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Open Source & Open Development


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Open Source & Open Development

  1. 1. Open Source & Open Development Sander van der Waal
  2. 2. Agenda OSS Watch Open Source & Open Development Case studies of successful open source projects Break Copyright, policy, licensing and governance Business models for open source Case studies for commercial success with open source
  3. 3. OSS Watch – What we do Advise on all things open source Services  Consultancies, events, presentations Project support – community development Software sustainability beyond funding Core services free to HE / FE in the UK
  4. 4. Find out more!
  5. 5. What is Free and Open Source Software? Software that the user has the right to adapt and distribute Access to the source code Often available at minimal or no cost Often maintained and developed by a community Increasingly high public profile and market share (Linux, Apachehttpd, Firefox,, Android (mostly)) Basis of later open licences like Creative Commons and OpenDatabase License
  6. 6. Some HistoryUntil the late 1970s most software thought to have little intrinsic valueExchange of software and its source code normal (with licences that allowedadaptation and redistribution)Arrival of personal computers in the mid 1970s changed the perception ofsoftwares valueSoftware became productized, source code kept privateMany developers, particularly within academic communities, felt that thiswas detrimental to software quality
  7. 7. “The amount of royalties we have receivedfrom sales to hobbyists makes the time spent[on] Altair BASIC worth less than $2 an hour.Why is this? As the majority of hobbyistsmust be aware, most of you steal yoursoftware. Hardware must be paid for, butsoftware is something to share. Who cares ifthe people who worked on it get paid?”Bill Gates Computer Notes 1976
  8. 8. “I consider that the golden rule requires that if I like a program I mustshare it with other people who like it. Software sellers want to divide theusers and conquer them, making each user agree not to share withothers. I refuse to break solidarity with other users in this way… So that I can continue to use computers without dishonor, I have decidedto put together a sufficient body of free software so that I will be able toget along without any software that is not free.”Richard Stallman, GNU Manifesto, 1985
  9. 9. The FSFs Four FreedomsThe freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to yourneeds (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition forthis.The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor(freedom 2). The freedom to improve the program, and release yourimprovements to the public, so that the whole community benefits(freedom 3). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
  10. 10. “Linux is subversive. Who would have thought even five years ago (1991) thata world-class operating system could coalesce as if by magic out of part-timehacking by several thousand developers scattered all over the planet,connected only by the tenuous strands of the Internet?”Eric Raymond, The Cathedral and the Bazaar, 1996-7
  11. 11. Open Source Initiative In early 1998 Netscape decides to release the source code of its strugglingweb browser to the world Raymonds apolitical, business-friendly explanation of the virtues of theFree Software ought to have an advocacy group In February 1998 the Open Source Initiative is founded, with Raymond asits first president. The term Open Source begins to be widely used.The OSI adapts the Debian Free Software Guidelines to define what itmeans by ‘Open Source’ The resulting Open Source Definition gives ten criteria for an ‘opensource’ licence
  12. 12. Open Source DefinitionFreely RedistributableSource Code IncludedDerived Works PermittedIntegrity of Author’s Source Code (diffs and patches)No Discrimination Against Persons or GroupsNo Discrimination Against Fields of EndeavourDistribution of Licence (no additional licences required) DLicence Must Not Be Specific to a Product (or distribution)Licence Must Not Restrict Other SoftwareLicence Must Be Technology-Neutral (no click wrap) L
  13. 13. Open Source Initiative Over seventy licences are accredited by the OSI as meeting these criteriaThe most commonly used are the BSD (permissive) and the GPL (copyleft) TThe sheer number of OSI-approved licences is officially considered aproblemFor practical purposes OSS Watch defines its remit with reference to theOSI approved licence list
  14. 14. Words and TensionsMany ‘Free Software’ supporters, including Richard Stallman, see the OSIas a deliberate attempt to appropriate their movement while stripping it of itspolitical aims.The language itself has become politicisedWhether one says ‘Free’ or ‘Open’ has become an indicator of which ‘side’one supports The unwieldy phrase ‘Free and Open Source Software’ is used by thosewho do not wish to take sidesStallman also campaigns against use of the phrase ‘intellectual property’
  15. 15. Open development is…“Open source is a development method for software thatharnesses the power of distributed peer review andtransparency of process.” - A way for distributed team members to collaboratively develop a sharedresource
  16. 16. Open development is… Particularly useful in distributed self selecting teams Very common in open source projects Key attributes include:  User engagement  Transparency  Collaboration  Agility
  17. 17. Open development is agile… Many agile practices evolved from or alongside open development, e.g.  Collective code ownership  Incremental design and architecture  Real customer involvement  Revision Control
  18. 18. Open development is Not agile… Some Agile methods are not appropriate  e.g. Does not require co-location Does allow anyone to participate  NOTE: this does not mean that anyone has the right to modify open source code in the core repository
  19. 19. Platform for collaboration Using the common tools in open projects:  Mailing Lists / Forums for communication  Website / blog / wiki  Issue tracker  Version Control System (GIT, SVN, Mercurial) Community development
  20. 20. Open Development is managed Progression through project roles  User -> Contributor -> Committer -> Maintainer Governance  How are decisions made?  How are conflicts resolved?  How do you gain influence? IPR management
  21. 21. Case studies of successful open source / open development
  22. 22. TexGen• Textile CAD modeller• Developed at Nottingham’s Department of Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing• Generate geometric models of textiles and their composites
  23. 23. Why open source TexGen?• People can download TexGen and use it for free• Better level of both knowledge transfer and verification• Encourage third-party use / citation• Potential for collaboration• IPR issues are simplified
  24. 24. Why not commercialise traditionally?• Limited commercial value• Commercial customers would expect support• Small market - casual use does not occur• All development has to be undertaken in-house• Danger of inhibiting research collaborations
  25. 25. Results• Over 5,000 downloads on SourceForge• Collaborations with previously unknown partners• Renewal of EPSRCs prestigious Platform Grant in 2009• Investment from commercial companies such as Boeing• In total approximately £1m research income
  26. 26. Lessons learned• High ROI to open source code• Excellent marketing • Free publicity of research group’s expertise • Opportunity to create new partnerships• There’s no one single way of doing it• Best application of open innovation in software• Funders love it
  27. 27. Apache Wookie (incubating)… Server for uploading and deploying widgets Implementation of emerging W3C standard Extracted from larger EU project context as a discrete project A good fit with Apache Software Foundation Already some interest from outside the project
  28. 28. Networking opportunities• ASF community• Other interested projects• Mobile apps/widgets community• Android community• W3C Social Web XG
  29. 29. New Partnerships
  30. 30. Results• Very substantial value added by community• Income generated for next 3 years: ~£700k from two FP7 projects• Only actually core funded from Dec 09-Sep10 @ 0.2FTE (around £12k)• Stepping stone to Apache Rave (Incubating)
  31. 31. Rave: ecosystem of projects
  32. 32. Legal aspects of open source
  33. 33. Copyright...is a form of intellectual property is an unregistered right – it comes into existence at the same time that thework is fixedprotects the fixed form of an idea, not the idea itselfprotects literary and artistic material, music, films, sound recordings andbroadcasts, including software and multimediagenerally does not protect works that are insubstantial – thus names andttitles are not protected (although a passing off action may be a possibility)gives the author exclusive economic and moral rights over the copyrightedmaterial
  34. 34. What exclusive economic rights do copyright owners have?Making copiesIssuing copies to the public (publication, performing, broadcasting,online distribution)Renting or lending copiesAdapting the work
  35. 35. What exclusive moral rights do copyright owners have?In the case of software, none. Unlike other creators of literary works,software authors have no statutory protection against derogatorytreatment of their code or automatic right to be identified as the author oftheir code
  36. 36. When does copyright in software expire under UK law?For literary works including software: 70 years after the death of the author Calculating copyright expiry is made more complex by the factthat the duration has changed over the last 20 years. Luckily inthe case of software its novelty and relatively short shelf-lifemitigate this.
  37. 37. What can I do with my copyright material?Sell it (assign it) – transfer ownership of your rightsLicense it – grant use of your rights, possibly for a limitedperiod or within a limited geographical area.
  38. 38. A word about patentsNot at all the same thingGenerally OSS licensing of code is incompatible with theexploitation of software patents embodied in the code inquestionEuropean Patent Convention 1973 Article 52:“(1) European patents shall be granted for any inventions which are susceptible of industrialapplication, which are new and which involve an inventive step.(2) The following in particular shall not be regarded as inventions within the meaning of paragraph 1:...(c) schemes, rules and methods for performing mental acts, playing games or doing business, andprograms for computers;”
  39. 39. A word about patentsIn fact, over the last 20 years this exclusion has been renderedmoot by repeated approval of patents by the EPO and nationalpatent-granting bodies which are, in effect, for software.Symbian’s recent win in the High Court against the IntellectualProperty Office seems to indicate that software patents are nowobtainable in the UKDespite this, there seems to be a general reluctance to litigatein support of these patents in Europe.
  40. 40. How FOSS Licensing Works...What is a FOSS Licence? A licence to exercise rights normally reserved to theauthor by copyright law Consistent with Open Source Definition (or FourFreedoms) Either explicitly perpetual or practically so A licence which offers a grant of rights to anyone
  41. 41. How FOSS Licensing Works...How does copyright law protect FOSS software?No explicit communicated acceptance necessaryCopyright law effectively prevents copying, adaptation anddistribution of copyright material without a licenceFOSS licences provide an avenue to licensed use if the userabides by the conditionsWithout the licence, it is likely no permission exists, andthe author can take action for copyright infringementGenerally considered to work, but little case law
  42. 42. How FOSS Licensing Works...How do FOSS Licences deal with patents?Some licences (Apache 2, Nokia, Microsoft ReciprocalLicence and many others) explicitly grant rights to licensorspatents that are necessarily infringed by use or distributionEven those that do not will grant implied licences (in somejurisdictions) by permitting acts that would require a patentlicenceSome licences terminate their patent grants if the licenseeinitiates patent infringement litigation against the licensor
  43. 43. Varieties of FOSS Licence: Permissive Allow inclusion in non-FOSS software Suitable where widest uptake is desirable Examples of permissive licences are:  Modified BSD  MIT  Academic Free  Apache Software Licence
  44. 44. Varieties of FOSS Licence: Copyleft Derivative works, if distributed, must use same licence Cannot be incorporated into non-FOSS products Suitable when desire is to legally enforce FOSS status Examples of copyleft licences:  GNU General Public License  Open Software License  Common Development and Distribution License
  45. 45. Partial Copyleft Derivative works, if distributed, use same licenceMay be incorporated into non-FOSS productsSuitable in order to keep a portion of the work FOSS  compromise between full copyleft and permissiveExamples of weak or partial copyleft licences:  GNU Lesser General Public License  Mozilla Public License  Eclipse Public License
  46. 46. Varieties of FOSS Licence: Badgeware Only one badgeware OSI-approved licence  Common Public Attribution License Adaptation of Mozilla Public License (partial copyleft) Derivative must prominently display original authorsdetails or organisation at runtime.
  47. 47. How to choose a licence?Only considering popular licences?Copyleft vs. Permissive?How to deal with patents?Jurisdiction?
  48. 48. Copyright Ownership Models• Centralised ownership • Copyright is owned by the project owner • Contributors assign copyright to project owner • Project owner releases under chosen FOSS licence• Aggregated ownership • Copyright owned by original authors • Contributors license their code to project owner • Project owner releases under chosen FOSS licence
  49. 49. Copyright Ownership ModelsA Flawed Copyright Ownership model•Distributed ownership•Contributions individually licenced as FOSS•Common in the academic world•Collaboration AgreementsDont use this model•Legal action against infringers hard to coordinate•Legal action against project requires coordination fromdefendants•Outbound licence changes require agreement from all
  50. 50. Contributor Agreements and Governance• Contributor Licence Agreements (CLA) required• Solve problems of distributed ownership• Can be a barrier to contribution so keep them simple• Well-run projects need a clear contribution policy • what agreement is needed? • who can commit? • who decides what code is included in the release? • And more..•
  51. 51. Employees, Academics and Contractors• Who owns “internal” contributions? • Employment contracts • IP Policies • Consultancy contracts• Default position is that: • Employers own employees work • Contractors own their own work• Academics often own their copyrighted work • See contract and policies
  52. 52. An example policy: Oxford• Release form from Research Services • Straight-forward assessment of components written and used • Sent to legal team • Also sent to our technology transfer unit ISIS Innovation• Departmental policy for Oxford University Computing Services • Staff members may contribute code to foundations • Central registry of projects contributed to • Contributor Licence Agreements may be signed if needed • Example: Apache Software Foundation
  53. 53. Making sure your code is releasable Strongly consider obtaining contributor licence agreements Keep track of your inbound licences and what they oblige you toddo (licence compatibility) Keep track of the employment/consultancy agreements ofcontributors, including all institutional regulations that theyimport Keep track of funding conditions associated with contributors Use versioning system as a basis for this record-keeping Establish what (if any) patents might be obtainable in relation tothe work, and plan your code accordingly Assess your competition and your risk
  54. 54. Business models around open source
  55. 55. Business and Sustainability Models These are mostly not mutually exclusive, and will most often be used incombination as appropriate – more accurately they are elements of businessmodels This is still an emerging area of business practice Some of the current success of FOSS software exploitation techniquesmay be attributable to dissatisfaction with more traditional proprietarytechniques and their associated big-name vendors, rather than any innatesuperiority It remains to be seen whether the current global financial difficulties willhelp FOSS business or hinder it. Analysts are currently predicting both.
  56. 56. First - what you cannot / should not do Charge for licences for specific uses of your code, for example commercialuse (Open Source Definition point 6) Charge for licences in general (Possible but subject to low/zero-costcompetition from all recipients) Tweak an existing FOSS licence for your purposes and still call yoursoftware Free Software or Open Source Software (Strong communityrejection of these practices) Silently incorporate FOSS software in your proprietary offering withoutabiding by the licence conditions (detection is likely, and although legaldamages are unlikely, damage to reputation is certain)
  57. 57. Academic Community Development FOSS licensing permits a varied group of contributors to work on softwarethat addresses a particular problem domain. Institutions and their academics can gain public profile by contributing tosuch projects and becoming associated with respected tools in specific areasof research. It can also help ensure the continued existence of usefulsolutions. Examples include BioImage Suite (biological image analysis software)YARP (experimental robotics software) and The Versioning Machine(software for aligning differing versions of xml-encoded texts). Recognition for work on academic tools is still, however, some way behindmore traditional forms of academic recognition for publication etc
  58. 58. Establishing a separate legal entity Adds to sustainability by isolating risks (IP infringement, event organisation,damages from failure) from the parent institution Facilitates donation of money and simplifies tax issues Most research institutions are already well-practised in setting up spin-outcompanies. In the case of sustaining FOSS projects some kind of not-for-profit entity may be just as or even more appropriate Such an entity can still have an affiliated commercial entity engaged inexploiting the software and the brands that it stewards
  59. 59. Moving into an external foundation The benefits of foundation status have led to the establishment of umbrellafoundations holding multiple FOSS projects. Examples include the Apache Software Foundation, which supportsApache HTTP Server, Cocoon, Lucene, Software in the Public Interest,which supports the Debian Linux distribution and PostgreSQL, and theSoftware Freedom Conservancy, home to Samba, Busybox and Wine Entering an umbrella foundation can radically reduce running costs forprojects that receive financial donations, as the foundation will handle thenecessary book-keeping, as well as providing the risk management benefitsthat come with separating legal responsibility for a project from your hostinstitution
  60. 60. Community Source Foundations Where a number of separate institutions see a benefit in jointly developinga piece of FOSS, they can adopt a model which has come to be known,somewhat confusingly, as Community Source Each institution contributes resources to developing the code, theownership of which rests in an external foundation In the initial phases the code may be unavailable outside the foundation,although it will eventually be released under a FOSS licence Contributing resources to the foundation buys institutions early codeaccess and influence on the governance of the project and its functionality Mellon-funded projects Sakai and Kuali both began using this model
  61. 61. Consultancy Consultancy is another traditional technique for educational institutionslooking to financially exploit their resources A more traditional model might be to sell licences to a piece of research-derived software and sell consultancy services and/or bespoke developmentservices alongside it Potentially a FOSS release of the software can improve uptake, given itslow cost of acquisition, and drive the market for associated consultancy anddevelopment services more successfully than the traditional model
  62. 62. Internal Cost Reduction Institutions may be happy to sustain an internally-developed FOSS projectthemselves if the project can demonstrate that it drives down the runningcosts of that institution or solves an institutional problem Projects that reduce costs in one institution may have good potential, whenmature, to be deployed in others. This provides opportunities for paidconsultancy and/or provision of the software as a service (see below)
  63. 63. Provision of Paid Support /Documentation Just because your code is freely available, it does not mean that thedocumentation or your help needs to be (as with the consultancy andbespoke development model) Support can be provided in time- or incident-limited bundles Support can be in the form of guaranteed performance on specifichardware Documentation can take the form of paid access to a knowledge base ofpreviously resolved issues HOWEVER, in this case one is in competition with the softwares userbase/community, who may be willing to provide peer support for free
  64. 64. Integration / Managed Upgrades Managing the integration of various FOSS technologies, with their varyingdependencies and release cycles, is a service that people are prepared topay for Similarly managing the deployment of upgrade patches can be a paidservice Bundles of tested, integrated FOSS software can be sold along with,potentially, support agreements HOWEVER, close integration may trigger responsibilities in particularlycopyleft licences that could prevent integrated distribution – read the licences
  65. 65. Competitor Disruption Sometimes a FOSS alternative to a competitors product can disrupt theirbusiness model and provide competitive advantage (although this is almostnever the sole motivation behind the release or distribution) Examples (arguably) include Suns, Googles bundling anddistribution of Microsoft-competing software such as, Firefoxand Chrome (the Google Pack), Netscape Corporations FOSS release ofNetscape Navigator
  66. 66. Software as a Service Increasingly consumers are becoming comfortable with so-called cloud-based software offerings – software that is accessed and used over theinternet, and which stores data remotely from the user SaaS can be a useful solution to the problem of institutionally developedsoftware that relies integrally on copyleft-licensed code Provision of service using copyleft software does not count as distribution,and thus does not trigger copylefts reciprocal licensing responsibilities HOWEVER – this is a known bug in copyleft licensing, and licences suchas the GNU Affero GPL v3 are already in existence to fix it.
  67. 67. Advertising / Referral Your software or accompanying web site may be able to direct networktraffic to an entity that is willing to pay for hits (although of course thisfunctionality can always be engineered out by technically apt users) This is Mozilla Foundations main source of income Firefoxs built-in search box directs queries to Google The vast majority of Mozilla Foundations revenue ($132m in 2010)comes from Google under this deal. Wordpress, the FOSS blogging software and hosting platform is partlyfunding their parent company Automattic through this model
  68. 68. Training and Accreditation As well as support and consultancy, generalised training documents,courses and qualifications may be viable products Control of an associated trademark enables the provision of X-CertifiedProfessional style programmes Actual training and examination are readily out-sourced
  69. 69. Trademark Licensing / Merchandising Just because your code is available under a FOSS licence, you do nothave to permit universal use of your projects name and associated symbols Unlike copyright, trademarks are a registered form of IP, meaning that youhave to apply to relevant government agencies for ownership. However,compared to patent application, trademark registration is relativelyinexpensive Owning your trademark facilitates the sale of associated merchandise andaccreditation and marks like “Powered by X” and “Using X technology” Can be a deterrent to forking if the brand is strong enough – the motivationto increase personal reputation by providing functionality outside project “X” ispartially undermined by the inability to call the new project “Improved X”
  70. 70. Proprietary Versions and Components Sometimes referred to disparagingly as the Bait and Switch model A FOSS edition of software is offered which lacks some of the functionalityof a paid edition, either throughout its code or in the form of missingproprietary components While the existence of better-supported or hardware-accredited forms ofFOSS offerings is generally accepted by the FOSS community, proprietarycomponents and versions are less well-liked (although there is perhapsgrowing acceptance as the community matures) HOWEVER, this is another example of competing with the community. TheFOSS model means that anyone can produce freely available versions ofyour paid functionality, given enough time and expertise
  71. 71. Dual Licensing Provided that you have the necessary ownership or sub-licensing rightsover your projects code, you can provide it under differing licences In the classic case, these would be a copyleft licence and a paidproprietary licence Customers who wish to build software product incorporating your code andwho do not wish to use the copyleft licence must pay for the proprietarylicence This is therefore most suitable for code which is readily susceptible toinclusion within commercial software products, for example databasebackends
  72. 72. Case studies
  73. 73. Example: Cranfield University Library developed a survey tool based on Plone Released as open source in 2006 Development has occurred internationally  Africa, North America, India and Europe  Eg. a major contribution from a South African company Cranfield recognised within Plone community  Get development effort back  Ability to provide consultancy services
  74. 74. Moodle at ULCC -A Shared Service Success
  75. 75. Facts & Figures
  76. 76. # of Moodle / Mahara Instances
  77. 77. # of Moodle / Mahara customers &instances 2011
  78. 78. # Registered Moodle users
  79. 79. Moodle Activity**Moodle activity is defined as any form of accessing, uploading and editing content by a registers ULCC Moodle user
  80. 80. Average Activity (Activity peruser)*Moodle activity is defined as any form of accessing, uploading and editing content by a registers ULCC Moodle user
  81. 81. ULCC’s Personalised Learning Framework
  82. 82. Personlised Learning Framework Assessmen t Portfolio VLE PLP Portal
  83. 83. ULCC’s e-Learning portfolio
  84. 84. ULCC’s e-Learning portfolio
  85. 85. The wider ecosystem
  86. 86. ULCC’s e-Learning Service• Hosting Levels (1-7) and support that fit your requirements• PRINCE2 project management support for transition of VLE• 24/7 customer support• Integration with your existing IT systems (SITS, Agresso, Talis, etc.)• Individual and bespoke staff training to maximise VLE usage• Pro-active management of software upgrades• Active customer community to share best practice and experience
  87. 87. Our Customers
  88. 88. Partners/ Affiliates
  89. 89. ULCC’s successful open source strategy Share code and expertise with Moodle community Build reputation in Moodle development Successful service model Now recognised team Hosted MoodleMoot 2010 and 2011
  90. 90. Do get in touch: @osswatch