Problems, Solutions, and Success Factors in the openMDM User-Led Open Source Consortium [CAIS Journal]

Abstract: Open-source software (OSS) development offers organizations an alternative to purchasing proprietary software or commissioning custom software. In one form of OSS development, organizations develop the software they need in collaboration with other organizations. If the software is used by the organizations to operate their business, such collaborations can lead to what we call “user-led open-source consortia” or “user-led OSS consortia”. Although this concept is not new, there have been few studies of user-led OSS consortia. The studies that examined user-led OSS consortia did so through the lens of OSS, but not from the inter-company collaboration perspective. User-led OSS consortia are a distinct phenomenon that share elements of inter-company collaboration, outsourcing software development, and vendor-led OSS development and cannot be understood by using only a single lens. To close this gap, we present problems and solutions in inter-company collaboration, outsourcing, and OSS literature, and present the results of a single-case study. We focus on problems in the early phases of a user-led open-source consortium, the openMDM consortium, and the solutions applied to these problems. Furthermore, we present the factors which lead this consortium to sustained growth.  

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Open Source Software Engineering the Eclipse Way (Wayne Beaton, IEEE Computer Column)

I’m happy to report that the 15th article in the Open Source Expanded column of IEEE Computer has been published.

TitleOpen Source Software Engineering the Eclipse Way
Keywords
AuthorsWayne Beaton, The Eclipse Foundation
PublicationComputer vol. 54, no. 6 (June 2021), pp. 59-63

Abstract: This article explains how open source software development works at the Eclipse Foundation. It dives into engineering best practices, providing insights from one of the most successful open source foundations of today.

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

Also, check out the full list of articles.

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.

Interpreting the Purpose of the Open Usage Commons Foundation

Yesterday, the Open Usage Commons (OUC) foundation announced itself. It is a non-profit which wants to ensure free and fair trademark use of the open source projects under its guidance. My Twitter feed was quick to denounce the OUC as a vanity foundation. It certainly is not. A vanity foundation serves to aggrandize its creators, and a name like “The Great Company Open Source Foundation” would then be apt. This is not the case here. Rather the OUC makes specific statements about trademark enforcement, so it has a purpose that is not vanity. Just what is that purpose, and why did existing foundations not fit the bill?

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Three Reasons Why Companies Are Creating Their Own Open Source Consortium

Most open source these days, certainly the most widely used open source, is developed by companies. Open source, by definition, is competitively non-differentiating, so companies can join forces in its development. To so do peacefully, however, they need good governance that preempts conflicts among the participating companies. Such governance is usually provided under the auspices of an open source foundation, of which the big three are the Apache Software Foundation, the Eclipse Foundation, and the Linux Foundation. Despite these existing foundations, many companies interested in developing a new open source software keep opting to create their own consortium.

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The Ecosystem of openKONSEQUENZ, a User-Led Open Source Foundation [OSS 2020]

Companies without expertise in software development can opt to form consortia to develop open source software to meet their needs, as an alternative to the build-or-buy decision. Such user-led foundations are little understood, due to a limited number of published examples. In particular, almost nothing is known about the ecosystems surrounding user-led foundations. Our work seeks to address this gap, through an exploratory qualitative survey of openKONSEQUENZ, from the German energy sector. We find that the technological goals are quite homogeneous, independent of a participant’s role in the ecosystem, but that economic conflicts exist between foundation members and supplier companies due to the consortium’s efforts to transform the software market structure to limit dependency on specific vendors.

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Managing Commercial Conflicts of Interest in Open Source Foundations [ICSOB 2019]

Abstract: When companies opt to open source their software, they may choose to offer the project to an open source foundation. Donating the software to an open source foundation offers a number of advantages, such as access to the foundation’s existing tools and project management. However, in donating the software, the company relinquishes control of the software and grants other foundation members—including competitors—the same rights to the software. Using a multiple-case study research approach, this paper examines how foundations manage conflicts of interest in the open sourcing donation scenario. We find that foundations primarily use a set of well-defined mechanisms to prevent such conflicts from arising, and that the use of these mechanisms can depend on the foundation type.

Keywords: Open source foundations, sponsored open source, commercial open source, open source software, conflicts of interest

Reference: Weikert, F., Riehle, D., & Barcomb, A. (2019). Managing Commercial Conflicts of Interest in Open Source Foundations. In Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Software Business (ICSOB 2019). Springer Verlag, pp. 130-144.

The paper is available as a PDF file.