Table of contents
This document introduces a methodology to implement professional management of open source software in an organisation. It addresses the need to use open source software properly and fairly, safeguard the company from technical, legal and IP threats, and maximise the advantages of open source. Wherever an organisation stands on these topics this document proposes guidance and ideas to move forward and make your journey a success.
Most large end-users and systems integrators already use Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS) either in their information systems or product and service divisions. Open source compliance has become an ever-growing concern, and many large companies have established compliance officers. However, while sanitising a company’s open-source production chain – which is what compliance is about – is fundamental, users must give back to communities and contribute to the sustainability of the open-source ecosystem. We see open source governance encompassing the whole ecosystem, engaging with local communities, nurturing a healthy relationship with open source software vendors and service specialists. This takes compliance to the next level, and this is what open source good governance is about.
This initiative goes beyond compliance and liability. It is about building awareness in communities of end-users (often software developers themselves) and systems integrators, and developing mutually beneficial relationships within the European FOSS ecosystem.
OSS Good Governance enables organisations of all types – companies, small and large, city councils, universities, associations, etc. – maximise the benefits derived from open source by helping them align people, processes, technology and strategy. And in this area, that of maximising the advantages of open source, especially in Europe, everyone is still learning and innovating, with nobody knowing where they actually stand regarding state of the art in the domain.
This initiative aims to help organisations achieve these goals with:
This guide has been developed with the following requirements in mind:
Some activities will not be relevant to all situations, but the whole framework still provides a comprehensive roadmap and paves the way for tailored strategies.
At OW2, an initiative is a joint effort to address a market need. The Good Governance Initiative proposes a methodological framework to implement professional management of open source software within organisations.
The Good Governance initiative is based on a comprehensive model inspired by the popular Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs and motivations, as illustrated by the picture below.
Through ideas, guidelines and activities the Good Governance initiative provides a blueprint for the implementation of organisational entities tasked with professional management of open source software, what is also called OSPO (for Open Source Program Offices). The methodology is also a management system to define priorities, and monitor and share progress.
As they implement the OSS Good Governance methodology, organisations will enhance their skills in a number of directions, including:
The OSPO Alliance was launched by a coalition of leading European open source non-profit organizations, including OW2, Eclipse Foundation, OpenForum Europe, and Foundation for Public Code, with a mission to grow awareness for open source in Europe and globally and to promote the structured and professional management of open source by companies and administrations.
While the Good Governance initiative is focused on developing a management methodology, the OSPO Alliance has the broader goal to help companies, particularly in non-technology sectors, and public institutions discover and understand open source, start benefiting from it across their activities and grow to host their own OSPOs.
The OSPO Alliance has established the OSPO Alliance website hosted at https://ospo-alliance.org. The OSPO Alliance serves the community with a safe place to discuss and exchange on the topics of OSPOs, and provides a repository for a comprehensive set of resources for corporations, public institutions, and research and academic organizations. The OSPO Alliance connects with OSPOs across Europe and the world as well as with supportive community organizations. It encourages best practices and fosters contribution to the sustainability of the open source ecosystem. Check out the OSPO Alliance website for a quick overview of complementary frameworks of IT management best practices.
The OSPO Alliance website is also the place where we collect feedback about the initiative and its content (e.g. activities, body of knowledge) from the community at large.
There is an ongoing community work to translate the GGI Handbook in various languages. As progress evolves rapidly, we recommend to check out our official website for a complete list of available translations.
The GGI handbook is translated using Weblate, an open source project and platform that offers free hosting for open source projects. We want to thank them deeply, as well as all our translation contributors. You are amazing.
The following great people have contributed to the Good Governance Initiative:
This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence (CC-BY 4.0). From the Creative Commons website:
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All content is Copyright: 2020-2022 OW2 & The Good Governance Initiative participants.
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