Science and technology

6 examples of open supply greatest practices in knowledge-sharing initiatives

As somebody who has watched my justifiable share of initiatives and initiatives come and go, I worth the follow-on results of fine information sharing. Even information from bygone initiatives is obtainable to study from the previous; such is the profit and the curse of an web that by no means forgets—all of the practices good, no-longer-good, and never-were-good are on the market to be discovered.

As the pinnacle of Red Hat’s Open Source Program Office (OSPO), I each respect and profit from the myriad methods totally different communities create and share information about open supply.

The very effort of making open supply software program is a large knowledge-sharing expertise, masking all of the domains of software program improvement with many strategies and practices. Although there’s hardly ever just one approach to obtain a purpose, open supply communities have, over time, honed their information into greatest practices as a pure byproduct of the open collaboration and transparency handed on inside their respective communities.

But what about greatest practices that span communities, that are helpful past the distinctive wants of a single mission and broadly relevant to any and all open supply software program efforts? I am going to take a look at six totally different knowledge-sharing communities that take six approaches to gathering, sustaining, and distributing their greatest practices.

TODO Group

The TODO Group creates and maintains a set of Open Source Guides to help any group growing an OSPO. An OSPO is a central program workplace engaged on a spread of actions for the group, outlined by the group’s mission and open supply interactions. It could also be concerned in license compliance, open supply improvement practices, upstream group administration, fostering inside group, facilitating relationships with foundations and requirements our bodies, and so forth.

The greatest practices in these guides are to assist organizations implement and run an efficient OSPO. By collaborating inside the TODO Group, the member OSPOs can elevate their very own information whereas citing the collective information of different OSPOs inside and outdoors of the TODO Group. Just as spreading good software program improvement practices can assist initiatives interoperate higher, this raises the tide for all OSPOs for mutual profit.

The guides cowl creating a brand new open supply program. Featured matters embrace program administration greatest practices equivalent to utilizing code, taking part in present communities, recruiting open supply builders, and beginning, working, and shutting down a mission.

These guides are examples of the advantages of data sharing round a distinct segment collaboration on instruments and greatest practices. They present steerage and assurance round a process-driven strategy to open supply software program improvement as influenced by an open supply program or initiatives workplace in all varieties of organizations.


As a part of increasing its teaching programs, the Open Source Initiative (OSI) has partnered with Brandeis University’s Graduate Professional Studies and launched a brand new Open Source Technology Management program. (Full disclosure: I am a present OSI Board member.) This program’s purpose is to fulfill the rising demand for experience from organizations looking for to professionalize their open supply actions, from strategic planning to operational governance, and authentically collaborate and handle open supply assets.

In a sequence of four-week on-line microcourses, members study extra a couple of vary of matters, together with how open supply communities function, how a corporation may combine with them, how communities develop software program overtly, and the way companies may embrace open supply.

The program is formed by enter from main open supply content material consultants and supplies 4 studying choices that align with every participant’s life-style and studying fashion. An individual can take part in a single microcourse or take a number of to earn a digital badge or certificates. These programs embrace content material that college students will discover instantly helpful of their work alongside materials that helps graduate research, ought to the scholar select to finish a further evaluation for graduate-level credit score.

This is an instance of a knowledge-sharing expertise that mixes a number of targets, from skilled to educational pursuits.


The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers goes again to 1884; within the intervening 137 years, IEEE has grown to be the world’s largest technical skilled society. Such societies are a pinnacle of knowledge-sharing communities, and IEEE’s remit as a standards-developing group overlaps with pc science and thus, open supply software program.

The new IEEE SA OPEN program, launched in 2020, is a collaboration platform to “bridge the gap between standards developers and other open technical communities.” One of its key instruments is a 100% open supply Git forge that’s being expanded to embed information immediately and mechanically into its processes.

The documentation contains steerage from particular advisory teams, equivalent to group, advertising and marketing, technical, educational, and variety and inclusion. These advisory teams create a collaborative physique of documentation and processes, that are then rolled out to be out there for all initiatives on the SA OPEN platform.

Not solely does this documentation present a listing of wants for an open supply mission when beginning, equivalent to a governance framework, a code of conduct, and a contribution coverage, the SA OPEN platform group plans to automate the creation and lifecycle of those paperwork for every mission. This is completed utilizing an extensible open supply platform that may be coded to embody “the IEEE way” of doing open supply improvement.

This knowledge-sharing methodology works by distilling the world of greatest practices and toolchains right into a single set of options that may align with the long-horizon efforts of a corporation like IEEE.

The Open Source Way

Built round a collaborative-writing strategy, the Open Source Way group considers itself to embody all open supply software program initiatives, specializing in greatest practices for group structure, design, and administration. In this broad space, the group’s real-world practitioners present the core practices round what to do, the right way to do it, and particularly why to do issues the open supply manner.

The Open Source Way group started in 2010 across the thought of a handbook written by practitioners, for practitioners. The core materials was born at Red Hat from a have to report in a single place the recommendation writers had been repeating to lots of and hundreds of individuals over the earlier decade. It was launched as an open supply mission, because it was self-evident that content material about training the open supply manner wanted to be written and revealed in an open supply method. For a couple of years, the handbook and wiki have been areas the place open supply group administration practitioners collaborated.

The lately introduced 2.0 guidebook is an entire overhaul from the information of 2010, reflecting the evolution of open supply software program improvement over greater than a decade. The guidebook works on the precept that “the path to creating a sustainable open source community starts by making something useful for the user base while lowering barriers to participation and contribution.” It contains chapters on communication, range and inclusion, participant motivation, the character and strategies of a contribution, onboarding, governance, group roles, and group supervisor self-care.

In addition to being a useful resource for group members of every kind trying to enhance their participation and contribution practices, the Open Source Way supplies an general group of observe that helps particular person and organizational enchancment.

As a knowledge-sharing group, the Open Source Way mission covers greatest practices inside a broad vary of how communities are created and thrive from the angle of a a lot wider group of authors and contributors than different comparable materials and books.

Teaching Open Source

The organizing precept of the Teaching Open Source (TOS) group is that for college-level educators to be only at educating the right way to take part in open supply communities, they need to profit from direct expertise and connection to these communities. Via workshops and different packages, the TOS group brings instructors and professors into direct reference to open supply software program initiatives as a part of the mission to “(bridge) the gap between traditional computing curricula and student work in open source communities.”

Once instructors are related with initiatives, they facilitate college students conducting classwork assignments as mission contributions. For instance, an upper-division programming class may need pupil assignments that embrace engaged on modules for a selected open supply mission. A lower-division writing class may need college students analysis and write a pleasant description for the discharge notes of a single function for an upcoming launch of open supply software program.

The physique of data within the Teaching Open Source group has been organized round “teachers helping teachers.” One common workshop is the Professors’ Open Source Software Experience (POSSE), a multiday hands-on workshop that teaches open supply participation methods to instructors. The TOS group creates the workshop supplies and all of the pedagogy round it out of its group of observe.

This knowledge-sharing group exemplifies how a centered open supply best-practices effort can present numerous worth in a relatively slim area of interest.

The Open Organization

Another instance of a group mixing open supply greatest practices and information sharing in a specified area is the Open Organization mission. This group works particularly on the intersection of open rules and organizational tradition and design, “leading a global conversation about the ways open principles change how people work, manage, and lead.” The Open Organization group is at all times asking: How can we adapt open rules and practices to all types of organizational contexts, so everybody can faucet the advantages of residing and dealing overtly?

In its personal manner, this group’s origin story parallels that of the Linux kernel. The Open Organization group shaped when former Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst revealed The Open Organization: Igniting Passion and Performance, which concluded with a brief invitation to proceed the dialog about “how we can all lead and work better in the future.” For a number of years since that founding second, the group has centered its efforts on writing several books and guides that stretch Jim’s unique writing, together with a area information, open management handbook, workbook, and guides for distributed teamwork, IT tradition change, and educators. The books function chapters written by authors in several industries and geographic areas, bringing a various vary of voices and experiences to this world dialog.

As an open supply knowledge-sharing group, the Open Organization mission stands out for its concentrate on purposefully written and revealed books masking the breadth and depth of what it means to observe open rules in any form of group.


These six knowledge-sharing initiatives show one of many wondrous issues about open supply software program: bringing totally different approaches to comparable however totally different issues. As these practice-oriented communities concentrate on the facility of collaboration, they generate artistic content material out of the experiences and voices of their area.

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