Good Governance: OSPO Alliance Announces Handbook for Open Source Projects

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The OSPO Alliance, consisting of four non-profit open source organizations, has published the first version of the Open Source Handbook of Good Governance. OW2, the Eclipse Foundation, the OpenForum Europe and the Foundation for Public Code have jointly developed the manual as part of their good governance initiative. It offers know-how for introducing a professional management of open source software in organizations.

The focus of the manual is the need to use open source software properly and fairly, to protect organizations from technical, legal and IP threats, and to provide them with maximum benefit through the use of open source. According to a statement on the Eclipse Foundation website, the document goes beyond liability issues and mere regulations. The aim is to wake up the communities of software users for a more conscious use of open source code and to build understanding among system integrators. The aim is to develop beneficial relationships for everyone involved within the freely accessible ecosystem (Free Open Source Software, in short: FOSS).

According to the editors, the Good Governance Manual offers a comprehensive methodology based on established key concepts. The approach follows the five goals of Usage, Trust, Culture, Engagement and Strategy, each of which is assigned five “canonical activities”. Organizations looking for instructions in the manual should be able to use scorecards to tailor the suggestions to their own needs in order to create a roadmap for the introduction and operation of an Open Source Program Office (OSPO). It also describes how to set up a management system to monitor progress.

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Two years of work by the OW2 members, among others, have already been incorporated into the current publication; the project is in the implementation and adaptation phase. According to Cédric Thomas, CEO of OW2, it is now the users’ turn to try out the methodology and use their feedback to refine the best practices.

The manual is the first major publication of the OSPO Alliancewhich has set itself the goal of supporting companies and public institutions in establishing OSPO structures. The alliance offers a neutral platform for the exchange of experiences, resources and skills under its roof. Anyone who is interested in it can get involved on the OSPO.Zone website, direct contributions for the next versions of the good governance methodology are also welcome, according to the blog entry. It is desired and planned that all interested parties can learn from each other by passing on their experiences (successes and failures) in the form of case studies and short interviews.

More information on this and further statements from those involved can be found can be found in the blog entry on the Eclipse Foundation website. Further Notes on the good governance initiative can be found on the OW2 website. Recently, among others, SAP, the Free Software Foundation Europe and WiPro have also been supporting the project.


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