area Key challenge Who could participate Political focus on the OSS Move current strong political support in Governments, Nordic council, Public opportunity for the Nordics- Norway to more countries and make the agencies both as builders of an advanced Norwegian political support more robust. public eService offering and as a business case for increased software based export. Sharing of code for use in Only a small fraction of code shared in The national Competency centers private and public sectors current repositories are being used and in collaboration with OSS vendor and building of sustainable enhanced because they lack an active association, developer and user communities around the code community and an ecosystem . We communities and related Research and need to learn more involved actors the Education institutions best practices of building a sustainable community/ecosystem Procurement of software based Current procedures, buying cultures Governments, public agencies and solutions in public sector and competencies of public purchasers bodies. are keeping OSS based solutions and vendors out of the public sector OSS related education and A nonexistent and at best a very Nordic Universities and University research fragmented offering in an area where the Colleges, research institutions in biggest growth barriers is the availability technology, social sciences, economic of talents and business development. Venture Capital interest and Lack of insights into OSS related business Business angels with experience in OSS. funding availability models, practices and strategies VC associations, ICT associations. Strengthening the OpenNordic A large portion of the OSS related events Current “owners” of the OpenNordic brand and establish more and networks are national only. This brand; primarily the competency permanent transnordic events reduces our ability to make Nordic and centers, the ICT associations and the and communities global collaborations succeed in the current networks controlling key OSS global arena events. The promise of Nordic Open Source collaboration 2
  28. 28. 22 The promise of Nordic Open Source collaboration
  29. 29. APPENDIX 1: Summary of WP Responsible and Deliveries The project has organized in 5 workpackages (WP) Work package 1 Project administration and management Main Responsible: COSS Finland ( creating a website and a repository, gather and structure data) and IKT-Norge Norway (reporting to NIC and organizing meetings) Other responsible: All partners must contribute Work package 2 Create a repository of business models best practice of OSS projects in the Nordics Main Responsible: Foreningen for open source leverandører (OSL) Denmark Other responsible: All partners must contribute Work package 3 Create a virtual Nordic code sharing site. Main responsible: The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and the Federation of Swedish County Councils. Other responsible : All partners must contribute Work package 4 Developer networking Main responsible: COSS, Finland Other responsible: All partners must contribute Work package 5 Nordic conference and public relations Main responsible: IKT-Norge, Norway Other responsible: All partners must contribute PLANNED DELIVERIES WP1: Project administration and management WP2: Create a repository of business models best practice of OSS projects in the Nordics Find and structure development projects in the Nordics Host Nordic meeting where criteria of success are being agreed upon Host Nordic conference on the subjects Host Nordic conference on OSS companies and funding with Nordic VCs WP3 Create a virtual Nordic code sharing site. Host Nordic workshops on the aspects of sharing code in general, and the public sector in particular Publish and spread experience and knowledge on ongoing work on sharing software repository in Sweden, done by SALAR. Explore the code sharing initiatives in the Nordic countries Connect the Nordic repositories in to create a common structure Collaborate with different repositories in EU and participate in establishing the EU-repository, an initiative by IDABC. Host Nordic workshops on the different aspects of sharing intellectual property developed and owned by the public sector. WP4:Developer networking Information about relevant and successful developer communities in the Nordics. Host Nordic meeting where criteria of relevance and success are being agreed upon Host Nordic conference for OSS developers from relevant communities WP5: Nordic conference and public relations when: during whole project Give media et al information on the progress of the project. Have joint Nordic press conference at least two times during the projects. Focusing on the deliverables from the projects and the overall status of OSS in the Nordics. Host a conference at the end of the projects where business, public, sector, and politicians are invited together with represetatives from media. The promise of Nordic Open Source collaboration I
  30. 30. APPENDIX 2: Business models for open source and nordic collaboration A business-model for exchange of software and knowledge 1 Results of large survey on Danish software use and perceptions 2 The use of operating systems 5 Software applications 7 Decision parameters 8 General decision parameters 9 Operational reliability 10 Flexibility 10 Security 11 The decision-making process 14 Pros and cons 16 Summary of the study 18 Collaboration among the suppliers and consumers – Supplier-driven sites. 18 The Danish Software Exchange. 19 Better Software 20 Breaking barriers 20 Custom applications creates interaction 20 A design framework 21 Conclusion 21 A business-model for exchange of software and knowledge The purpose of this paper is to investigate and evaluate business models for the development of a joint Nordic hub for open source software. In Denmark the possibilities for this has been researched during a 2006 survey of perceptions of and inhibitors to the use of open source software. The results gathered from this research wil be presented in this paper along with the experiences of the Danish Software Exchange and the business model it is based on. There are many aspects to be aware of when developing a business model to use in a market of open source software. First of all the participants in the market must all have a net gain from their actions. If not, then there are no incentive to participate. These gains can be economic gains, but also more subtle gains, ie. prestige etc. If the market are to function well, there is a need for the participants to have an incentive to return there and keep supplying their knowledge and activities. Therefore the marketplace should be an engine for ongoing contact among the different agents in the market and not only a single-use place. Based on the observations mentioned above, it is important to tie the users of the marketplace together both crossing the national boundaries and the ordinary supplier/customer relationship. This argument will be further explained below – also backed by the results from the survey as described in the next chapter. Results of large survey on Danish software use and perceptions In the recent years increasing attention has been given to the field of open source. EU has been involved in the FLOSS- project1) , which has contributed a large number of studies of structure and engagement within the market of open source software. The FLOSS-project has examined the market for open source in a number of different countries in relation to use of software and general attitudes towards the different types of software licences. The studies, carried out in 2001 – 2002, have uncovered many aspects of both public and private companies use and opinions on open source software. Furthermore, the companies’ opinions on pros and cons of the use of the software have been uncovered. Subsequently, the FLOSS-project has developed the FLOSS-POLS-project which, at the moment, is examining the effects that the use of open source software has on different areas of European society. ) See more about FLOSS at http://flossproject.org II The promise of Nordic Open Source collaboration
  31. 31. The FLOSS-POLS describes their research objective as follows: ”The FLOSS project (funded by IST/FP5) resulted in the single largest knowledge base on open source usage and de- velopment worldwide, and filled some of these gaps, at least in our understanding of the economic and development models behind open source. Not enough knowledge exists, however, in the critical area of policy formation: the impact of policy choices on open source, and the effect of open source on available policy options and government actions are not well known. The support action builds on the FLOSS project to fill in important gaps in the understanding of open source with a focus on specific gaps in the policy application domain.” 2) FLOSS-POLS want to analyse the following aspects: • evaluating government policy on open source • understanding gender issues in open source • modelling open source as a system for collaborative problem-solving The studies in this project are still running but already now there is a large amount of data at disposal concerning the use of open source software in public organisations, and development of experiences and skills in relation to open source. Further studies in relation to the use of open source in the public sector have been carried out in Sweden, where the applicability of publicly developed software must be distributed by sharing the developed software as open source. ”Computer software that has been developed with tax revenues should be used to benefit as many citizens as possible. Those responsible for developing this software should also participate in distributing the benefits to others. Promote co-ordination and diffusion of computer programs among public authorities by making this software ‘open source’!3) The Swedish project analyses the possibilities and legal implications of issuing publicly developed software as open source. This analysis has been continued in research from another project financed by the EU called Public Sector open source software (PS-OSS).4) The project analyses the effect it would have on society and software development if public authorities issue their software as open source, and whether open source in general, is the best method for knowledge sharing and exchange of software. In a working paper from November 2006 these questions are thoroughly dealt with by real examples from different parts of Europe. The studies that have been mentioned, which are all running or have been completed, have contributed substantially to the overall knowledge about the use and potential of open source software. To support and build the knowledge of incentives and strategies, a supplemental study was carried out in Denmark. The purpose of this study is to uncover what incentives companies have, as a basis for their choice and use of software. Why have they chosen the way they have, and do they have any thoughts about change of strategy? The study was car- ried out in spring 2006 in March and April. A total of 8,000 possible respondents were drawn out for the customer study. After treatment of data and elimination of branches, duplicates etc., 7,764 possible respondents remained. From these, 779 companies chose to answer the questionnaire. This means that the response rate of this study is just above 10%. For this study respondents were chosen on the basis of their primary trade association, the way it is registered in the Danish company registry. To get a picture that reflects the situation in Denmark, it has been aimed to target the ques- tionnaire study at a group of respondents that has the same trade distribution as Denmark in general. In 2004 there were 282,968 registered companies in Denmark.5) This means that the questionnaire study includes answers from 2,75 ‰ of Danish companies. Statistics Denmark divides companies in lines of businesses according to different systems. The most superior system is called the 9-breakdown and breaks the Danish companies down, as the name implies, into 9 lines of business. In the table below, the relation between all Danish companies and the respon- dents of the study is shown. 2) From http://www.flosspols.org/outline.php ) From http://ec.europa.eu/idabc/servlets/Doc?id=20 ) See more on http://www.publicsectoross.info/ ) Statistics Denmark – Statistikbanken.dk. The number for 200 is the most recent available number. The promise of Nordic Open Source collaboration III
  32. 32. Distribution of lines of business for companies All companies 200 Actual respondents Line of business Number Percentage Number Percentage . Agriculture, fishery and extraction of raw material , .% 28 .% 2. Industry 8, .% 00 2.8% . Energy and water supply , .% .% . Building and planning 28, 0.2% .7% . Trade, hotel and restaurants 2,0 2.% 2 .7% . Transport, post and tele ,7 .2% 28 .% 7. Financing and business service 8,7 2.% 8 .% 8. Public and private services 8,7 .7% 20 0.8% . non-informed activity / Other 0.2% 87 2.0% Total 282,8 00% 77 00% Source: Statistics Denmark – Statistikbanken.dk, and own numbers. As seen in the table above, there are similarities but also differences between the line division in the questionnaire study and in the official trade statistics. This imbalance could be due to respondents having to state their line associa- tion themselves, and that it has been chosen to include all public organs to ensure a high response rate from this part. This causes a certain possibility of error since part of the companies haven’t been able to, or had knowledge about, their own line of business as regards stating their association in relation to the 9-breakdown, which is seen in the very large response rate of “Uninformed activity / Other”, by the respondents. In the illustration below, the numbers from the above table are illustrated. Distribution of lines of business in the questionnaire study compared to general line of business statistics The line of business numbering refers to the numbering in the table above Source: Statistics Denmark – Statistikbanken.dk, and own calculations. Again, it appears that there are certain differences. A source of error could be, that there are differences between the lines of business in relation to how inclined they are to answer questionnaires. It is obvious that respondents from the public organisations (group 8) have been diligent respondents compared to the primary producers in group 1 that haven’t answered to as high a degree. More than 30 percent of the study’s respondents are from group 8 that includes public and private services. This covers the total public administration and a large number of public and private service trades. Again, it must be underlined, that there are more public organisations in our sample than the correspond- ing share in Denmark. Because of the somewhat uneven distribution compared to the general distribution of lines of business in the country, analyses within lines of business must be seen in the light of the distribution of answers that appear. With the above reservations concerning division in lines of business, the results of the study will be covered in the following. IV The promise of Nordic Open Source collaboration

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