Thursday, October 14, 2010

Process for using Open source

Despite the advanced levels of ISO, CMMi definition and deployment in Indian IT organizations, the process for using open source is  still at beginner levels.  In view of the enormous advantages,  open source software  can no longer be ignored by commercial firms. As an example, it may be useful to know that  HP is using  open source in 80% of their products.   As free software  organizations have taken measures against violators, an appropriate process must be put in place and implemented at the earliest.  Process Framework needs to cater to streamline existing usage and  for initiating new usage. I give a simple  process outline below as an initial guidance.

Process for regulating existing usage
  •  If an organization,  has been operational beyond an year and employs developers, it  needs to start with a survey of open source usage as the first step. A survey form can be designed based on the nature of the work and relevant open source resources. A generic form is available for download. Alternately  automatic scanning software OSS Discovery can be used, the results from it can be mapped into the above form for further work.
  • Once the data are captured, analysis of the data is required to develop a plan of action.
  • If the open source is for internal use, the effectiveness can be evaluated.
  • If the open source is embedded in a product, compliance steps based on the license of open source can be implemented.
Process for new use
  • Define a broad approval process  which can encourage use of open source for experimental purposes and regulate use for product development
  • Gather details of the open source alternatives from sources like Oslat and Wikipedia  , issues and  support available.
  • Evaluate  the proposal based on robust evaluation criteria covering both short term and long term issues, benefits.
  • If  proposal is not approved, develop/license a proprietary equivalent.

    Tools to manage use of Open source software
    There are several open source and proprietary solutions to manage open source software in businesses. Links for some of them are given below.
    Free: Fossology(database needs to be built for each enterprise),   OSS Discovery (Supports automatic scanning of machines) 
    Pay: Blackduck software  (allows integration into development process to trigger violations).

    Credit:Process graphic from Wiki Commons

    1 comment:

    1. Fossbazaar was formed to develop standards in FOSS usage and promote open source compliance.