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Open Source Software

Open Source Foundations Coming of Age — What Next? 65

An article at The H makes the case that many open source foundations have successfully proven their worth and withstood the test of time as legitimate entities. This leads to the question: where do they go from here? The author suggests an umbrella foundation to provide consistent direction across many projects. Quoting; "As you might expect, the main aim of most foundations is to promote their own particular project and its associated programs. For the putative [Open Source Foundation Foundation], that would generalise into promoting open source foundations as a way of supporting open source activity. In practical terms, that might translate into establishing best practice, codifying what needs to be done in order to create an open source foundation in different jurisdictions with their differing legal requirements. That would make it far easier for smaller projects – such as Krita – to draw on that body of knowledge once they have decided to take this route. It might also encourage yet more projects to do the same, encouraged by the existence of support mechanisms that will help them to navigate safely the legal requirements, and to minimise costs by drawing on the experience of others. After all, this is precisely the way open source works, and what makes it so efficient: it tries to avoid re-inventing the wheel by sharing pre-existing solutions to problems or sub-problems."
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Open Source Foundations Coming of Age — What Next?

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  • by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Tuesday December 25, 2012 @08:48PM (#42391245) Homepage

    Multiple "umbrella" organizations? Sure. One single central authority? Do Not Want.

    • by jcoy42 ( 412359 )

      No kidding. I read that summary as "Hey, we've found these systems that are really working well and so we were thinking we'd like to change that".

      It's working JUST FINE- bugger off.

      • It's just like most analysts of Apple.

        You are very successful up to now.
        But now that you are so successful, you must change and start doing things the way everybody else is, otherwise, you will go out of business.

    • Not only that - if different organizations have different goals, like OSI and FSF do, bringing them under a common umbrella is self defeating.
    • The example is good for the following reasons: Some are US entities, some are European ones. Organisations like Apache Foundation are obsolete. No one wants to be governed by US entities because we don't understand them. KDE e.V., Document Foundation are so much better governed.
  • These foundations should get into the online advertising business.

    Maybe then -finally- their market cap would increase... or something.

  • by Lisias ( 447563 ) on Tuesday December 25, 2012 @08:55PM (#42391283) Homepage Journal


    Open source can be a "mess". But it's exactly this "mess" that makes the FOSS resilient.

    • Ok. What if there was just one foundation, and then a second, secretive, foundation foundation whose purpose is to monitor the foundation's activities in Open Source? We could even build an open source AI that could secretly oversee the second foundation foundation and make executive decisions for human^H^H^H^HOpen Source.

      I think that could work. Oh, and we'd have to nuke the Earth, to encourage programmers to free their code and spread it far and wide across the Internet, for free (don't worry, the Inte

      • by Lisias ( 447563 )

        Ok. What if there was just one foundation, and then a second, secretive, foundation foundation whose purpose is to monitor the foundation's activities in Open Source?

        A FOSS oriented Church? =P

        Come to Brazil, Churches don't pay taxes around here. This can be a highly lucrative enterprise! =D

        (Ahh, the blips of the bitcoins being donated by mobile phones on the mass....)

    • by bug1 ( 96678 )

      Dont be so superficial, its not about the structures, its about the people.

      Im sure we could all make a big mess in a cathedral if it was useful.

  • I think that the copyleft adoption is next. Currently corporations like non-copyleft open source licenses like Apache, eclipse so they can create commercial derivative works. The next step is don't caring about commercial software anymore and focusing 100% in services, turning on the obligatory open source on derivate works. ... nah... don't have the time to think on details.
    • by YurB ( 2583187 )
      Yeah I think the same. Things like Wikipedia and Creative Commons are helping to promote this model. I think people are 'by default' thinking the copyleft way, we just need to show them there's nothing wrong with their thinking, and show how it might work ethically:)
      • I don't mind corporations preferring non-copyleft, especially since non-copyleft contributions can usually be used within both copyleft and non-copyleft projects. If corporations started to mass-adopt copyleft a lot of non-copyleft projects that used to rely on contributions from such companies would be left out in the cold.
  • We could call it the Free Desktop Standard, and all Open Source Desktops could implement it -- Yes, even you my little Haiku. What's that Haiku? You don't want to conform to some generic standard? It would limit your ability to differ from other desktops other than by look & feel? You don't want to implement X11 just to comply with the Standard?! Well, fine. You just won't be under the Umbrella of the Free Desktop Standard. You just won't benefit from the services we provide! What do you mean y

  • The author suggests an umbrella foundation to provide consistent direction across many projects. Quoting;

    Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. Open source does not need consistency. It was created as a reaction against people who think they do need it.

    • Well, yes and no. As a leader/owner of a F/OSS project myself a reviewed and tested legal framework, along with some operation guidelines, would be immensely helpful in "business" situations or any time monetary issues are at hand.
      That's probably what they meant with "to provide consistent direction across many projects", not some plan to force everyone to rank and file under their command.

      And since no-one is born with universal knowledge of every imaginable field then that sort of thing would benefit me
      • businesses have to have their lawyers go over such issues with a fine tooth comb anyway, they're not going to trust some "foundation"

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The exactly quote is more specific:

      A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.

      However, this does not give a complete dismissal of the value of consistency, and if I wanted to dig up some pithy quote about the value of a regular structure, I'm sure I could do so.

      And you can bet if Open Source becomes a mish-mash of inconsistency, there will be people who decide to cut that Gordian Knot.

    • How about an interface instead of a abstract base class?

      If two or more organizations feel they can do better if they pool resources together, why not make an alliance or a small partnership or such? If there is no real need for a meta-bureaucracy to handle the existing bureaucracy, why make it?

  • Just for Fun (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by tuppe666 ( 904118 )

    Microsoft Mission Statement ( - "At Microsoft our mission and values are to help people and businesses realise their full potential." their values are more interesting "As a company, and as individuals, we value integrity, honesty, openness, personal excellence, constructive self-criticism, continual self-improvement, and mutual respect. We are committed to our customers and partners and have a passion for technology. We take on big challenges, and pride our

  • The one great attribute (besides being free & open) about F/OSS is flexibility. Don't like this distro/program/script? Use this one. Like this distro/program/script but not feature X? Use a forked version with alternate feature Y, install alternate feature Z, or hack it up yourself. Don't like the license being BSD-like? Find one that uses the GPL, request for someone to write a new version (or for the author to change licenses), or again hack up your own.

    Creating one umbrella foundation sounds
  • For starters, Open Source organizations (I'm not including the FSF in this, since they themselves deny that they are one) should abandon all support for 'free' software - be it speech or beer - and state that they are only about ensuring that source code always accompanies binary code. In other words, say nothing about re-distribution rights, and allow Open Source licenses to disallow re-distribution if the software writers choose.

    This way, the advantages of Open Source software will always be there w/ I

    • by YurB ( 2583187 )
      This shows me that RMS was right: open source is too lose term. 100 businesses making similar modifications to the source code of a single program on their own, fixing the same bugs, adding the same features is a waste of time. Also they may begin suing each other eventually. Libre Software is all about cooperation, and source availability is just a technical requirement for that.
      • Fixing bugs is just one aspect of it, and usually something that the original vendor would want to do. But there are a lot of other things that individual customers may want, but which the vendor may not be interested in b'cos there ain't many other customers interested in it. For instance, let's say an ISV makes a program that helps a company manage its finances. One customer, which is located both domestically and offshore, would like some features that helps it transact business not only according to

  • by Anonymous Coward

    As someone who spent the last 20 odd years coding C# NET / C++ COM among other things, I've recently become disillusioned with the MS nosedive as a dev platform.
    I am exploring open source alternatives, learning Ubuntu, Apache, GNU tools, Google App Engine, Clojure, etc.
    Now that MS has abandoned the desktop (& stagnated NET) with its Win8 disaster, Its no longer "developers, developers, developers" - it is now a "devices & services" company. Their problem with this is that they have completely lost

  • It would be great if Free Software Foundation and OpenSource Initiative worked together to minimize the differences and together support the critical projects like a free/open source Skype replacement.

    P.S. I personally would be very happy to see the term "Libre Software" to become the common denominator. Open source sounds cool and everyone knows it, but the name only says the source has to be open, that's only a part of what we all mean by it, and FSF is opposing it. Free software, on the other hand, is a

    • "What we actually mean by 'Free' is this set of restrictions on freedom.."

      The only free source code and/or software is Public Domain.
      • by vurian ( 645456 )
        Where I live "public domain" does not exist. The concept has no legal meaning over here.
    • by booch ( 4157 )

      How about the term "Free Source"? It allows the FSF to continue having the word "free" as in freedom. And it allows the OSI to still focus on the source code. And realistically, the source code really is the only "free as in beer" portion. Additionally, it solves the problem that the OSI has, in that "open source" already has a meaning in the intelligence community, causing the term to not be trademarkable.

  • Cause that would be cool.
  • They should all hire some hipster UI company to ruin the remaining desktop environments and UI-heavy software with some moronic tablet-wannabe interface. After all, Windows 8 is selling so well, GNOME3 is welcomed by the users, and Unity did not hurt the popularity of Ubuntu at all!

    • I think that once GNOME 3 and maybe also Unity (I haven't looked too much at it) has been more fine tuned that users will actually like them more than the older GNOME 2 desktop. It's however unfortunate that GNOME 2 has been discontinued since while GNOME 3 is probably the right desktop for most users it's not the right desktop for all users. Sure Mate exists but the whole thing could have been handled so much more smoothly.
      • No, the whole models of both are fatally flawed. GNOME 3 breaks all window managers except its own shell -- that kills any customization that is not done within that shell, and their shell sucks. Both Unity and Gnome break easy window switching and screen layout control -- that clearly identifies them as touch-only design, no matter what their authors thought.

        • Sure and that's why I said that they are not the desktop for everyone. I don't know much about Unity, but at least GNOME 3 will (when it's ready) be a good desktop for most users. I have seen a ton of people that previously would never touch Linux try GNOME 3 and say that this is the point where they could actually consider it as an alternative to Windows or OS X.

          Now the bad thing that the GNOME developers really dropped the ball on was that GNOME 3 is not a good fit for those of us that have used Linux f

  • by booch ( 4157 )

    Seems like that would be a good role for the Open Software Initiative.

Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.