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Open Source Program Benefits Survey Results

Open Source Initiative - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 08:37

There are many organizations out there, from companies like Red Hat to internet scale giants like Google and Facebook that have established an open source programs office (OSPO). The TODO Group, a network of open source program managers, recently performed the first ever annual survey of corporate open source programs and revealed some interesting findings on the actual benefits of open source programs.

According to the survey, the top three benefits of managing an open source program are:

  • awareness of open source usage/dependencies
  • increased developer agility/speed
  • better and faster license compliance
Corporate Open Source Programs on the Rise

According to the survey, 53% of companies have an open source program or plan to establish one in the near future:

An interesting factoid to see is that large companies are about twice as likely to run an open source program than smaller companies (63 percent vs. 37 percent). Also, technology industry organizations were more likely to have an open source program than traditional industry verticals such as the financial services industry. Another interesting trend was that most open source programs tend to start informally as a working group, committee or a few key open source developers and then evolve into formal programs over time, typically within a company’s engineering department.

Research Shows Giving Back Is A Competitive Advantage

It’s important to note that companies aren’t forming open source programs and giving back to open source for purely altruistic means. Recent research from Harvard Business School shows that open source contributing companies capture up to 100% more productive value from open source than companies who do not contribute back. In particular, the example of Linux was used showcased in the research:

"It’s not necessarily that the firms that contribute are more productive on the whole. It’s that they get more in terms of productivity output from their usage of the Linux operating system than do companies that use Linux without contributing."

In the survey, it was notable that 44 percent of companies with open source programs contribute code upstream compared to only 6 percent for companies without an open source program. If you want to sustain open source and give your business a competitive advantage, an open source program can help.

Finally, you’ll be happy to learn that the survey results and questions are open sourced under the CC-BY-SA. The TODO Group plans to run this survey on an annual basis moving forward and in true open source fashion, we’d love your feedback on any new questions to ask, please leave your thoughts in the comments or on GitHub.

 About the Author: Chris Aniszczyk is currently a Vice President at OSI Affiliate Member Linux Foundation, focused on developer relations and running the Open Container Initiative (OCI) / Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF).

Image credit: OSPO.png (CC BY-SA 4.0) by The Open Source Initiative is a derivitive of "Trollback + Company office.JPG" by Trollbackco from Wikimedia Commons, and used/edited with permission via CC BY-SA 4.0

Categories: Open Source

Knowledge Sharing in Software Projects

Open Source Initiative - Mon, 09/24/2018 - 13:15

In a special guest post, Megan L. Endres, Professor of Management, at Eastern Michigan University provides a debrief of data gathering from a recent survey on Knowledge Sharing promoted by the OSI.

Thank you!

We are extremely grateful to those who filled out the survey. We feel that our research can help create better environments at work, where team members can share knowledge and innovate.

Purpose of the Study
Our research is focused on knowledge sharing in ambiguous circumstances. Six Sigma is a method of quality control that should reduce ambiguity, given its structured approach. We ask whether the reduction in ambiguity is coupled with a reduction in knowledge sharing as well.

Who responded?

A total of 54 people responded, of whom 58% had a bachelor’s degree and 26% had a master’s degree. Average of full-time work experience was 13.9 years, and average of managerial experience was 6.7 years.

Most respondents (53%) reported working in an organization with 400+ full-time employees, although a strong second (37%) reported working with 100 or fewer.

Most reported that they work on a team of 3 members (21%), although a large percentage work on teams with 4 members (18.4%) and 5 members (13.2%). The complexity of the team tasks was moderately high, rated 3.66 on a 1 to 5 scale (least to most complex) (s.d. = 1.05).

Knowledge and Sharing

Respondents believed they brought considerable expertise to their team projects, which could be a result of good team assignments according to knowledge and skill. The average expertise reported was 4.13, on a scale of 1 (very low) to 5 (very high) (s.d. = 0.99).

Important variables we gathered are below with the mean and standard deviation. These are the average of a set of questions that was tested for reliability and averaged. It is important to note that standard deviations are all about 1 and, given a 5-point scale, this indicates general agreement among those who responded. The average of these variables was the same for varied years of experience, years of management, size of company, and level of education.

Variable Mean I share knowledge on my teams 4.35 My team shares knowledge with me 3.51 Knowledge sharing is valuable 4.43 My teams are innovative/creative 4.05 I have clear goals/feedback 3.17






 

 

 

Relationships in the Data

We will be gathering more data in order to perform more complex data analysis, but correlations show relationships that may prove to be important.

Significant relationships include:

  • Higher self-reported knowledge sharing is related to more clear goal setting at work, more innovative teamwork, and positive knowledge sharing attitudes. This is not surprising because an environment with positive knowledge sharing has better communication between team members and, therefore, clarifications are more likely when goals aren’t clear. Those who worked for larger organizations (400+ employees) said that their goal setting was clearer. This also is not surprising because more formal structure in the organization probably is associated with formal performance reviews and procedures.
  • Higher team knowledge sharing is associated with less likelihood one will have a Six Sigma belt and with lower Six Sigma knowledge. This may indicate that knowledge sharing, and Six Sigma are negatively related, but until a larger sample of responses is gathered, this is only a proposition.
  • The open source software questions did not reveal important information so far. That is because you are a part of a sample that uniformly has positive attitudes toward open source (in general). Others will fill out the survey in the future who are not affiliated with open source groups and variation in the responses will allow us to study relationships with other data.

Megan L. Endres, Professor of Management, Eastern Michigan University

Knowledge Sharing in Software Projects, by Megan L. Endres, CC-BY 4.0. 2018

Knowledge-sharing, by Ansonlobo. CC BY-SA 4.0. 2016. From Wikimedia Commons.

Categories: Open Source

California’s First Open Source Election System: Maybe not!

Open Source Initiative - Thu, 09/20/2018 - 09:28

OSI Affiliate Member, California Association of Voting Officials (CAVO), has expressed concerns that a recent announcement by Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk (Dean Logan) and the State of California's Secretary of State (Alex Padilla) was not accurate in their descriptions of a newly certified elections tally system, "Voting System For All People" (VSAP), as using "open source technology."

Both the Los Angeles County and California Secretary of State announcements stated the elections system was, "the first publicly-owned, open-source election tally system certified under the California voting systems standards" [emphasis added].

Initially, the OSI expressed praise for the announcements from California,

@CountyofLA's vote tally system is California’s first certified #elections system to use #opensource technology. This publicly-owned technology represents a significant step in the future of elections in California and across the country. https://t.co/GZ3aWZgu83 pic.twitter.com/Vn66CtplgP

— OpenSourceInitiative (@OpenSourceOrg) August 27, 2018

The announcement appeared to be the culmination of several years of work by LA County in developing an open source voting system. Yet almost immediately after the news broke of the open source election tally system, doubts were raised. StateScoop reported, Los Angeles County's new 'open source' vote tallying system isn't open source just yet, The StateScoop article included a comment by John Sebes, chief technology officer of the Open Source Election Technology Institute, "My takeaway is that their intention is to make it freely available to other organizations, but today it's not. It's open source in the sense that it was paid for by public funds and the intent is to share it."  In a comment to the OSI, Tim Mayer, President of CAVO ofered, "Los Angeles County must share their code publicly now. They have a history of not collaborating with the open source voting pioneers and community members. In order for it to be open source they must meet the standards."

Chris Jerdonek, San Francisco Elections Commissioner and Chair of San Francisco's Open Source Voting System Technical Advisory Committee, requested a copy of the source code for VSAP. In response, while LA County, "determined that there are responsive records to [Jerdonek's] request," the county stated that the records are exempt from disclosure as the records:

  • are, "prohibited from disclosure by federal or state-law",
  • relate to, "information technology systems of a public agency", and
  • "the facts of the particular case dictate that the public interest served by not disclosing the record clearly outweighs the public interest served by disclosure of the record."

All three of these responses conflict with global expectations of software described as open source, and contradict the specific benefits (i.e. "Linus's Law") extolled by Padilla and Logan for developing an open source elections system...

With security on the minds of elections officials and the public, open-source technology has the potential to further modernize election administration, security, and transparency.”
- Secretary of State, Alex Padilla.

We observed what took place in the last decade with this heightened awareness and sensitivity to voting technology at the same time as this kind of evolution of open-source.
- LA County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, Dean Logan

“Open source software” is a defined term, that is, software distributed with an OSI-Approved Open Source License. Each of these licenses are certified based on the Open Source Definition. The OSI's License Review Process guarantees software freedom though approved licensees, providing "permission in advance" to study, use, modify and redistribute the software.

For the Open Source Initiate, our concerns revolve around the apparent lack of regard for the open source label by county and state officials―its affordances and value―although perhaps the current state of the project is simply due to a lack of experience with, or in, open source communities of practice. Authenticity in principles and practice is of the utmost importance to the OSI in our efforts to promote and protect open source software, development and communities. Misuse (innocent or nefarious) dilutes the value, weakens trust, confuses the public, and reduces the efficacy of open source licensed software.

Both CAVO and the OSI have requested from the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, the open source software code and the OSI-Approved Open Source License distributed with the related project certification. CAVO has also requested a web link to a demonstration site and other surrounding information. As of today, neither organization has received a response from LA County, although the OSI has been assured a reply is forthcoming.

"We want to assure the open source community that Los Angeles' representations are being addressed with appropriate scrutiny," stated CAVO Secretary Brent Turner. "We will not allow 'open-washing' to interfere with our efforts toward the national security."

Although concerned at this point with the communications around, the "first publicly owned, open source election tally system certified under the California voting systems standards," we at the OSI are extremely enthusiastic that there is apparently interest and efforts underway to deliver open source voting systems. We are hopeful that these initial shortcomings are simply gaps in process and practice inherent to bureaucracies and operations as they evolve, adopt new technologies, and update policies.

The OSI and CAVO stand ready, and offer our support and expertise to Los Angeles County and the State of California to help develop, deploy and build community around their elections software.

Categories: Open Source

20 Years with, and at OSCON

Open Source Initiative - Tue, 08/07/2018 - 09:40

 

OSCON, the annual open source conference organized by O'Reilly Media, is always a great event for the open source community to come together to acknowledge the advancements of the open source software movement and the communities that enable it. However 2018 was a special year as several open source projects and communities marked significant milestones and celebrated anniversaries, including the OSI (you may have heard, it's our 20th).

In recognition of the success of the open source software movement, and successes of so many organizations that have contributed to software freedom, the OSI organized a full-day of presentations, discussions, and activities. The track, "Open Source Anniversary: Our Shared Successes", not only celebrated the founding of the open source software movement and the OSI itself in 1998, but also the anniversaries of several other key initiatives that have enabled the free and open source software movement to thrive.

  • Deb Nicholson, Director of Community Operations at Software Freedom Conservancy, presented 30+ years history of the Free Software movement.
  • Jose Parrella, Principal Program Manager at Microsoft and Debian Developer, provided highlights of Debian's 25 years.
  • The 25th anniversary of Red Hat was covered by Michael Tiemann, former OSI Board President and VP Open Source Affairs at Red Hat.
  • The FreeBSD Foundation, celebrating 25 years, was represented by their Executive Director, Deb Goodkin.
  • Abby Mayes, Practice Lead, Working Open at Mozilla, shared Mozilla's 20 year history.

Highlighting the continued growth and maturity of the now twenty-year open source software movement, our track also included several other talks featuring emerging initiatives:

  • OSI Incubator Project ClearlyDefined, crowdsourcing FOSS data for project success, was introduced by Carol Smith, Senior Open Source Program Manager at Microsoft and OSI Board Director.
  • Software Heritage, browsing 20 years of FOSS, and then some, was presented by Stefano Zacchiroli, Associate Professor of Computer Science at Université Paris Diderot, CTO of Software Heritage, former Debian Project Leader, and former OSI Board Member.
  • OSI Board Director/Treasurer and Program Manager at Google, Josh Simmons, presented, "Teaching the next generation to FLOSS."

Finally, we were very fortunate to host two very special keynotes:

Later in the evening, to celebrate this special occasion, we hosted a party, "Cupcakes & Cocktails" where the real highlight of the day took place: a memorable panel discussion on the founding the OSI, and its early work in promoting open source, with OSI Co-founder Bruce Perens, former OSI President Michael Tiemann, and former OSI DIrector Danese Cooper, moderated by current OSI President Simon Phipps. We were honored with over 150 guests joining us for the party, who not only heard some of the history of open source from those who made it, but may have also participated in a little bit of history themselves that evening.

While the anniversary track was a real highlight in our celebration of open source over the past 20 years, throughout OSCON we also conducted interviews with open source luminaries to capture their recolections of the movement's beginnings, and expectations for the future of open source software. We were fortunate to speak with Tim O'Reilly, Bruce Perens, Chris DiBona, Luis Villa, Alolita Sharma, and several other key people from the open source movement. In the coming months we'll share these interviews, along with each of the presenttions and the panel discussion from the day's events, here and on our community portal OpenSource.Net.

Importantly, we want to thank our dedicated sponsors for their support in making all of our events, and indeed, all of OSCON so successful: Amazon Web Services, DigitalOcean, GitHub, Google, IBM, Indeed, Heptio, Linux Foundation, Microsoft, and Percona.

OSCON was a great opportunity to celebrate our Anniversary. We want to thank everyone who has helped us make this celebration a wonderful experience!

 

 

Categories: Open Source

Should we celebrate the anniversary of open source?

Open Source Initiative - Wed, 07/18/2018 - 00:43

Today in Portland at OSCON, OSI will be celebrating 20 years of open source. I’ve had a few comments along the lines of “I’ve was saying ‘open source’ before 1998 so why bother with this 20 year celebration?”

That’s entirely possible. The phrase is reputed to have been used descriptively about free software — especially under non-copyleft licenses — from at least 1996 when it appeared in a press release. Given its appropriateness there’s a good chance it was in use earlier, although I’ve not found any reliable citations to support that. It was also in use in another field well before then, to describe military or diplomatic intelligence obtained by studying non-classified sources.

But there’s no doubt that the gathering at VA Linux where a group of key figures adopted Christine Peterson’s suggestion and decided to use the term to label a marketing programme for free software was a crucial moment. From that point onward, people who wanted to promote software freedom in business or wanted to identify their own approach to doing business with free software had a collectively-agreed term. It’s much easier to make a thing real if you have a word for it.

From that moment it became easy to talk about open source projects, open source business models, the benefits of open source and so on. Yes, people could talk about free software in the same way, but many of us found setting a “price frame” at the start of a discussion an unhelpful distraction requiring justification — “you mean you just want to give it away?” This arose because of the strength for native English speakers of the notion of zero cost associated with the word “free” and the need to dive into discussions about freedom in order to counter it.

The formation of OSI also changed things. By defining open source in reference to a definition of how to identify licenses that deliver the right to use, study, improve and share code, developers were empowered to use open source software without needing to seek further advice. By making a talking point of the methodology enabled by software freedom, open source enabled business adoption in a way that a frame based on promoting liberty would possibly derail. Together, this convergence of meaning made open source a lightning rod for change and an idea that could be spread outside a bubble of like minds. That’s not to say open source lacked a philosophical base; rather, that base became a foundation rather than the lead talking point.

Open source did not emerge from a void. It was consciously a marketing programme for the already-15-year-old idea of free software and arose in the context of both the GNU Project and the BSD community and their history (stretching back to the late 70s). We chose to reflect this in the agenda for our celebration track at OSCON.

But that doesn’t mean its inception is irrelevant. The consensus to define open source at the VA Linux meeting and the subsequent formation of OSI and acceptance of the Open Source Definition changed the phrase from descriptive to a term of art accepted globally. It created a movement and a market and consequently spread software freedom far beyond anyone’s expectations. That has to be worth celebrating.

Image credit: "spirit.png" is a derivative of "43427372221_5c3afe5d39_h.jpg", via Meshed Insights, and used with permission under a Creative Commons with Attribution (CC-By) license.

This article was originally published in Meshed Insights, and was made possible by Patreon patrons.

Categories: Open Source

Open Cars Kick-Off Conference

Open Source Initiative - Sat, 07/14/2018 - 09:35

Convened by Bruce Perens, one of the founders of the Open Source movement in software and an authority on Open Standards, and Open Research Institute, Inc. the Open Cars Kick-Off Conference will be held November 6, at the Marriott Airport Lakeside, Orlando, Florida, USA

Autonomous cars are coming. But how are we going to deal with keeping both the software and hardware up-to-date? Odds are, a three-year computer and software a few months old are going to be too old to drive autonomously, at least while the technology is in its infancy. And how do we train the guys in your local garage to maintain an AI?

The automobile industry thinks they have a solution: lease rather than sell autonomous cars, lock the hood shut, and maintain them exclusively through their dealers.

That works great for the 1%. But what about the rest of us? The folks who drive a dented, 10-year-old car? We should have the option to drive autonomous cars, and to participate in the same world as the more wealthy folks.

Open Cars will be the solution. These are automobiles sold with standard fittings, plugs and standards, so that an autonomous driving computer can be purchased in the aftermarket, installed and tested by a certified mechanic, and put on the road. Similarly, the on-board computer, communication, navigation, and entertainment system on an Open Car will be pluggable, purchased on the aftermarket, and will fit into well-defined niches in the vehicle.

By facilitating a competitive market for self-driving computers and other accessories that can be installed on any Open Car, Open Cars will increase the speed of self-driving development, preserve healthy competition, increase quality and lower cost through the force of an open market.

This one-day conference will introduce the concept of the Open Car, ongoing research, and how we will establish the Open Car as a reality.

Come to Orlando in November! Bring your family! The venue is a short drive from Disneyland, Universal, SeaWorld, and other attractions.

Register

Conference attendance will cost $60. Tickets will be available in a few days. To register your interest in the conference and be informed when ticket sales and hotel reservations open, subscribe to the Open Cars announcement list.

Open Cars? Open Source?

Open Cars mean open standards built into new cars that will support an aftermarket for autonomous driving and other electronic accessories. Open Source is not required.

The autonomous driving solutions added to Open Cars are likely to be sold for profit, some sort of certification and a specialized mechanic are necessary and must be paid for. Computer, communication, navigation, and entertainment systems have less stringent requirements and Open Source implementations are likely.

However, Open Standards make the development of Open Source autonomous driving systems possible. The potential for an Open Source implementation which is audited, certified, and sold might make Open Source autonomous driving solutions workable.

Call For Papers

A few slots are open for presentation by leading researchers in the field. Please submit your abstract only via email to bruce@perens.com ASAP.

Follow-Up Meeting

A follow-up meeting on November 7th for sponsors and active participants shall discuss how we carry forward the Open Cars campaign.

Paper

The first paper on Open Cars has been published in the Berkeley Technology Law Journal. The paper was a collaboration between ORI president Bruce Perens and Boalt Hall (Berkeley Law) professor Lothar Determann.

Image Credit: "Koenigsegg CCX with dihedral doors open" (Koenigsegg_CCX_(16702216680).jpg), by Axion23 - Koenigsegg CCX, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41194417

Categories: Open Source

Anniversary Schedule at OSCON

Open Source Initiative - Mon, 07/09/2018 - 14:01

 

The Open Source Initiative (OSI), in conjunction with OSCON, will be celebrating 20 years of Open Source next week at the Oregon Convention Center, Portland. The OSI will be hosting a day of community-led lightning talks, open source related activities, and an after party on Wednesday (July 18th). Entrance is free, courtesy of OSCON, but registration for the Expo Plus pass is required using the promo code EXPOFREE. The Expo Plus pass gives access to the event organized by the OSI, while the regular pass gives access to all other OSCON sessions and activities. The promo code “OSI20” gets 20% off any regular pass.

 

 

Schedule Open Source Anniversary (Room F149)  9am Keynotes  10:20am Morning Break   11am Simon Phipps: Welcome
Keynote: Danese Cooper & Stephen WalliHeroic and inspiring tales of open source  11:50am Carol Smith: ClearlyDefined: Crowdsourcing FOSS data for project success
Stefano Zacchiroli: Software Heritage: browsing 20 years of FOSS, and then some 12:30pm Lunch 1:45pm Patrick Masson: Welcome
Keynote: Bruce Perens: 20 years of Open Source  2:35pm Jose Parrella: 25 years of Debian
Abby Mayes: 20 years of Mozilla  3:15pm Afternoon Break  4:15pm Deb Nicholson: Free Software: Our Past and Our Future
Deb Goodkin: 25 years of FreeBSD  5:05pm Michael Tiemann: 25 years of Red Hat
Josh Simmons: Teaching the Next Generation to FLOSS
Vicky (VM) Brasseur: Closing 5:45pm Booth Crawl (5:45pm - 7:00 pm) 7:00pm - 9pm 20th Anniversary Party (Cupcakes and Cocktails)
Panel with OSI / Open Source Founders

 

The OSI will also be celebrating the Anniversary at the Community Leadership Summit, held just before OSCON (July 14-15). The event is free to attend, but registration is required:

http://www.communityleadershipsummit.com/

Categories: Open Source

Linux Australia Joins Open Source Initiative

Open Source Initiative - Thu, 07/05/2018 - 07:23

 

PALO ALTO, Calif. - July 5, 2017— Linux Australia, Inc, the organization representing thousands of Linux and open source community members in Australia, was recently accepted as a member of the Open Source Initiative, the global non-profit working to promote and protect open source software, further strengthening international relationships with partner organizations committed to free and open source software, hardware and culture.

 

The Open Source Initiative is the steward of the Open Source Definition (OSD) and the community-recognized body for reviewing and approving licenses as OSD-conformant. The organization's members play an important role across the world in community building, education and public advocacy to promote the importance of non-proprietary software. In doing so they further international awareness of how open source technologies, licenses and models of development can provide economic and strategic advantage.

President of Linux Australia, Kathy Reid, was delighted with the move. “We’re incredibly proud to bring Linux Australia into the Open Source Initiative fold - joining a strong and active international community of practitioners, policy advocates and technologists committed to the benefits that open source technologies can provide. As the Open Source Initiative celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, we look forward to partnering with both OSI and other partners to continue to strengthen international open source communities of practice. As new developments such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, virtual reality and other emergent technologies come to the fore, the principles and ethos underpinning open source are more important than ever. “

Patrick Masson, General Manager of the Open Source Initiative, was equally positive. “We’re honored to welcome Linux Australia as an OSI Affiliate Member. As a community-driven organization working to advance software freedom, Linux Australia serves as a model for open source collaboration, co-operation, and co-creation. Most already know of Linux Australia’s premier international conference, linux.conf.au, however Linux Australia’s efforts to advance free and open source software are far broader: cultivating communities of practice, supporting projects to promote Linux, creating educational resources to further understanding and adoption. We look forward to working with Linux Australia and their membership--in all their activities--and thank them for their ongoing commitment and contributions to software freedom.”

 

About Linux Australia

Linux Australia is the peak body for Open Source communities in Australia. Linux Australia represents thousands of users and developers of Free Software and Open Technologies, and facilitates internationally-renowned events including linux.conf.au—Australasia's grassroots Free and Open Source Software Conference. Individuals who join Linux Australia directly participate in online discussions on mailing lists covering a range of topics and user communities. Members of Linux Australia participate in sub- committees and special interest groups, organize events or stand for election to the Linux Australia council. Linux Australia Members may submit applications for funding for projects relevant to or beneficial to the Australian FOSS community under the grants program. Linux Australia membership is free and anyone can join.

Media contact: Kathy Reid, President, Linux Australia president@linux.org.au

About the Open Source Initiative

Founded in 1998, the Open Source Initiative promotes and protects open source software, development and communities, championing software freedom in society through education, collaboration, and infrastructure, stewarding the Open Source Definition, and preventing abuse of the ideals and ethos inherent to the open source movement. The OSI Affiliate Program allows non-profit organizations to become OSI members--an ideal way to support the mission of the OSI and contribute to the continued awareness and adoption of open source software. Affiliate Membership A “who’s who” of open source communities. For more information about the OSI, see https://opensource.org.

Media Contact: Italo Vignoli, Director, Open Source Initiative italo@opensource.org

Image credit: "Linux.conf.au 2003" by Lauchlin at English Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], from Wikimedia Commons

Categories: Open Source
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