Incubator Project & Working Group Proposals

Last modified by Stefano Maffulli on 2023/05/16 18:19

Characteristics of OSI Working Groups & Working Group Process

In addition to below, detailed information on Incubator Project & Working Group Characteristics and Process is available.

Incubator Projects

OSI Incubator Projects provide opportunities—and resources—to Individual Members of the OSI to self-organize around affinity interests. Each OSI Incubator Project is dedicated to addressing a specific need of, and for, the open source community in line with the OSI's mission of education and advocacy while building bridges among different constituencies. Incubator projects focus on the creation of resources for open source communities, development practices, licensing or any other non-code aspect of the open source ecosystem. 

Working Groups

OSI's working groups enable members of the OSI community (Individual and Affiliate Members as well as Corporate Sponsors) to help identify, understand, and form policy around issues relevant to the OSI's mission, and help inform practices so that the organization can better serve the open source community. Working groups focus on the internal operations of the OSI.

Working Group Initial Proposal Template

This template can be used to create/submit your own proposal for a working group or incubator project.

Proposed/Current Working Groups

A Government Open Source Manual

  • Sponsor: Bill Shelton
  • Working Group Home Page
  • Current Working Site:
  • Description: Federal, State, and Local governments need cohesive and applicable instructions describing how to produce and use open source software.  Today, governments are left to figure that out with little, if any, official or practical guidance. Some governments and agencies have demonstrated success while others still struggle with the numerous complexities and salient constraints within government.  The primary goal of this working group is to create an authoritative reference manual that governments can use to implement open source as part of the culture. It will address and recommend processes and activities, highlight challenges with procurement, provide templates, references, studies, and guidance on privacy, paperwork reduction act (PRA), and cyber security.

Archived Discussions on Not Approved Licenses

  • Sponsor(s): Richard Fontana, Luis VIlla
  • Working Group Home Page
  • Description: This working group is dedicated to discussions from mail archives on license-discuss or license-review regarding not approved licenses.

Awareness Expansion

  • Sponsor: Deb Bryant & Tony Wasserman
  • Working Group Home Page
  • Description: OSI’s presence and ability to communicate its mission, goals, activities and in the marketplace of ideas is need of improvement, as it is with many evolving non-profits. We propose creation of a working group focused on expanding global awareness of OSI and strengthening its ability to fulfill its mission.
    The work group would be comprised of experienced communications professionals and enthusiasts, marketing/research and brand experts, and community development and management leaders. Their task will be to review OSI’s communications strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges, and to recommend steps that can follow to increase global awareness of OSI, while keeping within OSI's community culture, volunteer goodwill and financial resources.

Beyond Licensing

  • Co-Chairs: Deb Nicholson
  • Sponsor: Allison Randal
  • Working Group Proposal 
  • Working Group Home Page
  • Description: This working group primarly supports two aspects of OSI's mission: "championing software freedom in society" and "preventing abuse of the ideals and ethos inherent to the open source movement". The group will explore/define aspects of open source beyond copyright licenses, with a goal of making a clear simple statement of principles, in much the same way that the OSD is a clear simple statement of the principles of open source copyright licenses.

FLOSS Desktop Refurbishment and Distribution

  • Co-Chairs: Kris Navratil
  • Sponsor: Patrick Masson
  • Working Group Home Page
  • Description: Student workshops run through schools providing access to a variety of project-based learning activities in FLOSS, including:
    • Hardware refurbishment: Students will rebuild and bring to operational condition decommissioned computers from local school districts.
    • Software Administration: Students will install and configure FLOSS software: operating systems and various desktop applications (LibreOffice, GIMP, etc.).
    • Mentorship: Students will develop a curriculum and teach "desktop literacy" to their peers and other members of the community using the refurbished FLOSS computers. After completion of the course, the participants will be able to take the computer home.
    • Peer Support Center: Students will create, manage and operate a "help desk" providing those who complete the course and using the refurbished computers a resource for ongoing support.

FLOSS Entities Working Group

  • Sponsor: Allison Randal
  • Working Group Proposal
  • Working Group Home Page
  • Description: This working group is aligned with the OSI's misson to promote and protect Open Source, especially focusing on the "protect" aspects. Applying for 501(c)(3) or (c)(6) status has become the norm for new FLOSS projects. If that route were no longer feasible, it could result in serious harm to the future growth of Open Source. It is critical both to research the recent responses from the IRS and determine if we are in the midst of a trend-shift, and to explore alternatives to IRS 501(c) status for young projects.

Founding an Open Source Software Engineering Laboratory (FOSSEL)

  • Sponsor:  Kevin W. Shockey ([email protected])
  • Working Group Home Page
  • Description: At the foundation of open source is the software development methodology which has changed the way software is conceived of, created, and maintained.  While this methodology has been quickly adopted and practiced in many of the leading economies of the world, it remains on the fringes in many of the smaller economies.  

As an example, within Puerto Rico, proprietary software and cultural bias has limited the impact and adoption of open source software.  Most of the software development methodology being taught on the island is limited to proprietary technologies.  Exposure to and education in open source development tools and methodologies are extremely limited.

This working group will focus on creating the policies, procedures, and processes that can help any country in establishing an Open Source Software Engineering Laboratory.  The end result of this group will be a strategic road map that eases the burden of anyone wishing to establish a localized resource that can increase the adoption and usage of open source software. 

The key to sustainability of the laboratory will be largely dependent on whether the local community adopts the open source software development methodology.  Our largest contribution to that goal will be to produce software engineers who can increase the use of open source in the local talent pool.  Generous funding and donations would help a lot too.  The deeper we can make the open source talent pool, the closer we will be, to the adoption of the new practice in Puerto Rico.

Free/Libre/Open Works (FLOW) Management Education Questionnaire and Analysis to Identify Priorities for Advancing: "A Management Education Syllabus on the Methods, Processes, Resourcing and Governance of Free/Libre/Open Works"

  • Sponsor: Joseph Potvin, Operations Manager | Gestionnaire des opérations
    The Opman Company | La compagnie Opman
    [email protected]
  • Working Group Home Page: Free/Libre/Open Works (FLOW) Management Education Questionnaire and Analysis project.
  • Description:
    • This qualitative data will be analyzed in a short academic research paper due on 16 December 2014 for grading as part of J.Potvin's doctoral program at University of Québec. The hypothesis to be tested is: “Manager competencies in methods and processes for free/libre/open source software projects, portfolios or foundations are sufficiently distinct from those appropriate to work under restrictive software business models, as to require the adaptation and/or extension of current mainstream project management training resources, programs and certifications.”
    • Responses should be useful to the team preparing an “OSI Management Education Working Group Charter”, under the Outreach and Learning Committee of the Open Source Initiative (OSI). The draft Charter will be considered for approval the OSI Board on 4 December 2013.
    • Responses should be useful to advance Version 1.0 of the Free/Libre/Open Works Management Syllabus to Version 2.0, as a shared asset going forward under management of the OSI Management Education Working Group. This work is being planned for January through March 2014;
    • Results may be used in consideration and planning of a broader questionnaire by the OSI Management Education Working Group in early in 2014.

Global Digital Payment Systems

  • Sponsor: Joseph Potvin
  • Working Group Home Page
  • Description: The WG Chair would serve as OSI's eyes and ears to provide structured liaison with the forthcoming W3C Web Payments Steering Group [1].; coordinate a consultative community to advance specific OSI interests and profile in this domain (explained below); coordinate and be contributing editor for the drafting of occasional formal OSI submissions to W3C, UNCITRAL, and other top-level bodies; and, travel to two events per year (one within N.America), on a minimalist budget. (I would add OSI FLOW Syllabus side activities to such trips.)

Improving License Pages

  • Sponsor: Richard Fontana, Paul Tagliamonte, Luis Villa
  • Working Group Home Page
  • Description: We are trying to collect information about our licenses so that we can improve the license page information and make them more useful for visitors.

Journal of Open Source Software

  • Sponsor: Kevin Mattheus Moerman
  • Incubator Project Proposal
  • Description: The Journal of Open Source Software (JOSS) is an open source developer-friendly journal for research software packages. JOSS has a (GitHub based) formal peer review process that is designed to improve the quality of the software submitted. Upon acceptance into JOSS, a CrossRef DOI is minted and we list your paper on the JOSS website. The JOSS "paper" is deliberately extremely short and only allowed to include: 1) A short abstract describing the high-level functionality of the software (and perhaps a figure), 2) A list of the authors of the software (together with their affiliations), 2) A list of key references including a link to the software archive. Papers are not allowed to include other things such as descriptions of API functionality, as this should be included in the software documentation. JOSS follows the OSI definition of open source and all submissions are required to carry an OSI approved license. Copyright of JOSS papers is retained by submitting authors and accepted papers are subject to a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Any code snippets included in JOSS papers are subject to the MIT license regardless of the license of the submitted software package under review. JOSS is a non-profit journal and does not charge authors a publication fee. The primary purpose of a JOSS paper is to enable citation credit to be given to authors of research software. By associating a paper and CrossRef DOI to the software academics are able to cite the software like any other academic research outcome. As such researchers are rewarded for sharing their open source software through sharing and publishing of their work with JOSS.

    The goals of JOSS align well with the OSI mission statement since JOSS: 1) aims to stimulate the sharing of open source scientific research software, 2) enables peer reviewed publication of high quality open source software, 3) enables citation of such software like any other academic research outcome.

License De-Listing Process

  • Sponsor: Richard Fontana, Simon Phipps
  • Working Group Home Page
  • Description: The proposed goal of the OSI License De-listing Process is to ensure OSI-approved license list contains only licenses which conform to the OSD, by allowing an avenue for serious concerns on OSD compliance for approved licenses to be addressed. While the License Review Process is expected to provide a very good ensurance, the process itself has been built in time, using the experience of the first years to improve, and benefits today from the help of many professionals in various fields, as well as from community norms and expectations it has assisted in the first place. The de-listing process offers a way for the eventual rare, and presumably old, case where serious concerns on OSD compliance have been raised after approval.

List of Licensing Tools

  • Sponsor: Luis VIlla
  • Working Group Home Page
  • Description: This project lists open source tools that can be used for creating, manipulating, and evaluating licensing information. The list has been created by OSI community members, but OSI does not endorse any particular tool on the list. If you know of open source tools that would fit on this list, please feel free to add them!

Management Education About Free/Libre/Open Methods, Processes and Governance

  • Sponsor: Joseph Potvin, Operations Manager | Gestionnaire des opérations
    The Opman Company | La compagnie Opman
    [email protected]
  • OSI Working Group page: Management Education on Free/Libre/Open Works
  • Description:
    • Mainstream management education has not kept pace with the evolution of successful free/libre/open source peer-to-peer scenarios. Other than through individual project leaders who happen to be based at educational institutions, the management education field as a whole is only superficially engaging this approach. For the most part it's missing the substantial academic and formal business literature on free/libre/open ethics, methods, processes, governance, HR management, corporate strategy, law and financing, all of which have come to prominence in the operational life of business, government and science.
    • To give a prominent tangible example of the disconnect, in the past decade many commercial and government organizations worldwide have adjusted their competitive hiring and procurement processes to include a mandatory requirement for PMP Certification (Project Management Professional) or PRINCE2 Certification (Projects in Controlled Environments, v.2). But these frameworks assume projects that are under exclusive organizational terms, and hierarchical management. They have recently included “agile methods”, but they continue to lack significant accommodation of other key aspects of the free/libre/open way.

Open Education Working Group Proposal

  • Sponsors: Molly de Blanc (chair) & Leslie Hawthorn
  • Working Group Home Page
  • Description: The purpose of the Open Education OSI Working Group is to provide any interested parties with information and resources around open source in education, with a focus on incorporating open source technologies into curriculum.

Openness Index

  • Sponsors: Patrick Masson, Ken Udas
  • Working Group Home Page
  • Description: The term "open" has become popularly used to describe a variety of objects; software and technology, educational resources, education, etc. Ambiguity exists in the meaning of open. For example, open education, where anyone can enroll with only the requirement of a fee and no education, versus being available to anyone without cost. In addition to the ambiguity of open and what it enables, also lies ambiguity with the openness of  organizations. The "Openness Index" attempts to define open attributes while assessing the type of openness within the community of practice who's responsible for the design, development, and distribution of the open artifact. Importantly, the "Openness Index" is not designed to assess the openness of any artifact, e.g. an object, software, OER, etc. claimed to be open—there are plenty of licenses that can be used to assess the openness of an object—but rather an the organization or community that creates and manages these artifacts.

Open Source and Standards Working Group

  • Sponsors: Patrick Masson & Simon Phipps
  • Working Group Home Page
  • Description: The The Supporting Standards Setting Organizations (SSSO) Working Group will: 1. explore current SSO understanding of OSI approved licenses, and more generally, open source software, development, and projects; 2. educate SSO in current principles and practices widely excepted by open source communities of practice; 3. support authentic engagement across open source communities (i.e. implementors, contributors, projects, foundations) to ensure alignment with best practices in open source licensing, development and distribution; 4. produce reference resources (educational materials, professional development activities, expert opinions, consulting services, etc.) to address gaps in understanding, support current practices, and increase the recognition of OSI approved licensing and the OSI License Review Process, and; 5. Encourage SSOs to request and maintain formal peer relationships with OSI. The Working Group will act as the formal Correspondent.

Open Source Bug Bounty (FS-ISAC)

  • Sponsor: Wayne Jackson, CEO
    Sonatype, Inc.
    [email protected] 
  • Working Group Home Page: Open Source Bug Bounty (FS-ISAC)
  • Description: Address security issues within FS-ISAC by establishing a 'bug bounty' type of program for open source software.

OSI Website Page Improvements

  • Sponsor: Luis VIlla
  • Working Group Home Page
  • Description: A variety of website improvements have been proposed/requested by Luis VIlla on the license-discuss list. Working drafts for the page revisions are linked here so that they can be discussed/reviewed/improved,

OSD Process Working Group

  • Status: not yet proposed
  • Sponsor: Deb Bryant
  • Working Group Home Page
  • Description: research, clarify, and document the process by which the Open Source Definition (OSD) can be updated. Better understand and document what other information besides the OSD the OSI relies on to certify a license.

Practices in Open Source Software Crowd-funding

  • Sponsor: Patrick Masson
  • Working Group Home Page
  • Description: This working group is aligned with the OSI's mission to educate about and protect Open Source Software, expressly focusing on the "protect" aspects. Open source software, as both a development and business model, as well as crowd-funding for raising start-up capitol, have become popular. Despite increased interest in these approaches, many software project owners who use crowd-funding sites, as well as their potential contributors, lack the fundamental understanding of open source software communities and licensing to undertake informed decision-making in creating or contributing to projects labeled as "open" "open source" or "open source software." This effort will seek to partner with crowd-funding services to create and make available educational materials to help both developers and contributors authentically engage in the open source software development community.

Producing Open Source Software Course Pack

  • Sponsor: Karl Fogel, Patrick Masson, Ken Udas
  • Working Group Home Page
  • Description: An undergrad/graduate course introducing the principles & practices of open source software development & communities of practice: history, intellectual property rights, economics & business models, development models, and community standards. The course content is packaged as a "cource pack", or a compilation of course materials put into one easy-to-access place for students. Course Packs can act as a supplement to a textbook or as a replacement.

Public Policy

  • Sponsor OSI Board Director Deb Bryant
  • Working Group Home Page
  • Description OSI is often approached for assistance with questions and  expressed interests and need from the public sector about policy for free and open source software.  This includes a range of expressions of policy.  Examples of requests for help historically have included:
    • Model policies for government agencies, operations, contracts and procurement policies 
    • Public policies for broad adoption of free and open source software
    • Executive orders and other high-level policy guidance
    • National referendums
    • Economic Development initiatives
  • A working group is proposed to be established to extend the Open Source Initiative's resources to create an international collaborative effort to create a network of policy practitioners for the purpose of sharing best practices, documentation, and general knowledge and support for individuals and organizations with an interest in or responsibility for creating and implementing effective policies. In phase one of the project, we will identify a network of the willing and informed and create a sustainable inventory of existing policies (implemented). Phase two will be defined by the group based on what is learned along the way as opportunity and challenge. Prototyping

  • OSI Sponsor: Allison Randal
  • Project Sponsor: Aaron Wolf
  • Working Group Home Page: Sponsorship Proposal
  • Description: is prototyping a new form of cooperative community sponsorship / long-term patronage for Open Source projects. While we hope long-term to operate as a full foundation handling donations between large numbers of donors and projects, this proposal is to support the prototyping stage. At this stage, we are focused on creating, presenting, and studying the concept of a network-driven many-to-many matching pledge as a mechanism to improve overall support for Open Source.

The Value of Support in Open Source

TLDRLegal Linkbacks

  • Sponsor: Kevin Wang ([email protected])
  • Working Group Home Page: TLDRLegal Linkbacks
  • Description: The goal of this project is to direct visitors that are looking for helpful, simple community interpretations towards TLDRLegal by establishing linkbacks between summaries and their respective license pages.  In terms of execution, it's important to have simple, accessible navigation while maintaining the following conditions:
    • Explicit disclaimers of endorsement of content, review and sourcing of summary data
    • Explicit disclaimers of legal advice
    • Clear separation between TLDR & the OSI designating it as a neutral 3rd party

      Note: The Initial Draft proposal is available for historical purposes.

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