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open source program

Gil Yehuda, Senior Director of Open Source at Oath (which owns the Yahoo and AOL brands), describes the company’s open source goals.

For seven years and counting, Gil Yehuda, Senior Director of Open Source at Oath Inc. (which owns the Yahoo and AOL brands), has led the open source program at Yahoo. Now with an expanded scope, he is gearing up to grow his team and improve the program. The company’s formal open source program office serves as a hub to connect all open source activities across the company, he says, but it didn’t start out that way.

As with many other companies, the open source program started informally with a group of diligent engineers and a few legal people. But the ad hoc group soon realized it needed a more formal program if it was going to be able to scale to address more issues and achieve specific business goals. With a formal program in place, they are poised to achieve its goals.

The top five of Oath’s numerous open source goals, according to Yehuda, are:

  1. Keep aligned with the industry on open source technology standards by avoiding creating unique tech stacks that Oath alone would have to manage at its own expense.
  2. Make it easy for engineers to interact with open source as users and as contributors.
  3. Be viewed as an open source friendly company for partnerships and collaborations.
  4. Be known as a great place for engineers to work on open source projects.
  5. Give back to the Open Source community by sharing code and practices.

Measuring and monitoring success requires the right tools and attitudes. Yehuda says at Oath they actively solicit and listen to the needs of their many engineering teams, track all their work transparently in Jira, and spread the work across many teams who help with the process.

“We have custom tools we use to check code and manage projects, but we’re hoping to work more with our peers in the TODO Group on tooling we can share across many of our peer open source program offices,” he said.

Success comes from being open, at scale

Yahoo helped make Apache Hadoop the cornerstone of the big data revolution when it took the early code and created a team around it to help it scale to Internet-scale. They agreed to publish it all as open source. When the need for real-time processing came to the forefront, Yahoo created S4 and open sourced it too, but then discovered Storm was just published, too, and it looked more promising. The team ditched their own code and put their efforts into helping make Storm even better.  

“We applied to Apache Storm what we learned from Hadoop and S4,” Yehuda said. “Our goal was to make it great, even though it kind of competed with our own first stab.”

Storm is a success today, and the company runs it alongside Hadoop to power many of its products. They added machine learning and high-scale data serving capabilities by adding Vespa Engine, to their platforms, and then published that too. And they helped other machine learning projects scale better too, all by publishing open source.

“We’ve leveraged our expertise with Storm to help both Caffe and TensorFlow achieve better scalability. We don’t own these solutions exclusively. Rather we share our code and help others — all the while we get to leverage our expertise to build one of the industry’s most scalable platforms for our use,” he said. “This saves us money while making us a fantastic place to work on projects that impact hundreds of millions of people.”

The program office worked on strategy, legalities, and execution of these and similar projects. Leveraging open source licensing and processes effectively was a key element throughout. Now as Oath, this work continues and expands.

Yehuda cited three key lessons he learned managing an open source program:

  1. Be a service to the engineers, not a barrier.
  2. Accept that challenges will be never-ending.
  3. Run the program office like you run an open source project: Be transparent in the way decisions are made and be open to input and collaboration from everyone.

“There are so many edge cases that come up — partnerships, acquisitions, unclear contract terms — and we simply need to be open to learn, explore, and come up with an answer to every open source related question. But the most rewarding part of my job is when people tell me they joined our company because they knew about our open source friendly culture. You know, we’re always looking for open source talent, and I’m hiring into the program office.” added Yehuda.

open source reading list

Check out the list of 21 must-read books for open source program managers, recommended by members of the TODO Group.

Is your organization looking to build out an open source program or are you already managing one? If so, you’re probably already considering the kinds of tools and guidance that can make your program a holistic success. That is why, in this article series, we have been covering tools for managing open source programs and providing advice from leading experts.

Now, to take your program to the next level, we offer a free guide containing an essential open source reading list. This list can help any organization launch and maintain a thriving open source program.

Specifically, the guide provides 21 must-read books for open source program managers, recommended by members of the TODO Group. These books can help your organization build a strong foundation and avoid missteps in developing your open source program.

Advice from experts is key to running a successful open source program. “It took us years of constant discussion and negotiation to break from the traditional IT setup into a more flexible environment that supports our open source development,” said Ibrahim Haddad, Vice President of R&D and Head of the Open Source Group at Samsung Research. “We made it work for us and with enough persistence you also can make it work for your open source team.”

The book in this list provide expert advice on how to get your open source tool collection started, how to approach issues such as licensing and governance, and much more. “A well-designed open source compliance process should simultaneously ensure compliance with the terms of open source licenses and also help companies protect their own intellectual property and that of third-party suppliers from unintended disclosure and/or other consequences,” notes Haddad.

Here are just some of the titles on the essential open source reading list:

Codev2 by Lawrence Lessig: A classic treatise on Internet regulation and the role of code as a form of law

New Frontiers in Open Innovation by Henry William Chesbrough: A thorough examination of research conducted to date on open innovation

Managing 3rd-Party Software Licenses by Giles Middleton: Covers not only license types, but methods of handling and tracking components and their licenses

Open Source for Business: A Practical Guide to Open Source Software Licensing by Heather Meeker: A downloadable ebook on licensing and legal terms

Producing Open Source Software: How to Run a Successful Free Software Project by Karl Fogel: From your mission statement to project fruition, don’t miss these guidelines

The Art of Community: Building the New Age of Participation by Jono Bacon: Sound advice from one of the most respected of all community managers

The free reading list can help you navigate all kinds of common open source-related challenges. It covers everything from evaluating ROI to optimizing practices, and it explores how to seamlessly and safely leverage existing tools to complement your open source creations. It is one of a new collection of free guides from The Linux Foundation and The TODO Group that are targeted at organizations running open source programs or considering them.

The guides are available now and they can help you run an open source program office where open source is supported, shared, and leveraged. They can also, in many instances, keep your program out of trouble, where trouble can range from licensing skirmishes to lawsuits.

These free resources were produced based on expertise from open source leaders, including advice from many members of The TODO Group, which includes Autodesk, Comcast, Dropbox, Facebook, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Netflix, Red Hat, Salesforce, and Samsung.

Also, don’t miss the previous articles in the series:

How to Create an Open Source Program

Tools for Managing Open Source Programs

Measuring Your Open Source Program’s Success

Effective Strategies for Recruiting Open Source Developers

Participating in Open Source Communities

Using Open Source Code

Launching an Open Source Project: A Free Guide

Practical Ways to Improve Your Open Source Development Impact

dropbox

One of the most important things when building an open source community is making sure that your own processes are open, according to Dropbox’s Luke Faraone.

The open source program at Dropbox was initially just a mailing list, where some interested engineers wanted to open source projects and develop with open source. Over time, things became more formalized, with a focus on ensuring that the company was consistent about what code it would release versus what code was best kept internal.

They also wanted to ensure that the things they were releasing were things that would actually provide value.

“We set minimum standards for what we would release as open source projects, including a review process, and our program just started to drive a lot of value,” said Luke Faraone, Security Engineer at Dropbox.

What drives Dropbox’s open source program

It’s important to ensure that the metrics and goals you track are not just related to volume, such as measuring the number of open source projects that you’re releasing or the number of lines of code you’re releasing. Those sort of metrics don’t necessarily provide business value or community value.

“We make sure to be thoughtful with our program’s goals, focusing on things that either provide back some business through external contributions or otherwise indicate that others are getting value out of our projects,” said Faraone. “We want to make sure that the community is connected back to us. Also, it is good to make sure to have fun and not have a process that is too onerous. We want people to feel comfortable working with us, and we want to be partners with folks as they work on projects. Ensuring that we have good relationships is really important.”

How Dropbox measures community success with open source

One of the most important things when building an open source community is making sure that your own processes are open.

“The more transparent you can make your decision-making processes, the more of a sense of ownership your community will have. You also want to make sure that your process doesn’t become a blocker. If your open source process for either inbound or outbound contributions is onerous, people will look to bypass the process or simply decide that contributing is too difficult,” said Faraone.

How Dropbox tracks contribution and release metrics with open source

It is important to track metrics related to contributions to projects, including such questions as:

  • What rate of contribution are you getting on a per-contributor basis?
  • Do people tend to come back to contribute to particular projects or would they also be interested in contributing to other projects that we are involved with?
  • How likely is a contributor who provides one patch to come back?

At Dropbox, according to Faraone, they also monitor the time between releases and the amount of churn that occurs between releases, where the goal is to encourage releases early and often. They also check in with teams if they have gone several months without committing to a new version.

Zulip stands out

Among Dropbox’s open source successes — if you look at the number of contributions — a project called Zulip stands out. Zulip was an open source chat system that the company acquired in 2014, but eventually they decided that they wanted to release it to the community.

“As an open source project, members of the community had set up hosting services for the chat system, and we eventually sunsetted our hosted service. We offered all of our users an opportunity to elect to have their data migrated to one of the community-operated hosting providers. What’s really impressive is that the Zulip open source project has a higher commitment velocity than it did when it had 10 or 15 employees working on it full time,” said Faraone.

Key lessons for open source program managers

Faraone offers the following tips to help ensure success when developing an open source program.

  • Community involvement can often give a project higher commitment velocity than dedicating a lot of full time employees to the project.
  • In driving community around projects, it is critical to make sure that your own processes and decisions are open and not too onerous.
  • Track metrics related to community contributions closely, including whether contributors participate in more than one project, and whether releases are arriving early and often.
  • When compared to tracking community ecosystem health and evaluating whether your program is creating business value, tracking metrics such as lines of code created has less value.
  • Evaluate whether you are choosing highly restrictive licenses, and if you are, what impact that will have as you start receiving external contributions.

You can read more TODO group case studies on GitHub.

Arpit Joshipura, GM of Networking and Orchestration at the Linux Foundation, shares his 2018 predictions for the networking industry.

1. 2015’s buzzwords are 2018’s course curriculum.

SDN, NFV, VNF, containers, microservices — the hype crested in 2016 and receded in 2017. But don’t mistake quiet for inactivity; solution providers and users alike have been hard at work with re-architecting and maturing solutions for key networking challenges. And now that these projects are nearing production, these topics are our most requested areas for training.

2. Open Source networking is crossing the chasm – from POCs to Production.

The ability for users and developers to work side by side in open source has helped projects mature quickly — and vendors to rapidly deliver highly relevant solutions to their customers. For example:

3. Top networking vendors are embracing a shift in their business models…

  • Hardware-centric to software-centric: value-add from rapid customization
  • Proprietary development to open-source, shared development
  • Co-development with end users, reducing time to deployment from 2 years to 6 months

4. Industry-wide adoption of 1-2 Network Automation platforms will enable unprecedented mass customization.

The need to integrate multiple platforms, taking into account each of their unique feature sets and limitations, has traditionally been a massive barrier to rapid service delivery.

In 2018, mature abstractions and standardizing processes will enable user organizations to rapidly onboard and orchestrate a diverse set of best-of-breed VNFs and PNFs at need.

5. Advances in cloud and carrier networking are driving skills and purchasing shifts in the enterprise.

The ease and ubiquity of public cloud for simple workloads has reset end user expectations for Enterprise IT. The carrier space has driven maturity of open networking solutions and processes. Enterprise IT departments are now at a crossroads:

  • How many and which of their workloads and processes do they want to outsource?
  • How can they effectively support those workloads remaining in-house with the same ease and speed users expect?
  • What skills will IT staff need, and how will they get them?

Which brings us to….

6. Prediction #1 will also lead off our Predictions list for 2019.

This article originally appeared on the ONAP website.

linux kernel

The top 30 Linux kernel developers have contributed about 16 percent of the total changes since the start of the Git era.

Since the beginning of the Git era (that is, the 2.6.11 release in 2005), a total of 15,637 developers have contributed to the Linux kernel, according to the recent Linux Kernel Development Report, written by Jonathan Corbet and Greg Kroah-Hartman.

Thomas Gleixner

Thomas Gleixner

The report states that, since the 2.6.11 release, the top 10 developers together have contributed 45,338 changes — almost 7.1 percent of the total. The top 30 developers contributed just under 16 percent of the total, as seen in the table below.

One of these top 30 developers is Thomas Gleixner, CTO at Linutronix GmbH, who serves in various kernel maintainer roles. In this article, Gleixner answers a few questions about his contributions to the Linux kernel.Linux kernel devs

Linux Foundation: What role do you play in the community and what subsystem(s) do you work on?

Thomas Gleixner: I serve various maintainer roles. The x86 architecture, the generic interrupt subsystem and the time(r) subsystem. Aside of that I’m leading the realtime preeemption project and overseeing the mainlining of it.

Linux Foundation: What’s one way you have contributed to the 4.8 to 4.13 releases?

Gleixner: Reviews and other maintainer duties, reworking CPU hotplug and the timer wheel, implementing the managed interrupt facility, helping the resource director technology support along and consolidation/cleanups all over the place.

Linux Foundation: What do you think the kernel community needs to work on in the upcoming year?

Gleixner: Aside of the technical challenges, which are hard to predict, we need more effort on code cleanup and consolidation along with more capacity for reviews.

Linux Foundation: Why do you contribute to the Linux kernel?

Gleixner: First of all, it’s fun, and I strongly believe that FOSS is the right way to go, but I freely admit that I also do it to earn my living.

You can learn more about the Linux kernel development process and read more developer profiles in the full report. Download the 2017 Linux Kernel Development Report now.

Open Source Leadership Summit

Share your knowledge, best practices, and strategies at Open Source Leadership Summit.

Open Source Leadership Summit (OSLS) is an invitation-only think tank where open source software and collaborative development thought leaders convene, discuss best practices, and learn how to manage today’s largest shared technology investments.

The Linux Foundation invites you to share your knowledge, best practices, and strategies with fellow open source leaders at OSLS.  

Tracks & Suggested Topics for Open Source Leadership Summit:

OS Program Office

  • Consuming and Contributing to Open Source
  • Driving Participation and Inclusiveness in Open Source Projects
  • Standards and Open Source
  • Managing Competing Corporate Interests while Driving Coherent Communities
  • How to Vet the Viability of OS Projects
  • Open Source + Startup Business Models
  • Project Planning and Strategy
  • Internal vs. External Developer Adoption

Best Practices in Open Source Development / Lessons Learned

  • Contribution Policies
  • Promoting Your Open Source Project
  • Open Source Best Practices
  • Open Source Program Office Case Studies and Success Stories
  • Standards and Open Source

Growing & Sustaining Project Communities / Metrics and Actions Taken

  • Collaboration Models to Address Security Issues
  • Metrics for Understanding Project Health

Automating Compliance / Gaps & Successes

  • Using Trademarks in Open Communities
  • Working with Regulators / Regulated Industries
  • Working with the Government on OS
  • How to Incorporate SPDX Identifiers in Your Project
  • Legal + Compliance
  • Licensing + Patents
  • Successfully Working Upstream & Downstream

Certifying Open Source Projects

  • Security
  • Safety
  • Export
  • Government Restrictions
  • Open Source vs. Open Governance
  • New Frontiers for Open Source in FinTech and Healthcare

Futures

  • Upcoming Trends
  • R&D via Open Source
  • Sustainability

Business Leadership

  • Cultivating Open Source Leadership
  • How to Run a Business that Relies on Open Source
  • How to be an Effective Board Member
  • How to Invest in Your Project’s Success
  • Managing Competing Corporate Interests while Driving Coherent Communities
  • Monetizing Open Source & Innovators Dilemma

View here for more details on suggested topics, and submit your proposal before the Jan. 21 deadline.

Get inspired! Watch keynotes from Open Source Leadership Summit 2017.

See all keynotes from OSLS 2017 »

This free guide can help you increase your development team’s efficacy through and with open source contributions.

Open source programs are sparking innovation at organizations of all types, and if your program is up and running, you may have arrived at the point where maximizing the impact of your development is essential to continued success. Many open source program managers are now required to demonstrate the ROI of their technology development, and example open source report cards from Facebook and Google track development milestones.

This is where the new, free Improving Your Open Source Development Impact guide can help. The aim of the guide is to help you increase your development team’s efficacy through and with open source contributions. By implementing some of the best practices laid out in the guide, you can:

  • Reduce the amount of work needed from product teams
  • Minimize the cost to maintain source code and internal software branches
  • Improve code quality
  • Produce faster development cycles
  • Produce more stable code to serve as the base for products
  • Improve company reputation in key open source communities.

Open source development requires a different approach than many organizations are accustomed to. But the work becomes easier if you have a clear plan to follow. Fortunately, a whole lot of companies and individuals have already forged a path to success in contributing to significant open source projects. They have tried and true methods for establishing a leadership role in open source communities.

This open source guide offers lessons for increasing open source development impact through specific examples. Contributing to the Linux kernel is one of the hardest challenges for open source developers. With that in mind, the guide uses this case as an example, but the lessons learned will apply to nearly any open source project you’ll work with.

“It took us years of constant discussion and negotiation to break from the traditional IT setup into a more flexible environment that supports our open source development,” said Ibrahim Haddad, Vice President of R&D and Head of the Open Source Group at Samsung Research. “We made it work for us and with enough persistence you also can make it work for your open source team.”

Common Challenges

Notably, organizations run into common problems as they try to improve the impact of their open source inventions. The figure below shows some of the challenges that dedicated open source teams face in an enterprise setting.open source guidesThe Improving Your Open Source Development Impact guide can help you navigate these and other common open source-related challenges. It covers everything from evaluating ROI to optimizing practices, and it explores how to seamlessly and safely leverage existing tools to complement your open source creations.

It is one of a new collection of free guides from The Linux Foundation and The TODO Group providing valuable insight and expertise for any organization running an open source program. The guides are available now to help you run an open source program office where open source is supported, shared, and leveraged.

Check out the all the guides, and don’t miss the previous articles in the series:

How to Create an Open Source Program

Tools for Managing Open Source Programs

Measuring Your Open Source Program’s Success

Effective Strategies for Recruiting Open Source Developers

Participating in Open Source Communities

Using Open Source Code

Launching an Open Source Project: A Free Guide

linux kernel development

Part of the ongoing Linux development work involves hardening the kernel against attack.

Security is paramount these days for any computer system, including those running on Linux. Thus, part of the ongoing Linux development work involves hardening the kernel against attack, according to the recent Linux Kernel Development Report.

This work, according to report authors Jonathan Corbet and Greg Kroah-Hartman, involves the addition of several new technologies, many of which have their origin in the grsecurity and PaX patch sets. “New hardening features include virtually mapped kernel stacks, the use of the GCC plugin mechanism for structure-layout randomization, the hardened usercopy mechanism, and a new reference-count mechanism that detects and defuses reference-count overflows. Each of these features makes the kernel more resistant to attack,” the report states.

Linux kernel

Kees Cook

In this series, we are highlighting some of the hard-working developers who contribute to the Linux kernel. Here, Kees Cook, Software Engineer at Google, answers a few questions about his work.

Linux Foundation: What role do you play in the community and what subsystem(s) do you work on?

Kees Cook: Recently, I organized the Kernel Self-Protection Project (KSPP), which has helped focus lots of other developers to work together to harden the kernel against attack. I’m also the maintainer of seccomp, pstore, LKDTM, and gcc-plugin subsystems, and a co-maintainer of sysctl.

Linux Foundation: What have you been working on this year?

Cook: I’ve been focused on KSPP work. I’ve assisted many other developers by helping port, develop, test, and shepherd things like hardened usercopy, gcc plugins, KASLR improvements, PAN emulation, refcount_t conversion, and stack protector improvements.

Linux Foundation: What do you think the kernel community needs to work on in the upcoming year?

Cook: I think we’ve got a lot of work ahead in standardizing the definitions of syscalls (to help run-time checkers), and continuing to identify and eliminate error-prone code patterns (to avoid common flaws). Doing these kinds of tree-wide changes continues to be quite a challenge for contributors because the kernel development model tends to focus on per-subsystem development.

Linux Foundation: Why do you contribute to the Linux kernel?

Cook: I’ve always loved working with low-level software, close to the hardware boundary. I love the challenges it presents. Additionally, since Linux is used in all corners of the world, it’s hard to find a better project to contribute to that has such an impact on so many people’s lives.

You can learn more about the Linux kernel development process and read more developer profiles in the full report. Download the 2017 Linux Kernel Development Report now.

openchain

OpenChain makes open source compliance more predictable, understandable, and efficient for all participants in the software supply chain.

Communities form in open source all the time to address challenges. The majority of these communities are based around code, but others cover topics as diverse as design or governance. The OpenChain Project is a great example of the latter. What began three years ago as a conversation about reducing overlap, confusion, and wasted resources with respect to open source compliance is now poised to become an industry standard.

The idea to develop an overarching standard to describe what organizations could and should do to address open source compliance efficiently gained momentum until the formal project was born. The basic idea was simple: identify key recommended processes for effective open source management. The goal was equally clear: reduce bottlenecks and risk when using third-party code to make open source license compliance simple and consistent across the supply chain. The key was to pull things together in a manner that balanced comprehensiveness, broad applicability, and real-world usability.

Main Pillars of the Project

The OpenChain Project has three pillars supported by dedicated work teams. The OpenChain Specification defines a core set of requirements every quality compliance program must satisfy. OpenChain Conformance allows organizations to display their adherence to these requirements. The OpenChain Curriculum provides the educational foundation for open source processes and solutions, while meeting a key requirement of the OpenChain Specification. The result is that open source license compliance becomes more predictable, understandable, and efficient for all participants in the software supply chain.

Reasons to Engage

The OpenChain Project is designed to be useful and adoptable for all types of entities in the supply chain. As such, it is important to distill its value proposition for various potential partners. Our volunteer community created a list of five practical reasons to engage:

  1. OpenChain makes free and open source software (FOSS) more accessible to your developers. OpenChain provides a framework for shared, compliant use of FOSS. Conforming companies create an environment that supports use of FOSS internally and sharing of FOSS with partners.
  2. OpenChain reduces overall compliance effort, saving time and legal and engineering resources. OpenChain allows companies in a supply chain to work together toward FOSS compliance and provides a consistent standard to which all must perform. By contrast, in a typical supply chain, each member of the chain has to perform FOSS compliance for software of others in the chain, wasting time and resources in a duplication of effort.
  3. OpenChain may be adapted to your existing systems. OpenChain allows you to choose your own processes to meet its requirements. OpenChain provides resources that help you design new processes from the ground up, or you may choose to use the systems you have in place.
  4. OpenChain helps your business teams work together toward a common goal. OpenChain provides a blueprint for your legal, engineering, and business teams to work together toward FOSS compliance.
  5. OpenChain allows you to conform to a stable, community-backed specification. When you adopt OpenChain, you conform to a stable specification that is widely backed by industry and community participants. OpenChain was developed in an open, collaborative process, with contributors from a wide range of industries across Asia, Europe and North America. OpenChain is being formally adopted by a growing number of both small and larger companies.

Today, the OpenChain Project is addressing its goals and moving towards wider market adoption with the support of 14 Platinum members: Adobe, Arm, Cisco, Comcast, GitHub, Harman, Hitachi, HPE, Qualcomm, Siemens, Sony, Toyota, Western Digital, and Wind River. The project also has a broad community of volunteers helping to make open source compliance easier for a multitude of market segments. As we move into 2018, the OpenChain Project is well positioned for adoption by Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 suppliers in multiple sectors, ranging from embedded to mobile to automotive to enterprise to infrastructure.

Entities of all sizes are welcome to participate in the OpenChain Project. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to join our mailing list at:

https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/mailman/listinfo/openchain

You can also send private email to the Project Director, Shane Coughlan, at coughlan@linux.com.

Launching a project and then rallying community support can be complicated, but the new guide to Starting an Open Source Project can help.

Increasingly, as open source programs become more pervasive at organizations of all sizes, tech and DevOps workers are choosing to or being asked to launch their own open source projects. From Google to Netflix to Facebook, companies are also releasing their open source creations to the community. It’s become common for open source projects to start from scratch internally, after which they benefit from collaboration involving external developers.

Launching a project and then rallying community support can be more complicated than you think, however. A little up-front work can help things go smoothly, and that’s exactly where the new guide to Starting an Open Source Project comes in.

This free guide was created to help organizations already versed in open source learn how to start their own open source projects. It starts at the beginning of the process, including deciding what to open source, and moves on to budget and legal considerations, and more. The road to creating an open source project may be foreign, but major companies, from Google to Facebook, have opened up resources and provided guidance. In fact, Google has an extensive online destination dedicated to open source best practices and how to open source projects.

“No matter how many smart people we hire inside the company, there’s always smarter people on the outside,” notes Jared Smith, Open Source Community Manager at Capital One. “We find it is worth it to us to open source and share our code with the outside world in exchange for getting some great advice from people on the outside who have expertise and are willing to share back with us.”

In the new guide, noted open source expert Ibrahim Haddad provides five reasons why an organization might open source a new project:

  1.    Accelerate an open solution; provide a reference implementation to a standard; share development costs for strategic functions
  2.    Commoditize a market; reduce prices of non-strategic software components.
  3.    Drive demand by building an ecosystem for your products.
  4.    Partner with others; engage customers; strengthen relationships with common goals.
  5.    Offer your customers the ability to self-support: the ability to adapt your code without waiting for you.

The guide notes: “The decision to release or create a new open source project depends on your circumstances. Your company should first achieve a certain level of open source mastery by using open source software and contributing to existing projects. This is because consuming can teach you how to leverage external projects and developers to build your products. And participation can bring more fluency in the conventions and culture of open source communities. (See our guides on Using Open Source Code and Participating in Open Source Communities) But once you have achieved open source fluency, the best time to start launching your own open source projects is simply ‘early’ and ‘often.’”

The guide also notes that planning can keep you and your organization out of legal trouble. Issues pertaining to licensing, distribution, support options, and even branding require thinking ahead if you want your project to flourish.

“I think it is a crucial thing for a company to be thinking about what they’re hoping to achieve with a new open source project,” said John Mertic, Director of Program Management at The Linux Foundation. “They must think about the value of it to the community and developers out there and what outcomes they’re hoping to get out of it. And then they must understand all the pieces they must have in place to do this the right way, including legal, governance, infrastructure and a starting community. Those are the things I always stress the most when you’re putting an open source project out there.”

The Starting an Open Source Project guide can help you with everything from licensing issues to best development practices, and it explores how to seamlessly and safely weave existing open components into your open source projects. It is one of a new collection of free guides from The Linux Foundation and The TODO Group that are all extremely valuable for any organization running an open source program. The guides are available now to help you run an open source program office where open source is supported, shared, and leveraged. With such an office, organizations can establish and execute on their open source strategies efficiently, with clear terms.

These free resources were produced based on expertise from open source leaders. Check out all the guides here and stay tuned for our continuing coverage.

Also, don’t miss the previous articles in the series:

How to Create an Open Source Program

Tools for Managing Open Source Programs

Measuring Your Open Source Program’s Success

Effective Strategies for Recruiting Open Source Developers

Participating in Open Source Communities

Using Open Source Code