Community Foundations 101

Simon Phipps (Open Source Initiative), Josh Berkus (PostgreSQL Experts, Inc.), Deborah Bryant (Red Hat), Steve Holden (Holden Web LLC), Paula Hunter (Outercurve Foundation), Bradley Kuhn (Software Freedom Conservancy), Dave Neary (Red Hat), Deb Nicholson (Open Invention Network), Cédric Thomas (OW2), Ian Skerrett (Eclipse Foundation)
Community
Location: E147
Average rating: ****.
(4.29, 14 ratings)
Slides:   1-ODP 

Open source projects are increasingly opting to form an independent entity – a “Foundation” – to form the core of their community, rather than relying on good-will or corporate oversight. Foundations often hold shared assets such as money, trademarks and copyrights, provide infrastructure, and sometimes employ staff.

This session will involve multiple leaders of open source foundations sharing their experiences and providing introductory guidance on topics such as:

  • Should we form a Foundation or join a host organisation?
  • What do 501©3, ©4, ©6 mean and should we become one?
  • Where should we incorporate? USA, Europe? Which state?
  • Do we need an Executive Director?

AGENDA

Welcome and introduction of Faculty – Simon Phipps

Should we form a Foundation or join a host organisation?

  • What is a Foundation and what benefits does it provide?
  • Should every project be part of a Foundation?
  • Should we start our own Foundation?
  • What existing Foundations could we join?

How do we form a new Foundation?

If we form a Foundation:

  • Where should we do that?
  • What “type” should it be? 501©(3, 4, 6), eV, Stiftung etc
  • Regulatory trends

How should we staff & administer it?

  • Staff roles
  • Do we need an Executive Director?
  • Outsourced administration

Fundraising and fund-using

  • How can we raise the funds we need?
  • How can we spend money?
  • Should we pay for code?

Open Q & A

Leaders will be sharing the fruits of bitter experience rather than pretending there are singular or easy answers, and there will be time for you to bring your own questions.

We can’t give legal advice, so if you decide to proceed with forming a Foundation you will need to engage a professional advisor. We will however try to help you know who can help you take the next steps.

Photo of Simon  Phipps

Simon Phipps

Open Source Initiative

Simon Phipps has engaged at a strategic level in the world’s leading technology companies, starting in roles such as field engineer, programmer, systems analyst and more recently taking executive leadership roles around open source. He worked with OSI standards in the 80s, on collaborative conferencing software in the 90s, helped introduce both Java and XML at IBM and was instrumental in open sourcing the whole software portfolio at Sun Microsystems.

As President of the Open Source Initiative and a director of the UK’s Open Rights Group, he takes an active interest in digital rights issues and is a widely read commentator at InfoWorld, Computerworld and his own Webmink blog.

He holds a BSc in electronic engineering and is a Fellow of the British Computer Society and of the Open Forum Academy.

Photo of Josh Berkus

Josh Berkus

PostgreSQL Experts, Inc.

Josh Berkus is primarily known as one of the Core Team of the world-spanning open source database project PostgreSQL. As CEO of PostgreSQL Experts, Inc., he speaks on database and open source topics all over the world, and consults on database design, performance, and open source community building. He also makes pottery and is a darned good cook.

Photo of Deborah Bryant

Deborah Bryant

Red Hat

Deborah Bryant is Senior Director, Open Source and Standards (OSAS) in the Office of the CTO at Red Hat. The OSAS team is dedicated to ensuring that its upstream communities are wildly successful, and that Red Hat is appropriately involved in the standards bodies that influence Red Hat’s products. This is done through direct participation in projects, supporting community events, providing infrastructure and other project resources, and helping to promote projects to ensure their use and attraction of future developers.

Deborah’s twenty-something year background in tech spans three industries; private industry and start-ups, the public sector and government, and education. She’s been an advocate of open source adoption, governance, policy and economic development across those sectors for the last fifteen and has published a number of studies addressing open source communities and their impact government and the services they provide.

Deborah serves on numerous boards and councils with public trust agendas and an emphasis on open source as enabling technology; National Steering Committee for Open Source for America; Board Adviser to Open Source Digital Voting Foundation, Code for America and Intrahealth International’s Open Council. Most recently she was elected to a three year term as a Board Director by the Open Source Initiative (OSI).

During her previous role as Public Sector Communities Manager at Oregon State University’s Open Source Lab “(OSU OSL)” Deborah founded the Government Open Source Conference (GOSCON) as a collaborative platform with a focus on state and local IT leadership (2005-2011). In 2010 she received an O’Reilly Media Open Source Award in recognition of her contribution to open source communities and advocating the use of free and open source software in government.

Photo of Steve Holden

Steve Holden

Holden Web LLC

Consultant, trainer and software designer of many years standing. Director of the Python Software Foundation and author of “Python Web Programming”, Steve has given many popular Python talks and classes over the years, and continues to work to build open source communities.

Photo of Paula Hunter

Paula Hunter

Outercurve Foundation

Paula Hunter brings a compelling combination of industry insight, executive-level business savvy and experience working with not-for-profits to the position of Executive Director. Previously Hunter served as Director of Operations for SEMPO, the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization. Prior to SEMPO, Hunter was director of worldwide marketing and business development for the Open Source Development Labs, where she was instrumental in driving membership growth of industry advocacy group and lead initiatives to increase industry awareness and engage large enterprise IT organizations with OSDL programs. Previously, Hunter was general manager of UnitedLinux, a joint venture formed to create a unified Linux offering. She began her career at Digital Equipment Corporation, where she managed marketing programs for DEC’s UNIX Workstation and PC product lines. Hunter received a BS in Computer Information Systems from Bentley University.

Photo of Bradley Kuhn

Bradley Kuhn

Software Freedom Conservancy

Bradley M. Kuhn is a Director of FSF, President of the Software Freedom Conservancy, and won the O’Reilly Open Source Award at OSCON 2012. Kuhn began his work in the Free, Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) Movement as a volunteer in 1992, when he became an early adopter of the GNU /Linux operating system, and began contributing to various FLOSS projects. He worked during the 1990s as a system administrator and software developer for various companies, and taught AP Computer Science at Walnut Hills High School in Cincinnati. Kuhn’s non-profit career began in 2000, when he was hired by the Free Software Foundation. As FSF’s Executive Director from 2001-2005, Kuhn led FSF’s GPL enforcement, launched its Associate Member program, and invented the Affero GPL. From 2005-2010, Kuhn worked as the Policy Analyst and Technology Director of the Software Freedom Law Center. Kuhn holds a summa cum laude B.S. in Computer Science from Loyola University in Maryland, and an M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Cincinnati. His Master’s thesis (an excerpt from which won the Damien Conway Award for Best Technical Paper at this conference in 2000) discussed methods for dynamic interoperability of FLOSS languages. Kuhn has a regular blog and a microblog (@bkuhn on identi.ca).

Photo of Dave Neary

Dave Neary

Red Hat

Dave Neary works on Red Hat’s Open Source and Standards team, helping to make all of Red Hat’s upstream projects wildly successful.

With a long history of participation in free software projects, including the GIMP, GNOME, OpenWengo, Maemo and MeeGo, Dave has been exploring the subject of company/community interactions for over a decade.

Photo of Deb Nicholson

Deb Nicholson

Open Invention Network

Deb Nicholson works at the intersection of technology and social justice. She has over fifteen years of non-profit management experience and got involved in the free software movement about five years ago when she started working for the Free Software Foundation. She is currently the Community Outreach Director for the Open Invention Network – the defensive patent pool built to protect Linux projects. She is also the Community Manager for GNU MediaGoblin, a brand new federated media hosting program. In her spare time, she serves on the board of OpenHatch, a small non-profit dedicated to identifying and mentoring new free software contributors with a particular interest in building a more diverse free software movement.

Photo of Cédric  Thomas

Cédric Thomas

OW2

Cedric Thomas, is OW2 CEO (visit our booth in the non-profit pavillon). An IT industry veteran with twenty-five years of experience in strategic and marketing consulting for IT vendors and systems integrators, Cedric has masterminded the launch of the OW2 Consortium. Previously, as both an investor and a consultant with FronTier Associates, the consulting company he founded in 1997, he actively took part in three IPOs, contributed to the launch of several technology start-ups, helped establish a start-up incubator in Paris and set up technology firms in Boston and San Francisco. Before that, he was VP and Research Director at PAC, an independent provider of consultancy and marketing studies for the IT industry where he established successful research programs in Open Systems, IT spending and Outsourcing. Cédric studied for his PhD in Economics at the Sorbonne and holds a Master’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Paris. He teaches business strategy in several master programs.
http://www.linkedin.com/in/cedricthomas

Photo of Ian Skerrett

Ian Skerrett

Eclipse Foundation

Ian is responsible for the marketing at the Eclipse Foundation. He
tries to help Eclipse projects build their communities and promote the
general goodness in the Eclipse community.

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