As more and more organizations adopt open source initiatives and/or seek to mature their involvement in open source, they often face many challenges, such as educating developers on good open source practices, building policies and infrastructure, ensuring high-quality and frequent releases, engaging with developer communities, and contributing back to other projects effectively. They recognize that open source is a complex ecosystem that is a community of communities. It doesn’t follow traditional corporate rules, so guidance is needed to overcome cultural change.
To help address these challenges and take advantage of the opportunities, organizations are turning to open source program offices (OSPOs). An OSPO is designed to be the center of competency for an organization’s open source operations and structure. This can include setting code use, distribution, selection, auditing, and other policies, as well as training developers, ensuring legal compliance, and promoting and building community engagement that benefits the organization strategically.
The Linux Foundation’s TODO Group’s mission is to help foster the adoption and improvement of OSPOs around the world. They are a tremendous resource, with extensive guides, a new mind map, an online course, case studies, and more. Check out their resources, community, and join their efforts.
Thanks in part to their efforts, the OSPO movement is expanding across industries and regions of all types and sizes. However, due to the wide range of responsibilities and ways to operate, OSPO professionals often find it difficult to implement OSPO best practices, policies, processes, or tools for their open source management efforts.
To help people with these challenges, the TODO Group is introducing a new framework for in-person OSPO workshops. The framework is publicly available in ospology. This repo encapsulates a set of open initiatives (including an OSPO Mind Map 2.0, virtual global & regional meetings, an OSPO discussion forum, monthly OSPO News, and now, in-person workshops) to work in collaboration that aims to study and discuss the status of OSPOs and, ultimately, make them even more effective.
TODO is piloting these in Europe first, and they are currently seeking collaborators to bring together the various communities involved in OSPO-specific topics and help organizations effectively implement OSPO Programs based on the specific needs for the region.
Backing up a bit, let’s look at the OSPOlogy.live framework.
OSPOlogy.live framework in a nutshell
Follows an “unconference style,” meaning it’s a participants-driven meeting
Adheres to the Chatham House Rule in order to share openly and learn from each other
Connects OSPOs with various open source communities involved in the open source activities that matter to them (e.g. policies, tooling, standards, and community building)
Takes place over two days and is an in-person event
Consists of prepared presentations, hands-on workshops, and space for networking
Falls under the Linux Foundation’s policies and code of conduct
Held at a location provided by one of the participants for free
Each participant pays for their own food, travel, and lodging. Meals may be free if workshop organizers find sponsors.
Participants can register their interest to receive an invite via Linux Foundation’s community platform as seats are limited.
With that overview, let’s dig in a little on how the workshop is conducted.
Typically at an unconference, the agenda of the workshop portion is created by the attendees at the beginning of the meeting. Anyone who wants to initiate a discussion on a topic can claim a time and a space. OSPOlogy workshops are not fully an unconference as the first day is a series of prepared presentations, so you know what the sessions are before joining (1 or 2 will be chosen by the participants ahead of time). For Day 2, the workshops follow the unconference model. Participants vote on topics to be worked on that day. Participants may be asked to submit their topic before the workshop to accelerate/simplify the voting process.
Suggested workshop sections
OSPO USE CASES Expert-led panels or talks to share experiences and case studies from specific OSPOs
OSPO ACCELERATORS Presentation highlighting a specific activity within the specific project, such as outcomes of recent community activities. The aim of the presentation is to give people insights on various topics the communities are working on and get their feedback / to ask for contributions.
SHARED CHALLENGES ASSESSMENT Description: Identify OSPO shared challenges / pain points on the OSPO Mind Map 2.0 and let the audience vote for the areas of interest (working groups) for the workshop breakout groups. For instance, focus areas can be specific activities within OSPO responsibilities.
BREAK OUT SESSIONS Define goals and identify pain points. Each break out group aims to capture their challenges for the selected focus and if possible document their experiences/solutions.
Interested in becoming a collaborator?
We can’t do this alone! If you are part of an open source community involved in OSPO-specific topics or an organization willing to help with the workshop planning, schedule and/or provide a space to kick off the first meet-up in Europe, we need your help! Please contact:
And check out the FAQs below.
Don’t live in Europe? Pencil us in for when this is expanded.
Not involved in an OSPO yet? Take time to check out the TODO Group and join the community to start your OSPOlogy journey.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do we mean by communities involved in OSPO-specific topics?
OSPO-specific topics range from safely using open source to license compliance, sustainability, contributing back to the community, and more. For the full list of OSPO topics please see https://ospomindmap.todogroup.org/:
Develop and Execute Open Source Strategy
Oversee Open Source Compliance
Establish and Improve Open Source Policies and Processes
Prioritize and Drive Open Source Upstream Development
Collaborate with Open Source Organizations
Track Performance Metrics
Implement InnerSource Practices
Grow and Retain Open Source Talent Inside the Organization
Give Advice on Open Source
Manage Open Source IT Infrastructure
Some examples of OS communities highly involved in these topics are:
What are the necessary roles to set up an OSPOlogy.live workshop?
There are two ways in which you can play your part in OSPOlogy.live set up: (1) the hosting party who makes available a meeting room; and, (2) the workshop organizer/facilitator in charge of workshop activities and planning. (1) and (2) may be the same entity/individual. Further details can be found in the framework documentation.
Where can I register for the next OSPOlogy.live?
Efforts are already on the way to organize the OSPOlogy workshops in different European countries each quarter. Once collaborators and days are confirmed, registration details and schedules will be published via the OSPOlogy community platform.
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