Issue III


Libre Software for Enterprises

Volume: 2009, Issue III

Date: June 2009

Guest Editors: Jesús-M. González-Barahona, Teófilo Romera-Otero and Björn Lundell

Contents: Download full issue (PDF 1.5MB)

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Libre Software and the Corporate World

Libre software is a new world in itself, for both companies and professionals. As the use of libre software products becomes more widespread in the software industry and in other sectors which are heavily dependent on software for their activities, it is becoming increasingly important to understand how to make the most of this new world. In this article we explore some of the new issues that emerge when approaching libre software, and how companies are addressing them. Download

Best Practices for FLOSS Adoption

Many companies and public organisations are considering free software (Free/Libre and Open Source Software, FLOSS) adoption or migration, since they potentially give lower costs for implementing new systems or maintaining current Information Technologies (IT) infrastructures. The migration or adoption processes are however always complex multidisciplinary efforts that touch several areas, requiring a complete understanding of the composition and execution of individual workflows and of how people interact with IT systems. This paper will propose a set of guidelines for maximizing the success of a FLOSS adoption or migration in a company, covering three groups: management guidelines (oriented to upper management), technical guidelines (oriented to a lower, technical oriented level) and community guidelines (oriented to several features of Open Source Software - OSS - which companies may want to take into consideration, such as the relationship with the OSS community, or to improve internal support through internal experimentation and training). Download

Build and Sustain a Community of Practice: Method Applied to FLOSS Projects

Technologies such as Web 2.0 have fostered the development of new collaborative ways of working in the Research and Development (R&D) domain, often evolving towards the creation of an organised community. The increasing connections at international level raise a need for remote collaboration around the world that emphasises the need to organise the creation and sustainability of such communities. This article presents one method, developed within the Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et Automatique (National Institute of Research in Computerand Control Science, INRIA), to build and sustain a community of practice. Our approach, based on the five main steps described below, has been assessed on one European project: the Aspire RFID project. Results are reviewed and we believe that transparency, trust and people's commitment are the keys that pave the way to success. Launching a community and developing it successfully is not always a spontaneous action but relies on a structured approach. By presenting such a method, we hope to foster anyone who would like to launch a community to throw himself into the adventure in a more productive manner. Download

Community Management in Open Source Projects

The increasing complexity of communities established around free and open source software (FOSS) projects as well as the increasing commercial interest in such projects has led to more and more communities adopting a dedicated community manager position. The community manager acts as the liaison between company and community and ensures that there is a good relationship between the two. They also facilitate the community, help it grow and ensure that the community stays healthy. This paper will discuss community management in FOSS projects and look at the role of the community manager position. Download

The Morfeo Project: an Open Source Approach Towards Open Innovation

Morfeo is an Open Source Software (OSS) community whose members are enterprises, public administrations, universities, research groups, technological centres and small and medium companies. They support OSS as an effective strategy for research, development and innovation processes of (software) technology development. Platform software development allows feasible open business models to be designed and win-win relationships that promote collaboration to be formed. MyMobileWeb, ezWeb, the contributions of CENATIC and OpenFwPA, and the Principado de Asturias (Spanish region) e-government framework released as OSS to the community are success cases of technological production from the Morfeo community. However, the improvement of internal/external communication, the development of new tools to support collaboration between enterprises and the search for solutions to other complex problems hindering that collaboration, such as the production of standards and business development, are challenges currently facing Morfeo. Download

Applying Open Source Software Principles in Product Lines

Product line engineering improves the management of variability and reuse in embedded systems. It helps to exploit mass customisation leading to individualised products for the customer. It has led to substantial development processes and many global planning for a complete range of products (a product line). Open source software (OSS) development does not have a strong impact in embedded systems companies, partially because the culture of open source developers does not adhere to global planning and formal processes. However, both developments (often) need distributed development, and here is the point where software product lines and their open sources can profit from the achievements of each other. This paper investigates several options of using OSS and its methodology in product line development to reduce the problems of distributed development and to increase the quality. A small part of the paper discusses the options for OSS development to benefit from variability management of software product lines and in this way increase the possibility of customising the resulting products. Download

Addressing Industry Needs in OSS

In spite of its success, Open Source Software (OSS) is still fighting old prejudices and market difficulties. To address these points, Fraunhofer FOKUS is merging Qualipso project results with its proven lab-model on interoperability for public sector oriented Information Technologies (IT) industries. This approach will transfer the proven success and business models of interoperability labs to the OSS domain in the Berlin capital region. Download

SpagoWorld, the Open Source Initiative by Engineering

This article is a case history of the experience of a large Information Technologies (IT) firm in developing and managing free open source software projects (OSS). It is intended to examine reasons, strategy, relations with the communities and results, and to provide lessons learned as a base for further developments and initiatives. In the first part, we introduce the company, its role and involvement in OSS activities. The article then presents the reasons behind the corporate strategy decision to enter in OSS and the business model of SpagoWorld, Engineering’s main OSS initiative. Finally, the double role of commercial activities and community building and management is investigated with focus on the of the model’s sustainability. Download

An Opportunity for Libre Software Companies: Emerging Market in Developing Countries

In recent years many aspects of the software business have changed. Software companies have gone from producing software applications and selling their proprietary code to providing open source applications and focusing their business on offering services related to the adaptation, installation, and maintenance of that software, together with related training. Libre software companies use a business model which provides new opportunities in markets where proprietary software is not viable. In this article we describe an interesting business opportunity which is emerging for libre software companies: the software needs of developing countries. These countries are becoming an emerging market for development software, a market which is particularly interesting because, bearing in mind their special needs and constraints, they are a perfect scenario for the libre software approach. Finally, we will also discuss the influence of a number of catalysts which are really having an effect on this target market. Download