The Open Source Foundation is a non-profit organization set up expressly to support various sorts of open-source software projects. It realizes value by providing services and support to the software project community and provides IT programmers with a platform for discovering, using, and communicating open source technologies.

The purpose of the open source foundation

The primary goal of establishing an open-source foundation: 

  1. It presents participants with a legal framework for software intellectual property management. In this framework, the commercial organization can collaborate with subscribers to free/open-source software projects.
  2. To provide them with some technical services, such as software warehouse, issue tracking, code signing certificate, and technical support. 
  3. To present daily operation and governance support, such as financial and cash services, membership management, project collaboration, and public relations. 

Common open source foundations

Allision Randal, director of the organization of the Open Source Initiative, said: “Many organizations believe that they can work on open source projects with other companies through a trusted independent non-profit organization. This is especially necessary for them”. The programming foundation provides many features for open source projects. It includes owning hardware, supplying, negotiating, signing contracts, and even hiring resources. 

They also double up as a firewall, protecting contributors from contractual liability or legal prosecution (such as negligence). They also provide project members with a legal framework for licensing, copyright, patent, and other intellectual property management.

Foundations like Apache Software Foundation and the Free Software Foundation have even revealed their own free software licenses (Apache license and GPL license, respectively) for regulated projects. In addition, such licenses can also be used for more general purposes. 

Most organizations also provide technical services, such as find open source libraries, find packages, and code signing certificates. In addition, they also provide more common business services, such as managing project members, administering bank accounts, and issuing statements and press releases.

However, not all software foundations are the same. Some organizations are also committed to a single open source project, some act as a base camp for multiple projects. Also, some companies are less concerned about projects and promote the entire open-source software. The following are some of the most prominent open source foundations: 

1. Apache Software Foundation

Apache Software Foundation provides organizational, legal, and financial support. In addition, it also oversees more than 350 open source projects, including Apache HTTP Server (the world’s most widely used web server software), Apache Hadoop big data analysis platform, and Apache Topcat (Java application server). Such sorts of open-source projects are all issued under the Apache license.

The incubator projects also provide a way for projects (and code bases) that demand to enter the organization. 

2. The Linux Foundation

Linux Foundation (opens new window) supports the Linux kernel. Such a thing is essential in itself since the Linux kernel is the foundation of Linux, and Linux is the basic foundation of most open-source software. However, nowadays, the Linux Foundation has expanded its reach to support other software projects, such as projects related to the IoT, smartphones, software-defined networking, embedded software, cloud computing, as well as containers. 

The Linux Foundation also oversees large-scale collaborative projects, including Xen Project, the Kinetic Open Storage Project, and the Core Infrastructure Initiative. Project participants come from massive commercial organizations, including Google, IBM, Intel, Hewlett-Packard, and Cisco. 

3. Eclipse Foundation

The Eclipse foundation started in 2004, and it aims to support an open-source software initiative to create, deploy and manage software. The most popular project is the Eclipse development environment. However, the organization also supports about 200 other projects at different stages of maturity, including business intelligence,  reporting tools, and the Internet of Things.

Eclipse Foundation committee representatives come from major technology companies, including Google, IBM, Oracle, SAP, and Ericsson.

4. Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF)

Cloud-Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) is an open-source software foundation dedicated to making cloud-native computing sustainable and universal. It uses open-source software technology stacks to extend applications as microservices, package each part into its own container, and dynamically orchestrate these containers to optimize resource utilization. The most popular project of CNCF is Kubernetes, one of the most popular container orchestration platforms in the world.

5. Cloud Foundry Foundation

Cloud computing has become highly essential in the past few years, and cloud infrastructure is soon becoming a commodity in the economist’s eyes.  Cloud foundry foundation comprises a group of leading vendors, including EMC, HP, IBM, Intel, and SAP. They work together to develop this cloud infrastructure project.

Most of these companies are competitors in many fields, and each has enormous and valuable intellectual property resources. Nonetheless, the Cloud Foundry Foundations allows them to cooperate without bothering about jeopardizing each other’s competitive position. 

6. OpenStack Foundation

Unlike the foundations mentioned above, the OpenStack Foundation is focused on a single project. It is dedicated to the development, release, and adoption of the OpenStack cloud operating system.

The OpenStack intention is to provide a series of shared resources, increase the popularity of the OpenStack public and private clouds. In addition, it also helps serve the majority of programmers, users, and the entire ecosystem, support technology vendors who are optimistic about this platform, and help developers develop cloud programs.

7. Kandi Open Weaver

Kandi (pronounced kan·dee) is a platform that helps developers pick the right library, package, code samples, APIs, and cloud functions, by analyzing over 430 million knowledge items. It is a non-profit and developers welfare program that aims to promote the development of open source public welfare undertakings. The foundation’s scope includes:

  • Packages from all package managers and repositories.
  • Source code across all significant code repositories.
  • Cloud functions and APIs across all hyperscale cloud providers.

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