Wait - What Is Open Source Anyway?

Looking for the TL;DR on Open Source? Here are some of the best starting guides to open source, governance, trademarks, and legal issues out there.

Advanced Topics in FOSS

Need more help choosing? Just ask!

Each of the FOSS Foundations listed here has either volunteers or paid staff who are happy to help answer basic questions and point you to the right information at their organization. Note: open source runs on email (and sometimes chat), so don’t expect to phone someone up; you’ll get much better results with a polite email or tweet to someone - and a little patience.

Looking For More FOSS Foundations?

There are many more FOSS Foundations, non-profits, and other organizations out there than the handful on this site! We focus on only the major foundations that accept new project submissions from a variety of projects, but there are plenty of other groups out there to help.

The FLOSS Foundations website is the place to start. Started in 2005 by a group of leaders from various foundations, it features a comprehensive directory of Foundations and an active mailing list for serious discussions around foundation governance, leadership, and strategies.

Looking for metadata? Contribute to the FOSS Foundations Metadata directory!

Growing Your Project

There are a lot of different aspects to growing your project than just the code. Read our advice posts about all the different aspects of open source you might want to consider - like governance, licenses, brands, and your community.

Some of the aspects we’ll cover in our help and advice columns include:

  • People
    • Governance - clear rules for making decisions
    • Leaders - who’s in charge?
    • Users - who’s using the software?
    • Community - everyone visibly participating in the project
    • Contributors - everyone making substantiative contributions to the project
    • Maintainers - people responsible for managing / leading specific areas
    • Events - meetups, conferences, hangouts - human contact in the Community
  • Law
    • License - that you use or accept for dependencies
    • IP tracking - ensuring rights from contributors to the project
    • Funding - sponsors, donors, or none (it’s just on github!)
    • Brand - the symbols new users associate with your project
    • Trademark - the legal instantiation of part of your brand
  • Code
    • Technology - front end, back end, big data, etc.
    • Website - the project’s presence on the web - attractive, welcoming?
    • Tests - you do have a test suite, right?
    • Documentation - how humans can learn about the software
    • Dependencies - other software you rely on or integrate with

Punderthings Consulting is here to help

Shane’s Punderthings Consultancy is here to help companies and communities work better together. Email Shane to ask your questions and see how he can help.

More Resources

There is a lot of content on open source governance out there. Here are just a few of my recommended links for learning more about open source governance and related issues: