Inner Source and Financial Compliance

Inner source is the use of open source practices within companies. Engineers generally love it, but any open-source-style collaboration across business unit boundaries will usually get stopped dead in its tracks by the financial compliance department. That’s because financial compliance is likely to worry that to the tax authorities such inner source collaboration will look like attempts at profit shifting.

Below, please find a 20min. presentation on inner source and transfer pricing that I prepared for a workshop at the German Ministry of Finance. It is aimed at non-technical people.

Feel free to shoot any questions you might have my way.

Open Source Community Governance the Apache Way (Drost-Fromm & Tompkins, IEEE Computer Column)

I’m happy to report that the 14th article in the Open Source Expanded column of IEEE Computer has been published.

TitleOpen Source Community Governance the Apache Way
KeywordsOpen Source Software, Distributed Computing, Documentation
AuthorsIsabel Drost-Fromm, Apache Software Foundation
Rob Tompkins, Apache Software Foundation
PublicationComputer vol. 54, no. 4 (April 2021), pp. 70-75

Abstract: An open source project without the people is a dead project—or at least one that is fairly deep asleep. While all successful open source projects understand that they need to build a community around their project, the exact options for doing so differ.

As always, the article is freely available (local copy).

Also, check out the full list of articles.

How to Make Finding Inner Source Projects Easy

In 2006, we set-up SAP forge to make finding and collaborating on inner source projects easy. The advice of how to design a forge or portal for this purpose hasn’t really changed over the years. The most important advice is:

Make the forge available at one place (and one place only) with a memorable URL like forge.acme.corp

The second most important advice is on the design of the home page of the forge. There are a couple of independent mechanisms that should be present. In order of descending importance (read: prominence of screen real estate given):

Continue reading “How to Make Finding Inner Source Projects Easy”

Research-to-Startup for Postdocs (5min. Video for DAAD PRIME Workshop)

This 5min. video discusses basics of turning your research into a startup. It focuses on public funding. The video was created for the March 2021 DAAD PRIME workshop, but is not restricted to a postdoc audience. Indeed, it works for anyone with a good idea and ideally a team who is willing to move to Germany to benefit from its rich ecosystem for public funding of startups.

A Brief History of Free, Open Source Software and Its Communities (Jesus M. Gonzalez-Barahona, IEEE Computer Column)

I’m happy to report that the 13th article in the Open Source Expanded column of IEEE Computer has been published.

TitleA Brief History of Free, Open Source Software and Its Communities
KeywordsOpen Source Software, Licenses, Internet
AuthorsJesus M. Gonzalez-Barahona, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos
PublicationComputer vol. 54, no. 2 (February 2021), pp. 75-79

Abstract: Free, open source software (FOSS) has a long history, beginning with the origins of software itself, when the terms free software and open source software were not yet defined. Learning about the milestones of this history may help to understand FOSS today.

As always, the article is freely available (local copy).

Also, check out the full list of articles.

Summary of the Winter 2020/21 AMOS Projects

The students of TU Berlin just completed three AMOS projects in the winter semester. The project summaries below detail the final result for each of the projects:

  1. Traffic data visualization and extraction (an app to display traffic data effectively),
  2. Computer vision for sights (an app to present images and information of sights ), and
  3. BPF superpower (an extension of kinvolk’s Inspector Gadget and Headlamp)
Continue reading “Summary of the Winter 2020/21 AMOS Projects”

Interview with GSO on Academia and Entrepreneurship

The German Scholars Organization (GSO) just published an interview with me on how to create startups from research in Germany

How can you spin your research into a startup? We asked Dirk Riehle, professor of Computer Science and advocate for founders with an academic background, for insights and advice. Before becoming a professor, Dirk has worked in industry, always in close connection with startups. His passion for entrepreneurship has become a big part of his professorship and Dirk has been developing, guiding, and supporting startups from research.

Abstract of interview, 2021-03-01

Read more on the GSO website in the Ask-an-expert article on Academia and Entrepreneurship. (Local PDF copy.)

And if you wonder what I’m up to right now, this is it: EDITIVE.

Two Types of Open Source Communities

tl;dr The communities that form around community open source are very different from those that form around commercial open source; confuse them at your own risk.


The recent announcement by Elastic to relicense their software away from open source licenses to commercial and source-available licenses only has triggered the debate about rights and expectations of open source communities again (local copy 1, 2, 3).

Legally speaking, I assume that this is fully within Elastic’s rights. I assume they either outright own all copyright to the relicensed code or collected copyrights by way of contributor license agreements from anyone whose code they accepted into their code base.

Continue reading “Two Types of Open Source Communities”