The RISCOSS platform will provide advices to make the difference

Sep 24 2014

Interview: Ioannis Stamelos, Associate Professor, Department of Informatics, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

What do you think of the RISCOSS project?

I believe that RISCOSS is an extremely useful project because of the many subtle risks that are associated to each software project. Moreover RISCOSS is needed because of uniqueness of the OSS risks and the peculiarities of every open source project.
My understanding is that RISCOSS will try to address the issue by providing a platform that will help OSS adopters to manage the many risks they will be faced with. RISCOSS will provide both information for an OSS project that is not readily available and tools that will address OSS risks.
RISCOSS brings solution to a problem that is becoming more and more frequent in IT new environments: make the right decision, whether it has to do with adopting OSS or staying with commercial closed source software or with adopting the right OSS application or some other puzzling situation.
RISCOSS should be able to answer for example the question: I want to adopt an OSS office suite that looks very much like past MS-Office versions, but should I go for OpenOffice or LibreOffice?

What do you expect from RISCOSS?

I would expect more or less all of the above.

  • New methodologies for OSS adoption are needed as it is evident that those available up to now have not provided a complete solution to the problem.
  • OSS related services (informative, assessment, risk management, cost estimation, etc.) are absolutely necessary, both for OSS adopters and OSS solution providers.
  • Market analysis, market segments that are mature for OSS adoption, market strategies, OSS business models are all extremely useful pieces of information, if one wants to seriously embark in OSS business and widespread adoption.
  • Because there are no absolute facts, it is evident that OSS adoption project cases, both successful and failed, are needed to guide an OSS user organization to make the right decision, apply successful approaches and avoid pitfalls.
  • And yes: other results. Anecdotal evidence, personal opinions, private communication, forum discussions have proved to be so useful in OSS. Actually you never know what piece of information or advice will make the difference.

    What do you want to bring to the RISCOSS project?

    RISCOSS is a research project I would love to be part of. I've worked and published on several areas that are related to OSS assessment: OSS project simulation, OSS project survival analysis, OSS software quality modeling and analysis, OSS assessment by using real option techniques, decision making for OSS, community and knowledge sharing analysis in OSS, educating and learning through participation in OSS projects, reuse of OSS code/components etc.
    I could help the consortium in whatever areas they are most interested and provide guidance for research directions.
    I am member of the board of directors of the Greek Society for FOSS and I am running a (still very fresh) OSS competence center for public administrations/e-governance and health informatics, so maybe I could provide RISCOSS with interesting use cases from the Greek domain. I am also involved in several events that are directly or indirectly related to OSS (international conferences, events, etc.), so I could help with networking, although I can see that the publication record of RISCOSS is already quite impressive.
    There are probably other ways to help that RISCOSS partners themselves could propose.

    RISCOSS is a research project for the moment, what future do you see for it?

    I see a great future for RISCOSS if it delivers successfully a working service for OSS assessment. That would help OSS consulting firms or individuals to provide their services to the many organizations that are currently considering to migrate to OSS in Europe and worldwide. Both private and public sector are considering seriously OSS nowadays (much more seriously than a couple of years ago because of the financial crisis), with the latter being more active and interesting. I think that SaaS would work better, both for the characteristics and benefits that SaaS brings to each user in general and because of the need to constantly update the RISCOSS platform knowledge base, given the dynamics of the OSS world.

    A word on Ioannis Stamelos, Associate Professor, Department of Informatics, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
    Dr. Ioannis Stamelos, member of the RISCOSS Advisory Board, is Associate Professor at the Department of Informatics of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki where he carries out research and teaching in the area of software engineering and information systems. He holds a diploma of Electrical Engineering (1983) and a PhD in Computer Science by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (1988). His current research interests focus on open source software engineering, information systems engineering, software project management and software education. He has published approx. 150 articles in international journals and conferences. He is/was the scientific coordinator or principal investigator for his University in over 20 research and development projects in Information & Communication Technologies with funding from national and international organizations.