RISCOSS offers a well suited approach to the conventional decision makers

Nov 20 2014

Interview: Cédric Thomas, OW2 CEO

How would you present the collaborative project?

RISCOSS is a project that facilitates the adoption of open source software by addressing the concerns of the mainstream market. For many users and integrators not familiar with open source, this kind of freely accessible software is counter-intuitive and, therefore, a bit suspicious. They need to be reassured. By approaching the problem of selecting open source software from the perspective of risk management, RISCOSS speaks their language. It is an approach that is well suited to the conventional decision makers.

What is your role in the project?

OW2 has two main roles in the project. First we are a future user of the platform and as such we help develop a use case. As an open source community OW2 represents an excellent testing ground for the project. We select several projects and provide a real-life testing environment for the project. We provide feedback to the technical and research partners of the project so they can adjust their developments. Second, we are the dissemination manager and as such we run the RISCOSS website, its collaborative platform and we arrange to showcase the project in industry events. We've also developed the RISCOSS white paper that can be donwloaded from the web site.

What key innovation do you bring or help to develop?

It is important to understand that OW2, as a partner in the project, does not develop a technology. What we do is using the technology that is developed by other partners, essentially the risk models and the RISCOSS application. Where OW2 innovates is in using RISCOSS. This has never been done before, we are breaking new grounds here. We are implementing the vision of the academic partners into the real life. There are technology innovations and process innovations; OW2 is providing the later. We are facing many challenges, the major one adapting the methodology, which, by definition is defined in a top-down approach to the data source that are actually available. The leap from theory to practice is a fascinating exercise. Another challenge is to involve our community. Here we have to be very practical, our community members don't want just words, they want real services. Therefore we are evaluating at what point we can involve our project leaders. It is a balancing act: too soon and they see something that is not useful, too late and we deprive ourselves from their feedbacks. In both cases they loose interest.

What benefits you derive from your participation in the project, what is interesting for your organization in this project?

The OW2 use case is a preview of what we will offer to our community. Within the next year or so, we will provide the possibility to evaluate all mature projects in the OW2 code base through a RISCOSS analysis. Our involvement in the project is an investment to develop better services for our projects and our members. We've already implemented a quality program based on several evaluation tools. They include: FOSSology for license checking, Sonar for code checking and Open Source Maturity Model (OMM), an open source readiness checking tool. With RISCOSS, we will have a single entry point into these tools and a synthetic view of the results, in a format that is meaningful for decision makers that are not familiar with open source. This way, we hope to increase the dissemination of the OW2 projects.

During your professional missions in various countries and organizations, did you notice large differences in term of risk and cost evaluations?

We often hear that Europe is lagging behind North-America in terms of open source adoption. And yet, I recently read a quote from Larry Augustin, the man who coined the term open source, saying : "Europe has a better affinity for open source ; it's more interested in it than the US." I think RISCOSS is one of the many elements that can contribute to enhance even further this interest for open source in Europe.

A word on Cédric Thomas, OW2 CEO
OW2 is an independent community of companies and research organizations working together to develop a code base of open source infrastructure software. We have 40 members and we host some 100 projects. We understand that open source is not only a way to collectivelly develop software but also a way to change the market conditions, for this reason, our mission is also to help develop a vibrant business ecosystem for our members. Founded in 2007, OW2 is, with LibreOffice, the only global independent organization originated out of Europe.