Our focus this week has been the Open Source Program Office (OSPO). While at Sun Microsystems, Simon led their OSPO and this week he got the team back together, including original founder Danese Cooper, to write about what they all did during the decade the Sun Open Source Program Office existed. This was a very popular article and it’s been read thousands of times this week. There’s scope to zoom in on specific topics mentioned in this article – let us know which would interest you.
We also followed up on the earlier article on the Rights-Ratchet Model, a subtle long-term business pattern for single-company open source products that follows a “boiling frogs” approach. Companies on a VC-led journey to exit provide full open source rights at the start of a project but retaining sufficient controls to gradually withdraw them over time as their business stabilises until the product is closed. While that article provided a seven-step progression for the ratchet, this week’s article proposed the draft of a scorecard for counting the clicks of the ratchet as it turns. This has led to considerable discussion on Twitter, which we’re incorporating into the article.
That rights-ratchet model and scorecard are part of a sequence of tools and observations for OSPOs that have been covered since January. We considered the role of the OSPO as a community advocate within the company and observed that the level of maturity a company exhibits in this regard is not unitary since companies are not monolithic; rather it’s best considered as a stochastic effect. We’ve also considered how it’s wise to look beyond licensing of a project using the lens of permission in advance when evaluating a project to include in your stack. We’ve also observed that a mature OSPO talks about software freedom and recognises that it is at the root of all the values they are advancing, rather than treating all the resulting effects as an end in themselves. To do the latter will result in delays handling issues that fall between the usual OSPO tools, if they are spotted at all.
We also posted a video of a talk by Simon and Rich Sands about the use of an FAQ as a solution to aligning the various parts of your business behind a community-centric strategy. We’re in the process of transcribing and hope to have an article on this soon.
Now would be a great time to subscribe so you don’t miss any of the upcoming articles!