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The Evolution of the Open Source Software Foundation

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The Evolution of the Open Source Software Foundation

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When FOSS project communities reach a certain critical point in their growth, corporations express interest in participating. Corporations have more stringent and robust software IP management needs, however, and projects are not always up to the task. Neutral non-profit FOSS foundations have proved to be a solution to these problems, providing for the IP management needs of corporations while offering additional business and technical services to the project communities to encourage further growth and adoption. (Conference Details: http://www.socallinuxexpo.org/scale11x/presentations/evolution-open-source-software-foundation)

When FOSS project communities reach a certain critical point in their growth, corporations express interest in participating. Corporations have more stringent and robust software IP management needs, however, and projects are not always up to the task. Neutral non-profit FOSS foundations have proved to be a solution to these problems, providing for the IP management needs of corporations while offering additional business and technical services to the project communities to encourage further growth and adoption. (Conference Details: http://www.socallinuxexpo.org/scale11x/presentations/evolution-open-source-software-foundation)

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The Evolution of the Open Source Software Foundation

  1. 1. The  Evolu*on  of  the  Open  Source   So3ware  Founda*on   SCaLE11x   Stephen  R.  Walli   February  2013  
  2. 2. The  Thesis   FOSS  Founda:ons  are  essen:al  to  enabling  the   growth  of  FOSS  Projects  when  companies  want   to  par:cipate,  contribute  and  adopt.  
  3. 3. Two  Ra*os   ~20  LoC/day   1  bug  :  1000  LoC  
  4. 4. So3ware  Economics   Wri:ng  good  soIware  is  hard  work   Re-­‐use  is  everything   We  have  shared  soIware  since  we  wrote  it.     Liberally-­‐licensed  collabora:vely  developed   soIware  is  the  best  re-­‐use  strategy.    
  5. 5. The  Economics  of  Shared  Development  
  6. 6. The  Economics  of  Companies  Collabora*ng  
  7. 7. Founda*ons  as  IP  Management  Machines   •  This  is  the  history  of  the  FSF,  the  ASF,  the   OSDL/Linux  Founda:on,  and  the  Eclipse   Founda:on   •  Regardless  of  what  each  founda:on   represents  to  its  members  and  cons:tuencies,   what  they  “do”  is  IP  management.  
  8. 8. Henrik  Ingo’s  Observa*ons   Henrik  Ingo  determined  that  the  9  largest  most  vibrant  projects  are  governed   independently  by  founda:ons  (hXp://bit.ly/f3O34M)   The  tenth  largest  (is  company  supported)  is  an  order  of  magnitude  smaller  
  9. 9. Neutrality  and  Ownership   “There  appears  to  be  a  glass  ceiling  for  single   vendor  projects  prohibi:ng  their  growth  from   the  Large  category  upwards.  ”                          —  Henrik  Ingo  
  10. 10. An  Organic  Project  Life-­‐Cycle  
  11. 11. What  is  a  FOSS  Founda*on?   Founda:ons  are  non-­‐profits*  that  provide:   Legal  Structure   Business  Opera:ons   Technical  Services   *  But  they  are  s:ll  businesses  
  12. 12. Founda*ons   *  But  they  are  s:ll  businesses  
  13. 13. Corporate  Projects  
  14. 14. Corporate  Projects   ?????   ?????  
  15. 15. Why  does  it  maNer?   Neutrality  encourages  contribu:on   Clean  IP  encourages  adop:on   Founda:ons  act  as  community  centre-­‐of-­‐gravity    
  16. 16. Neutrality  Encourages  Contribu*on   (Inbound)  
  17. 17. Neutrality  and  Ownership   •  Successful  Projects  Grow  and  Evolve  un:l  …   –  Apache  SoIware  Founda:on   –  OSDL/Linux  Founda:on   –  Eclipse  Founda:on  
  18. 18. Clean  IP  Encourages  Adop*on   (Outbound)  
  19. 19. Legal  Structures  are  Important   •  License  (inbound/outbound)   •  Assignments  and  Contribu:on  Licenses     •  Provenance  tracking   •  Liability  and  risk  management   •  CommiXer  indemnifica:on    
  20. 20. Founda*on  as  Community  Centre-­‐of-­‐Gravity  
  21. 21. Crea*ng  Strong  Communi*es   •  Support  an  Architecture  of  Par:cipa:on   •  Make  it  easy  to  join  the  conversa:on     •  Support  and  grow  commiXers   •  Support  lines  of  communica:ons   •  Provide  technical  services  +  infrastructure   (forges,  code  signing,  etc.)  
  22. 22. Conclusions   While  liberally  licensed  shared  collabora:ve   soIware  development  may  represent  the  best   soIware  re-­‐use  strategy  we  have,  FOSS   Founda:ons  are  essen:al  to  the  par:cipa:on  of   companies  that  can  grow  and  sustain  FOSS   projects  and  their  communi:esn  long  term  
  23. 23. Ques*ons?   Stephen  R.  Walli   Technical  Director,  Outercurve  Founda:on   hXp://www.outercurve.org   swalli@outercurve.org   hXp://stephesblog.blogs.com    (Once  More  unto  the  Breach)   hXp://www.networkworld.com/community/walli   @stephenrwalli  

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