Breaking Sections of Producing OSS into Classes

Last modified by Ken Udas on 2019.05.08 at 14:09:12 PDT

Sections Affiliated With: The Business of Open Source

Reports indicate Open Source Software now accounts for between 78% (2015) and 98% (2017) [1,2,3] of all core digital infrastructure, yet few organizational managers understand the business of Open Source Software – how it is produced, the opportunities it provides, its vulnerabilities, and how to effectively engage with open source communities of practice. The Business of Open Source introduces students to industry practices and cultures that promote the production of business-ready, cost effective software, delivering quicker innovation, reduced time to market, freedom from lock-in, enhanced reliability, lower total cost of ownership, and a host of other benefits. The course is designed to help organizational managers and technical professionals make informed decisions about Open Source Software, the communities of practice that enable it and the organizations that rely on it, which is practically every organization.

This course prepares students to successfully deploy Open Source Software, and effectively engage in open source production. Students will learn about the origins, impetus and differences of the Free and Open Source Software movements, investigate the relationships between proprietary and open development, and understand the current status and issues around open source development, projects, and communities. Students will be challenged to assess traditional organizational practice and measure their capacity to manage reform, in light of the differences presented by open source. This may require rethinking business models, procurement methods, project management methodologies, understandings of total cost of ownership, staffing, management of non-vendor and community relationships, risk assessment, and commercialization.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Develop an implementation plan to identify and address gaps within an organization that may inhibit effective adoption of open source technology.
  • Explain the impetus, value proposition, community principles, and common practices of Open Source Software, open source development and communities of practice, and some of the implications for engaging within contemporary organizations.
  • Differentiate between open source and other forms of software licensing, production, and distribution models related to typical business operations: procurement, HR, marketing and communications, etc.
  • Assess an organization’s preparedness for successful participation in open source production and community involvement.
  • Assess the variety of open source business models as compared to traditional proprietary approaches.


Chapter 1. Introduction

Sections Affiliated With: Open Source Community Development

Any manager responsible for decisions about the adoption, production, or participation in Open Source Software will benefit greatly by understanding open source communities of practice. The relationships between Open Source Software projects, community-based production, and open source licenses are critical to those managing technology portfolios: resourcing internal software development, overseeing software and technology procurement, and managing infrastructure operations. Of all of the characteristics that distinguishes open source from proprietary production, it is perhaps the role of community that is most culturally sophisticated and nuanced. While there is clearly a management science, community is just as clearly an art.

This course enables students to understand the various roles in communities of practice supporting Open Source Software development, adoption, and maintenance. Students will assess the characteristics, viability, and appropriateness of the community; how to participate in the community; and the implications of starting new (i.e “forking”) communities. In this course students will learn about different types of communities: management philosophies, community governance, communication strategies, and how they impact the roles and responsibilities of members, the expectations and responsibilities of participants, the motivations of different community members, and how such communities may align—or not—with corporate interests.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Describe the role and value of “community” in Open Source Software production.
  • Identify the different roles that individual and organizational participants can take in an Open Source Software community.
  • Articulate different approaches to community leadership and management based on roles within an organization and with the wider Open Source Software community.
  • Assess the relative strengths and weaknesses of an Open Source Software community.
  • Identify the different roles and related management structures within organizations that may contribute to Open Source Software production. 


Chapter 4. Social and Political Infrastructure

Sections Affiliated With: Open Source Development Fundamentals

Open Source Software certainty is not, and may never have been, principally developed “in somebody’s basement.” The production of open, distributed, and community-driven software requires design and development methodologies, and workflows that support the advantages of peer to peer, highly collaborative, iterative production. Without appropriate processes and methods, collective software development can turn into a mess. Open source development processes and methods are at the core of quality and organizational managers need the knowledge and understanding of open development to make informed decisions. Physical and organizational decentralization is promoted not only by open source community development models, but also by the nature of open licensing models and the culture of sharing and contribution that is an important part of many open source projects. Managing a sustainable community responsible for generating critical organizational information and technology assets can be a complex and consequential undertaking.

In this course you will learn about managing community development in relation to the technology infrastructure frequently used to support decentralized workflow for design, development, and distribution. In addition to introducing elements of technical infrastructure including development, community, communication, distribution, and administration tools, students will be introduced to workflows that ensure quality and predictability as well as common project methodologies and approaches.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Develop an implementation plan and make recommendations for production workflow in response to Open Source Software case studies.
  • Apply iterative and incremental methodologies to given case studies.
  • Differentiate and critique the support, management, and governance of different types of distributed open source communities.
  • Describe and assess infrastructure frequently used to support workflows designed to ensure product reliability and project integrity.
  • Determine and apply applicable project management methodologies that lend themselves to decentralized development and Open Source values.


Chapter 2. Getting Started

Chapter 3. Technical Infrastructure

Chapter 4. Social and Political Infrastructure

Chapter 5. Participating as a Business, Non-Profit, or Government Agency

Producing Open Source Software Text Structure



Why Write This Book?
Who Should Read This Book?

For the first edition (2005)
For the second edition (2017)


1. Introduction ( Included in: Open Source Community Development)


The Rise of Proprietary Software and Free Software

Conscious Resistance
Accidental Resistance
"Free" Versus "Open Source"
The Situation Today



Created by Ken Udas on 2019.05.04 at 13:20:22 PDT

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