by Michelle Hunt, Director, Alliance Management Operations – ISTO

While there is a notable increase in the development of open source (OS) technical solutions, there sometimes can also be misunderstanding and/or confusion relating to what OS is and how and why today’s technical consortia and collectives are implementing OS development models.

The IEEE SA’s Open Source Committee defines open source as a digital work for which human-readable source code is available—in the preferred form for the use, study, reuse, modification, enhancement, and redistribution by users. Open Source applies to hardware and software which includes the spectrum of digital designs, documentation and objects.

When a collective has the mission to develop and/or provide an ecosystem with a technical solution, they should determine if open sourcing their project will serve their development needs.

Open Source projects are proven to:

  • Drive market adoption with trusted and transparent solutions
  • Foster partnerships through the collaborative process
  • Build and expand sustainable ecosystems with lead developers/partners/consortia retaining strong influence over the technology

Industry alliances and membership-driven collectives often accelerate OS development. Member contributors supporting the same goal, collaboratively and transparently, earning ecosystem trust always promotes successful market adoption.

In addition, member-based organizations provide the perfect platform for the effective cross pollination of ideas, tools and industry players that are the primary ingredients supporting successful OS project development.

And, like engagement in today’s leading consortia and trade groups, OS projects offer contributors access to, and influence over, important technical solutions that will have meaningful impacts on markets sectors and future innovation.

Some OS projects are forming industry consortia and technical associations as a low-cost, easy, and quick way to create industry standards for their OS solutions—standardization that will also accelerate marketing adoption.  A recent example from ISTO demonstrates a scenario where an OS standardization model played out successfully in the creation of an open standard for the automobile industry.

Uptane Alliance was an ISTO Program funded by the Department of Homeland Security in June 2018 with the goal of creating a consensus-based industry standard on their OS software Uptane product within 12 months. After a quick formation and engagement from several different layers of the ecosystem involved, Uptane Alliance had successfully drafted, approved and ratified the Uptane industry standard.

ISTO offered Uptane a cost-effective and collaborative platform that allowed an OS standard to be developed more rapidly to meet the stated needs of the automobile industry. For stakeholders developing open source solutions, explore how forming a strong and committed industry alliance can help you achieve your goals.

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