Open source is a broad term that encompasses many different types of projects. There is a wide range of open source approaches, and sometimes it helps to think through how your open source approach matches your goals, resources, and environment. In many places we look, we see open source used as a catch-all term to refer to every project. We don’t have a common vocabulary to discuss open source in ways that take account of important differences.
OTS prepared a field guide to open source project archetypes with Mozilla that is a first step in addressing that problem. The report catalogs a number of open source archetypes we observe around the community. OTS and Mozilla have found these archetypes to be a useful resource when crafting strategy, weighing tradeoffs, and committing support to open source endeavors. Today, we share the results of this work with the community.
We hope it is useful to you as you design open source initiatives, weigh tradeoffs in strategy, and pick metrics to track success. The archetypes we list are useful comparison points for anybody trying to maximize the benefits of their open source investment.
You can download the report here. Mozilla blogged about it. We also put the source text on GitHub and are inviting contributions to future versions. Finally, please drop us a line at archetypes AT opentechstrategies.com if you have comments.
5 Replies to “Field Guide To Open Source Project Archetypes”
In my opinion OpenStack is an iffy example for your Multi-Vendor archetype, as it shares a lot in common with the Wide Open Archetype as well. In particular, its technical governance is democratically elected (not appointed) by all active individual participants (not their employers). The community, and particularly its leadership, recognizes that unaffiliated contributors are a significant asset necessary to ongoing/future success and tries to make sure that their contributions are valued equally. It is true that a majority of the overall development activity is being directly funded by hundreds of different organizations, but among its subprojects there are many where the balance of contributions from people not paid to work on OpenStack is significant.
Jeremy, thanks for this feedback! I’ve marked this as an issue over at the Archetypes report’s repository, and we will look more closely at this example for v2.
Issue addressed. Thanks again, Jeremy. You can reach the diff from https://github.com/OpenTechStrategies/open-source-archetypes/issues/11, if you want to review it.