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1Samsung Open Source Group © SAMSUNG Electronics Co.
The Pre-Open Sourcing
Sanity Check
Brian Warner
Senior Open Source St...
2Samsung Open Source Group © SAMSUNG Electronics Co.
It’s really easy to say,
“Let’s create an open source project!”
…it’s...
3
The Pre-Open Sourcing Sanity Check
Can we do it?
•  Do we have
the skills and
bandwidth to
do this right?
Should we do
i...
4
CAN WE DO IT?
Samsung Open Source Group © SAMSUNG Electronics Co.
5
Pillars of internal support:
Code, Skills, and Willpower.
The code
•  It may require work to release as
open source, but...
6
SHOULD WE DO IT?
Samsung Open Source Group © SAMSUNG Electronics Co.
7
Why build an alliance around an open
source project?
•  A technology is in the early stages of being defined, without br...
8
When would you not want to create an
open source alliance?
History shows there are a number of situations which virtuall...
9
What other alternatives are out there?
You don’t always need to do something new.
Other projects may already exist that ...
10
WHO WILL WE DO IT WITH?
Samsung Open Source Group © SAMSUNG Electronics Co.
11
Why would others join you?
If the code is available and anyone can contribute, why would
others bother joining in?
Typi...
12
HOW WILL WE DO IT?
Samsung Open Source Group © SAMSUNG Electronics Co.
13
Open Source Best Practices
The Right
Governance Model
The Right License
Technical and
Hosting
Infrastructure
Critical M...
14
Open Source Best Practices:
The Right Governance Model
Governance is what provides equal footing to contributors and
en...
15
OSS Best Practices:
Governance
Board of Directors
•  501(c)6 non-profit.
•  Makes non-technical decisions.
Technical St...
16
OSS Best Practices:
Governance – Board of Directors
Responsible for corporate organization, marketing, press, legal, IP...
17
OSS Best Practices:
Governance – TSC
Membership
•  Merit-based, typically workgroup maintainers
•  If workgroups are co...
18
OSS Best Practices:
Governance – Workgroups
Membership
•  Anyone may participate in a workgroup as a contributor (inclu...
19
Open Source Best Practices:
Have a neutral home for collaboration
In order for a technical project to become a key pan-...
20
Open Source Best Practices:
The right open source license
Choosing the right open source license is just as important a...
21
Open Source Best Practices:
Awareness and Reach
An open source project needs developers and users to become a
relevant ...
22
Open Source Best Practices:
Critical Mass at Launch
There are thousands of open source projects; the successful ones
sh...
23
In conclusion…
•  It takes a lot of work to launch a new open source project, but it
can also be really exciting to see...
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The Pre-Open Sourcing Sanity Check

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Brian Warner covers the questions you need to answer before releasing an internal project as open source

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The Pre-Open Sourcing Sanity Check

  1. 1. 1Samsung Open Source Group © SAMSUNG Electronics Co. The Pre-Open Sourcing Sanity Check Brian Warner Senior Open Source Strategist Samsung Open Source Group brian.warner@samsung.com
  2. 2. 2Samsung Open Source Group © SAMSUNG Electronics Co. It’s really easy to say, “Let’s create an open source project!” …it’s really hard to actually do it.
  3. 3. 3 The Pre-Open Sourcing Sanity Check Can we do it? •  Do we have the skills and bandwidth to do this right? Should we do it? •  Will this contribute positively to our strategic goals? Who will we do it with? •  Have we calibrated our expectations for external participation? How will we do it? •  Have we thought through all of the nuances? Samsung Open Source Group © SAMSUNG Electronics Co. Samsung’s Open Source Group uses a rigorous and structured process to evaluate internal proposals for new open source projects and alliances. The very first step in the process is to ask some fundamental questions, because the last thing anybody wants is a failure to thrive.
  4. 4. 4 CAN WE DO IT? Samsung Open Source Group © SAMSUNG Electronics Co.
  5. 5. 5 Pillars of internal support: Code, Skills, and Willpower. The code •  It may require work to release as open source, but you have to start with something tangible. •  Your open source group can guide you through the cleanup and due diligence required to release code. The skills •  You must have people familiar with the code available and committed to the process. •  These individuals will form the core of the project’s technical leadership. The willpower •  Do we agree on an internal definition of success? •  Do we have the budget and internal support to see the project past this point? Samsung Open Source Group © SAMSUNG Electronics Co. The first step is to ask, “Do we have what we need to get started?”
  6. 6. 6 SHOULD WE DO IT? Samsung Open Source Group © SAMSUNG Electronics Co.
  7. 7. 7 Why build an alliance around an open source project? •  A technology is in the early stages of being defined, without broad industry agreement on a standard model or implementation. Leading by example •  Current technology is burdened with legacy complexity or proprietary implementations and needs to be proactively replaced. Modernizing the stack •  You can disrupt an incumbent competitor by collaborative producing neutral software alongside other organizations with similar strategic goals. Competing more effectively Samsung Open Source Group © SAMSUNG Electronics Co. It’s usually about one (or more) of these things:
  8. 8. 8 When would you not want to create an open source alliance? History shows there are a number of situations which virtually guarantee failure when releasing something as open source. The issue is generally not technology, but rather mismatched expectations between the initiator and the rest of the world. Poor reasons to create an open source alliance: •  You are expect others to maintain code you need, while eliminating your own engineering resources. •  As a retirement strategy for code you no longer need or care about (abandonware). •  When the source code is deeply tied to other code that can’t be open sourced due to IP coverage. Samsung Open Source Group © SAMSUNG Electronics Co.
  9. 9. 9 What other alternatives are out there? You don’t always need to do something new. Other projects may already exist that need minor or major modification, but would be less work than starting from scratch. Good questions to ask: •  Can you join and adapt an existing open source project to meet your needs? •  If you don’t have the internal open source experience you need, can you work with business partners or consultants who do? •  If you have enough time, could you do this as a traditional standards effort? Samsung Open Source Group © SAMSUNG Electronics Co.
  10. 10. 10 WHO WILL WE DO IT WITH? Samsung Open Source Group © SAMSUNG Electronics Co.
  11. 11. 11 Why would others join you? If the code is available and anyone can contribute, why would others bother joining in? Typically it’s because they have their own itch to scratch, which may (or may not) be the same as the alliance’s mission: •  To quickly establish de-facto standards through an open reference implementation. •  To lower development costs through external R&D. •  To become more technically aligned with business partners. •  To focus a efforts on commoditizing a competitor’s product. Samsung Open Source Group © SAMSUNG Electronics Co.
  12. 12. 12 HOW WILL WE DO IT? Samsung Open Source Group © SAMSUNG Electronics Co.
  13. 13. 13 Open Source Best Practices The Right Governance Model The Right License Technical and Hosting Infrastructure Critical Mass at Launch Marketing Platform Awareness and Reach Continuous Project Guidance Events Support Samsung Open Source Group © SAMSUNG Electronics Co.
  14. 14. 14 Open Source Best Practices: The Right Governance Model Governance is what provides equal footing to contributors and ensures the project is not controlled by one company What does governance cover? •  Who makes decisions for code inclusion and releases, and how. •  Who owns the copyright on contributed code, and what licenses are ok. •  Who can be the lead maintainer or architect. •  Allocation of project funds. •  Is a Technical Steering Committee or Compliance and Certification Committee necessary? Who can be on them? •  What you have to do to use the trademark, and how it can be used. •  The openness/transparency of the project. •  The mechanisms which allow a project to modify itself. Samsung Open Source Group © SAMSUNG Electronics Co.
  15. 15. 15 OSS Best Practices: Governance Board of Directors •  501(c)6 non-profit. •  Makes non-technical decisions. Technical Steering Committee (TSC) •  Sets project’s technical direction by interpreting policy set by the Board of Directors. •  Makes independent technical decisions. •  Members are key technical decision makers (maintainers, etc). The Board should never interfere in technical matters. Samsung Open Source Group © SAMSUNG Electronics Co. Board of Directors Marketing Compliance and Certification Audit / Finance TSC Workgroups Workgroups
  16. 16. 16 OSS Best Practices: Governance – Board of Directors Responsible for corporate organization, marketing, press, legal, IP policy, and recruitment. Sets high-level policy in consultation with the TSC, defining the Alliance’s scope, technical vision, and direction. In most cases, the board is empowered to change the organization as needed over time, including bylaws, membership agreement, and IP policy. Boards function best when representatives have decision-making authority on behalf of their company. Specific functions often assigned to committees (e.g., Marketing, C&C) Typical composition: •  Top-level members all get one Director seat and a full vote. •  Mid-level members get one seat and vote for every n members. •  Chair of the board elected from sitting Directors •  Chair of the TSC is a full voting member of the board. Samsung Open Source Group © SAMSUNG Electronics Co.
  17. 17. 17 OSS Best Practices: Governance – TSC Membership •  Merit-based, typically workgroup maintainers •  If workgroups are combined into subsystems, an elected leader is the TSC representative. •  TSC chair is elected from among the TSC representatives. •  Some projects guarantee additional seats for top-level members. Process •  Self-governed, following typical open source decision-making process (rough consensus) •  Discussions/minutes typically public, although only TSC members can participate in votes. Scope •  Sets release requirements, quality standards, and target dates. •  Establishes technical best practices and mediates technical disputes. •  May organize collaborations between workgroups if requested. •  Sets global workgroup requirements, i.e. each must provide complete test coverage. Samsung Open Source Group © SAMSUNG Electronics Co.
  18. 18. 18 OSS Best Practices: Governance – Workgroups Membership •  Anyone may participate in a workgroup as a contributor (including non-members). •  Any participant can earn committer rights by way of code contribution and building community trust. •  Committers periodically elect a maintainer, who is the ultimate decision maker in the workgroup. Process •  All code submissions, discussions, and decisions are open, transparent, and documented. •  Code is only committed through the open source process, and never without peer review. •  The process to become a committer / maintainer / architect is enforced by the TSC for consistency. •  Committer rights in one workgroup do not automatically convey committer rights in another. Scope •  A workgroup covers a logical grouping of technical functionality. •  Workgroups may be grouped into subsystems, overseen by an elected architect. Samsung Open Source Group © SAMSUNG Electronics Co.
  19. 19. 19 Open Source Best Practices: Have a neutral home for collaboration In order for a technical project to become a key pan-industry initiative it needs: A Positive Reputation • Project can’t be controlled by one company, or else peers will not collaborate. • Credibility can be imparted by a neutral host / project parent. Neutral Technical Infrastructure • Open project repositories. • Free access to collaboration tools. Legal Infrastructure • Provides needed protections and ability for companies to collaborate freely. • Allows companies to fund development or promotion through third party, handle trademarks, enforce compliance (if necessary). Marketing Platform • Developer relationships, industry and technical events, driving awareness and preference. Samsung Open Source Group © SAMSUNG Electronics Co.
  20. 20. 20 Open Source Best Practices: The right open source license Choosing the right open source license is just as important as the decision to open source code. Legal counsel should be involved in this. License consideration factors: •  Do you want outside contributors? •  If somebody uses and distributes your code and improves it (fixes bugs or adds features) do you want to make them give you the improvements back so you can use them too? •  Do you want to permit proprietary forks? •  Do you always want to be attributed? •  Do you want people to use your code in non-open source program? •  If somebody uses your code in their program and sells their program for money, do you want some of that money? •  Etc. Samsung Open Source Group © SAMSUNG Electronics Co.
  21. 21. 21 Open Source Best Practices: Awareness and Reach An open source project needs developers and users to become a relevant part of an industry. Code is not enough; you need reach and influence. Standalone projects often have a hard time recruiting developers and/or users given the sheer number of open source projects in place today. Successful projects utilize public relations, speaking opportunities and dedicated networking to build the awareness and reach. Samsung Open Source Group © SAMSUNG Electronics Co.
  22. 22. 22 Open Source Best Practices: Critical Mass at Launch There are thousands of open source projects; the successful ones show they can rally key stakeholders to participate in the project. In open source, usually one project is dominant in any given category as it attracts developer and user mindshare. Vitally important that the project recruits a broad base of stakeholders to show it’s a pan-industry initiative. Perceived momentum for an open source project can neutralize competitors, if awareness is sustained. It is critical to secure solid launch partners. Samsung Open Source Group © SAMSUNG Electronics Co.
  23. 23. 23 In conclusion… •  It takes a lot of work to launch a new open source project, but it can also be really exciting to see hard work come to fruition. •  In the initial enthusiasm, it can be easy to overlook fundamental sanity checks and proceed based upon high-level assumptions. •  While a code-driven, open source strategy is a proven way to produce excellent software quickly, you will greatly increase your chances of success by taking the time to do it right. Samsung Open Source Group © SAMSUNG Electronics Co.

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