OSPO Alliance Announces the OSS Good Governance Handbook

Tuesday, November 9, 2021 - 08:00 by Jacob Harris

The OSPO Alliance today announced the publication of the first version of the Open Source Good Governance Handbook. Collaboratively developed in the framework of the OW2 Open Source Good Governance initiative, the handbook 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, safeguarding organisations from technical, legal and IP threats, and maximising for them the advantages of open source.

This methodology goes beyond compliance and liability. It is about building awareness in communities of end-users (open software developers themselves) and systems integrators, and developing mutually beneficial relationships within the FOSS ecosystem.

The Good Governance Handbook provides a comprehensive methodology based on a few key concepts. From a generic perspective, the approach is structured along five Goals (Usage, Trust, Culture, Engagement and Strategy), each supported by five Canonical Activities described in the handbook. At execution stage, the methodology requires adapting the Canonical Activities to the specific condition of each organisation by transferring them into Customized Activity Scorecards which, put together, constitute a roadmap for setting up and running an Open Source Program Office (OSPO) and a management system to monitor progress.

The OSS Good Governance Handbook is the first major publication of the OSPO Alliance to help companies and public institutions implement an Open Source Program Office (OSPO).  The OSPO Alliance provides an organisation-neutral venue for contributors to share resources, experience and skills. Supporters can opt to contribute in several ways: at the new OSPO.Zone website, contribute directly to the next steps of the Good Governance Initiative methodology, and share their experiences (both successes and failures!) as case studies or with more informal short interviews. 

“This publication is the result of nearly two years of collaborative work with OW2 members and OSS practitioners. We are now moving to the implementation and customization phase with some key adopters of the methodology. We are excited to publish this effort with the OSPO Alliance,” said Cédric Thomas, CEO of OW2.

The OSPO Alliance is also pleased to welcome eight new supporters, including the Free Software Foundation Europe, SAP, and WiPro.

Quotations From Supporters About Their Participation In the OSPO Alliance: 

“APELL (Association Professionnelle Européenne du Logiciel Libre), Europe’s Open Source Business Association, and its national members, are eager to support the mission of the OSPO Alliance. Europe is an open source champion, and there is still massive potential to tap everywhere from large and small software vendors to big open source users, both in the private and public sectors. We see that this partnership will be very important to strengthening not only Europe's but the world's capacity to use and contribute to open source at an even greater scale. Increased understanding of open source governance and the establishment of Open Source Programme Offices hold massive potential to enable open innovation at large in society,” said Timo Väliharju, Founder and board member of APELL.

“The CNLL, the association representing the free software sector in France, has long supported the creation of OSPOs, or "free software missions", in France, at the level of the Government but also at the level of major local authorities, as well as at the European level. The mission of these OSPOs in France should be to make concrete the notion of "encouraging the use of free software" within the administration, as provided for in Article 16 of the Digital Republic Act (or Lemaire Act) of 2016. These OSPOs should network with each other and with organizations representing the industry in order to fully realize the economic and strategic benefits of OSS in Europe,” said Stéfane Fermigier, co-president of CNLL.

“The OSB Alliance – Bundesverband für digitale Souveränität e.V. represents about 170 companies from the Open Source economy. We are committed to sustainably anchoring the central importance of open source software and open standards for a digitally sovereign society in the public consciousness.

“For the OSB Alliance establishing an OSPO is a great strategic approach for public or private organisations to professionalize their engagement with the Open Source Ecosystem. So we see the OSPO Alliance as an exciting new European initiative to support organisations in the public, private or academia sector with information and best practices on OSPOs. Such support can especially accelerate the process of setting up important OSPOs as planned e.g. at EU level or the planned Zendis in Germany,” declared Peter Ganten, Chairman of the OSBA-Board.

“The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is a charity that empowers users to control technology. Since 2001 the FSFE has been enhancing users' rights by abolishing barriers for software freedom. For 20 years FSFE has been helping individuals and organisations to understand how Free Software contributes to freedom, transparency, and self-determination.
Joining OSPO.Zone is another brick in the wall to ensure that more Free Software is developed and used - be it in the private or governmental sector. Free Software gives everybody the right to use, study, share and improve software. To make sure that these rights are understood and used an OSPO can make a difference,” said Matthias Kirschner, President Free Software Foundation Europe

About the OSPO Alliance: 
The OSPO Alliance was established by leading European open source non-profit organisations, including OW2, Eclipse Foundation, OpenForum Europe, and Foundation for Public Code, and experienced practitioners with the aim to grow awareness for open source in Europe and to globally promote structured, responsible and professional management of open source by companies and administrations. OSPO.Zone is the new website for delivering the resources and collaboration envisaged by the OSPO Alliance. Learn more at https://ospo.zone.

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