Video: No more open source foundations, please!

Not every new open source project needs a new foundation. In fact, the rise of all these new foundations could be hurting the open source cause

Video: No more open source foundations, please!
Credit: flickr/khawkins04

Nobody can accuse Simon Phipps of halfheartedly supporting open source. But even he thinks we've gone way off the deep end with the number of open source foundations. In the video below, Phipps (an InfoWorld contributor) uses his address at OSCON 2015 in Amsterdam to implore the crowd, "Please, stop your employers from starting new open source trade foundations!"

Phipps notes that new open source foundations are sprouting up faster than can be counted, and while the intentions of many of these foundations may be good, their efforts are misguided. Setting up a good foundation is a tough, tricky process, and keeping that foundation true to its stated goals is even more difficult.

The key question, he says, is whether the foundation exists to serve the public or to serve its members. It's the difference between liberty and commerce, essentially, and rules set up to protect the former can easily be gamed to benefit the latter, especially as the foundation comes under new leadership. "Look at Java to see the truth of that," quips Phipps.

As such, instead of going your own way, it's better to join a foundation that has experience grappling with these issues. "If you are going to start a new activity," Phipps concludes, "I beg you to join an existing, proven organization if you can."

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