According to the forthcoming Bitkom manifest on open source, a successful software industry not only uses open source, but strategically leads open source projects. While contributing patches to non-differentiating open source components may be a no-brainer, deciding on when to join an open source foundation or start an open source project requires more thought. We are developing tools, practices, and processes for situation assessment and decision making on strategic leadership in open source software development.
An important variant of strategic open source engagement by firms are open source user foundations. An open source user foundation is a non-profit organization of software users who strategically join hands to sponsor the development of not competitvely differentiating open source software. The goal of the user firms is to structure their software supplier ecosystem according to their rules, not their suppliers’ rules. We helped create the energy software non-profit organization openKONSEQUENZ, among others.