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Organisational Structures for Sustainable Free Software Development

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the the the the the the in the of an acre organizational structures for sustainable free software development title stays at all in my opinion and I think this is a very important topic the talk will be held by mole was experience with dozens of free software projects and funding sources as a founder and precipitant of grants contracts and donations the stages yours the giver brick-and a round of applause from all these the hello everyone a nice rainy 4th day of Congress yes I'm going to talk about organizational structures on what I mean by that and why am I talking about this I was invited to submit a talk about open-source funding and they cut the short they gave me instead of the 60 minutes that I offered they give me 30 minutes so now I'm cutting out all the part that is actually talking about funding and because I think before you will can goal and even speak about funding you need to understand that funding can be dangerous money can be very destructive for Open Source projects and in order to be prepared for kind of the next part of my talk that you're not going to you today I want to talk a bit more about organizational structures and another alternative title of this talk could be open-source governance so even more than in the previous the title but before I go into detail of
why am I giving this talk Who am I now why do I think I have some experience with all these topics some
caution some trigger warning as you might have experienced I'm using open source and free software a exchangeable in this talk and an order scanning cause a lot of our broad people can die and I don't want anyone stealing to let her I can go into detail about why I'm doing this and why am using these interchangeably both for the aspects of the licensing where it would classically you would use kind of open source licenses and as well as for all the open-source principles and guiding guidelines for and the development the collaboration and everything that is happening on organizational levels so bear with me and if your free software person I'm your friend so a
bit about me in 2010 I was studying Computer Science at the Technical University dressed and and as 1 of my side projects near the end of the studies I started something called torso will start net fossils that that is a network of organizations so we started with the 1st organization in Germany and nonprofits Members Association and the goal of this network of organizations is to run for infrastructure sold over the years we've grown this network from this single organization in Germany tool 22 organizations in 15 countries most of these organizations have been set up specifically for this purpose to run network infrastructure and most of them are also charitable nonprofits so by kind of accidentally learned a lot about the and the differences between the different countries on how they look at that charitable law and and stuff like that in 2 thousand
and 13 I came across a pretty new foundations and the renewal of Freedom Foundation it was set up in 2012 by your chest the band newspaper owner of the the local here in english stopped so it's a daily newspaper and he started a foundation with the goal tool protect and preserve civil they get liberties and the digital space and and ever since we've been working with dozens of organizations and dozens of projects across the whole sphere of anything that you can basically see you at the congress and and we we are a small foundation so we have to find our purpose in this space and we're focusing on mostly on organizational development taking away burden from people that set AlDS tool realize the goal of and in order to realize your gold you sometimes have to do stuff that you don't want to do and we help with that and and this led to the creation
of new entity in 2016 the center for the cultivation of technology which is a nonprofit a limited liability company in Germany and anarchy behalf and I will go back to doesn't end mention at a later in this talk so
why are we here so what are we talking about I'm I cut my my talk short I mentioned this a lot of the stuff that you're going to see are basically references to outside material this is a complex topic and I encourage you to what look at the references and pick them up and they should be no listed in the far plant for this event so you don't have to take pictures or anything of this or follow the video tool to hunt the references they're all linked on the website and my goal for this talk is that at there's a growing number of people in our space that think critically about funding and that also see that more and more funding is coming to the space and that we need to become better at at organizing and learning and collectively sharing our experiences with funders with funding entities hall to write grants and stuff like that and if at the end of this talk maybe 1 or 2 people to come up with to me and to become part of that network that would be great step that's my hope for this talk so let's start on April 7
2014 her and I think you all will recognize this logo and this was 1 of the 1st times where kind of in a marketing experiments on people and describe and weakness in so this is hot lead and heart kicked off quite a bit of activities and there was a block posts by the Open SSL developers basically whole hold they're not getting any funding to do their work properly and also it kicked off a lot of other research in in this area on about how can we actually support open source and 1 of the most
prominent figures that learning is walking around talking about these topics is not the Iike ball this is like 3 references that I feel very important tool to look at but the unstructured labor beyond our digital infrastructure was a report published in July 2016 I picked out another short talk of a rebuilding the cathedral at the strange new conference and she is maintaining a sort of a list of funding opportunities so she's comparing the different ways to to get open-source funded so if you're coming only for that part that take a look at that list the lemonade stand muzzle
also did quite a bit of research and there as you know a fairly large organizations handling a lot of volunteers and a lot of 2 contributions and we also know that there's a lot of controversy around how well they manage this and in order to improve and they have commissioned a few studies and 1 of the studies was done by Stanford in 2009 and how do we actually work with volunteers basically the topping always is how do you scale and how do you keep volunteers excited around your project and contribute there's an interesting community survey that I invite you to look at and then there's a more extensive report published in 2016 and about the motivations of contributors to open-source and I would come back to this because this is exactly the crucial part when you transition from a project that has been run on volunteer bases or that has some people involved that managed to contribute to the project and how to grow a project and keep that spirit up and tend to be inclusive as a community that kind of the
most famous and the most relevant reference here is the donor bacon and not necessarily this book and this is a good book and it's a lengthy book but he also gave a lot of different torques and he's giving seminars about this and and I highly recommend to stuff down from I put a small notes at the bottom of this book is not an instruction manual because it is an instruction manual and I don't like that style soul try to read it and write read in between the lines there is that there's a lot of take aways that you can have from this book that are that you won't get if you followed line by line I I think that many people demand an instruction manual for whole to manage communities and then you end up with that kind of writing but but I still think that this is kind of the most valuable book describing the motivations of open source
developers and he talks a lot about stacked this creating a sense of belonging in the community so that you need a shared belief in the project and that you need to have opportunity to contribute what's on it on an equal basis so this is a is the announcement
of the Core Infrastructure Initiative by the Linux Foundation that is only roughly like 2 or 3 weeks after Heartbleed so they managed to find us some commercial companies to bootstrap a program that would support open-source infrastructure and of course the 1st provide and softer that they supported to at this and are still supporting is openness itself and I will just briefly mention
a bunch of funding opportunities and a bunch of ways how source projects might be able to get some funding and to show that there's been quite a lot of movement in these areas and the P. that you can see here is the German prototype font that's the German Ministry of Education and research and that is supporting this project soul there is German federal government money that is used to fund open-source developments and i in line encourage everyone of you to check out the prototype fund website and look at the the previous rounds of projects that they've been supporting because I think it's an excellent selection I listed a bunch of others I'm not going to go more into detail about the funders that's for a 2nd talk a separate talk but you can find these resources like I picked out tools specifically the sort of tweaky the market research they had they that error and it's is really excellent into the different ways of funding and and also we maintain a huge list of funding sources and that's I think around 300 foundations listed there not all of them front and open source technology and but since we are active in a more broader space of like digital on everything on you will find a lot of material there the 1 thing that I want to specifically pick out and highlight because it hasn't been talked about before not that I know of it is a program that is currently in its phase of accepting applications and
what a wonderful name of ICT 24 2008 in 2019 it's a European commission call for participation for the next generation Internet and this is relevant and interesting because did the way
there's framing this call and will show you quite clearly that they are interested in the kind of technologies that get built by our communities and and sometimes the language is kind of funny and the terminology is something that you have to get used to but it I I like it's it's gonna human-centric openness cooperation across borders decentralization inclusiveness protection of privacy kind of that's that's the values that also we stand for and in this program the the the research and innovation actions that this is going to fund should encourage when relevant open-source software and open hardware design access to data standardization activities and so everything that kind of our communities have been doing and want to be doing so this is really a great opportunity and we will see how this will end up because and no 1 coming to the to the crucial point of this call it is a call for
intermediaries so you're not supposed to apply as a project directly for that kind of money because that's just to which the amount of money that they're giving out in total budget just for this call it's 21 comma decimal 5 million just in 2018 so has intermediaries you can apply for these findings and their desperate across 3 and for the 3 different topics 1 topic is Privacy technologies the other is peer to peer to peer technologies and the 3rd is kind of data mining Big Data stuff and these intermediaries then are responsible to splits that funding and give it away to 3rd parties and this is something that the Commission calls usually exclude but usually they require you to develop everything in holes and make it very hard to it involves external participants and so this should be interesting to follow the deadline is in April and and sometimes maybe during the next year we will see cool got this money and how they're going to redistribute this now for dealing with money
and I put this nice a little piggy bank as as a kind of contrast tool and how dangerous actually funding can be if you don't think about its tarsal when you want to deal with money and probably not telling you any news as a as a project you have to decide whether you want to start some kind of legal entity to help you with that because at certain points you don't just don't want to have it going from 1 individual so you have the the option of creating your own organization or you find an organization an existing organization to partner with in the hopes that it's kind of less bureaucratic you already have some kind of infrastructure that those hopefully already some accounting happening and all that stuff Let's look at the tall different options the 1 option
starting your own it is something that a lot of people feel that is the way to go because they they believed that they stay in control rights dude you it's your own thing you're not depending on some external weird part organization a but I I am warning of from this model because you actually creating an organism when you create an organization you credit some organisms and that organism develops its own life and then my experience with many projects is that the over time the organization swallows its people and you're contributing to something that you set out to be doing in the in this organization without necessarily taking a step back and deciding when to let go of an organizational went to restructure it it will defend itself the sole howdy do this what you see here is a very elaborate bylaws or chapter or the articles of creation of your organization and this 2 because 2 ways to do this 1 you go and hire a lawyer and they come up with some draft document for you this is kind of very often the way that people do it in the US in Europe mostly what you do is you Copy something you you compile it yourself so in Europe you don't need a lawyer to create organizations that are not expected to get a lawyer involved but so what
happens then is that you look around you compare different articles from from similar organizations and then quite often you a copy at different parts of these documents together to form your own organization and the problem in both cases is that
here what happens is that you are getting some template that has governance structure described that does not necessarily match the governance structure of your projects and it does not necessarily match the values and the spirit of a collaborative environment for open-source development and this is
even more dangerous the kind of copy passed on because you usually end up with a document that is in itself incoherent and because some of the articles at the beginning that contradict some articles coming later and when you talk to lawyers that see the days they see this all over and over again and so this is not something that just happens so sometimes but this is the usual case that this is not even clear and in itself let alone coherent and compatible with how you actually want to run the project and and this is l and this leads to what
kind of a feeling that you have to have these 2 worlds you you think that there some legal requirements for your organization that that's does not exactly fit the spirits but there is opportunity there there is opportunity there tool to express the actual governance that's you hot having your project and even like probably unwritten right you you have some idea of how you want to work together and so I caution people don't just copy and paste something don't go to a lawyer and say I want to create a nonprofit or I want to create a company because you're getting the cheap kind of capitalists model of an organization I call this the stack overflow effect right it's copy pasting stuff from cycle of lawn importing it and bootstrapping and or an organization like that the alternative that you
have this using a fiscal sponsor that's the professional term for looking for a partner organization and partnering with an existing organization and in the free software space there's a bunch of those so that you can pick from and all of these include some guidance on along the way especially if they're made for Open Source projects and if there but you have already experienced with other projects so this is a newspaper article on there and LW an article
choose a foundation is a website that compares a bunch of the most prominent ones in the US I
want to highlight the Commons Conservancy the Commons Conservancy is a bit different model it is actually a fiscal sponsor and it's it it is a way to define your own governments so independently of what kind of legal entities you're going to use that you can use the material that the Commons conservancies producing to pick and choose governance models so they have documents about forking organizations for example soul you not only for King the source code but really forking the organization and what happens to the assets that the organization has domain names trademarks and stuff like that so ultimately in any case you will have
to we'll talk about this the topic and that's why I I use this kind of very slides as a tool to talk about governments because that's something that kind of the projects usually that I work with are loose collectives are politically motivated come with anarchists spirits are kind of against any form of formal governance which is not exactly what anarchism is about but that's a separate talk altogether and let's stick to this so what we have an open-source actually is a lot of tools that have been developed that to implement the Government's models without it's becoming kind of along written statements so when you think about the issue track us when you think about mailing lists of the the way you interact and cold to with with revision control systems all of that is an implementation of inherently of over governance model in open source and we are lacking in those tools in the other areas that become relevant for governance but in 10 this is basically what I want to highlight in this talk so but how do we go from
here how do we take all these unwritten rules and this kind of the spiritual or or or ethical guidelines so that's that's we become out and this will be very different from organization to organization how do we turn them into something that other people can follow and this is important especially during the phase where you will Our start receiving money because then you have to make a decision on hold to spend that money and you can still make that collectively but over time you bring in people maybe from different spaces and their coming with a different background they're coming with a different set of ethical principles and they might be spoiled already by working in some bullshit company for a long time and then they come and they take that these these principles that they've learned in toward your in nice of a collaborative environment and there's there's a tendency in I see that in many places that as organizations grow up there's this divide between the principles for the software development side and the principles of how the organization is run a very good book that talks about this in a
non-technical in environments about organizations is this book Ms. Frederick little reinventing organizations and for me this is very inspiring as a blueprint for how you can actually copy the model you will find a lot of material here where you can see the directly how it relates to will the open-source way of doing things I I picked out the Colts impressive brilliant this book is a Weller Changer not because I believe that it is but because actually is a bit of a warning because it's written in the very enthusiastic way so sometimes you have to kind of let the offer goal ends ends and and but still continue reading a there's a lot of good thinking it you in there and 1 thing I want to pick out
is the sections where where they talk about the different governments models in terms of hierarchical structures compared to consensus structures and the 3rd and the model that is highlighted across this book is what they call the advice process and when you look at the advice forces in that book it's basically what our communities nor rough consensus so if you have an idea you have the full authority to execute that idea but you are you are forced to get input you're forced to get advice from the outside so the only way to violate the kind of rules is that you're not reaching out to all relevant people for advice and relevant people are the people that you work with other people that might have some good ideas around the topic but they cannot block you the authorities stays with you for that decision the there's another it really relevant
section especially given what's happening here with code of conduct sent and all this is the kill that the need of clearly documented and explicit this decision making processes in a way that is compatible with that kind of thinking that you are a self-organized group and yourself you want to strengthen the self-organization in that organization and that's really interesting material in there that could avoid some of the weird code of conduct stuff that has happened in our communities so I really encourage you to at least look at that section of the book another interesting things like they have out there he's looking at something from comparing some different entities that use this model in in in their own ways and 1 of them is a multinational corporation in like active in 80 countries or something with like 20 thousand employees and still they have this principle that anyone in the organization can spend as much money as they want as long as the following that advice principle that I mentioned earlier and so this is just something to inspire you when you think about like managing money in
organizations and as a bunch of projects and starting to appear that are trying to will apply source principles to this 1 is called budget and invited to look at that and the other
more no warning is open collective open collective you can sign up as an open-source project people can donate to your project and you can also establish some transparency because a lot of time you lose that transparency of like what is actually happening with that money and who has access to that money and who can spend that money I just
briefly something about funding sources I already mentioned the lemonade stand lists there's of I like the 3 sections of like small-donor private foundations public funding and there's a
lot of to be said about small Doros but my when people ask me about crowdfunding and campaigning and stuff like that I and I'm very reluctant about that because it usually doesn't work so the only thing that works in terms of raising money from small donors is that you can show the support of the community and then get some larger donor a tool top that up and and degree all while that project 3-D has has users but it doesn't really work that well tool FIL for in in most cases that but that's very specific cases of soul
and quickly are just the dealing with thunderous some some of the learning center took away from from my work in the previous
years of 1 that I'm still struggling with this how can we make this planning and writing grant applications from and if any 1 of you has some exciting ideas about gamification of grant applications some of I'm all years and the the the my advisors and and that's something that also a lot of people are making mistakes there is that plans change right you you'll you develop a plan you give it to the thunder it's maybe for one year or two year brands and they expect that this is going to change because it has changed it's like there's no way that you can follow that plan line by line but this this it's it's mostly the side of the recipient that feels kind of weird when you won't deviate from your friends do that change your plans communicate this solely on the end and not because otherwise you're creating trouble at the end of the project or you're doing stuff that you don't really want to do when a more and in terms of writing grant
applications a lot of things I kind of mistake that people are doing because they're like in the developer of thinking is they think in terms of deliverables and deliverables in terms of what kind of features can be up to the software and this is actually not form coming up with estimates for software development I encourage everyone to look
into the material about suffer estimation because it's kind of crazy I cannot talk more about this because I'm already over time but 1
thing that I still want to mention in this the last slide is that in a lot of cases I've seen that you can think about the Liberals in a completely different way you can think about the rules in a way that is actually supporting community roles rather than just feature sets and the metrics of success that you can define their because founders want some metrics of success demonstrated is the number of people that are participating 1 made this the number of people you have in your eyes he channels all that kind of stuff and redirecting some of the funding to the more our kind of community oriented hacker phones running events T-shirts and all that you know about this but usually in the moment of a grant application that all that gets dropped and then you're struggling keeping that up on so now animal over time I'm going to skip a like maybe 100 of science
parents I'm going to end with the slide and thank you the
the the the 2 of you the because of the belt each quarter if you or but that
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Titel Organisational Structures for Sustainable Free Software Development
Serientitel 34th Chaos Communication Congress
Autor Bartl, Moritz
Lizenz CC-Namensnennung 4.0 International:
Sie dürfen das Werk bzw. den Inhalt zu jedem legalen Zweck nutzen, verändern und in unveränderter oder veränderter Form vervielfältigen, verbreiten und öffentlich zugänglich machen, sofern Sie den Namen des Autors/Rechteinhabers in der von ihm festgelegten Weise nennen.
DOI 10.5446/34862
Herausgeber Chaos Computer Club e.V.
Erscheinungsjahr 2017
Sprache Englisch

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