Open Source Service Management: RiverMuse’s Community Building Process

RiverMuse – a company established in 2008 by the original founders of Micromuse  and RiverSoft – at the end of July announced the availability of RiverMuse Open Source Fault Management, a fault management platform designed to be extensible via pluggable modules.

Phil Blades - VP Products & Community at RiverMuse – told me more about their open source vision.

Our “launch” was about getting the message out that we exist, the next step for us is to welcome those that visit the site, encourage them to join and engage them in a dialogue about their skills and how they can contribute.
Not just from a developer “code” point of view.  The user base for NMS also needs a voice and we hope to engage with those people too to enable us to build a strong community driven roadmap for future enhancements and usability.  It’s also the case (in this space) that an awful lot of the “art” is in configuration and business logic – again driven by the knowledge of the community.

Transparency and accessibility affect external participation, how will you move forward?

On the specifics of development, Ian Best, our product manager will be posting a series of announcements and questions to identify key areas that we think might be great next steps, and hopefully get some traction with our new members (121 sign up’s).  We also have a couple of large companies who have expressed interest in donating development resource for specific OSS sub-projects around our architecture.

In relation to transparency and accessibility – we may well have used the same document you referenced [“the role of participation architecture in growing sponsored open source communities“] when we looked at how to make sure we were going to become open that meant open source – so everything has been released as  GPL3, we have a published governance model (based on the eclipse foundation) and we are in the process of setting up a not for profit foundation to oversee the core software and the community going forwards.

Meantime compiled and source code are fully available, and contributions are possible immediately.  We have a community board to ensure any disputes are resolved in an open and fair manner and we will co-opt independent members of the community on that board as we grow.

What can you tell us about your community board? Could people get in there?

About the independant members of the community board?  Well we want to find the most active and sensible people who join the community and once we understand that they are of good intentions then we can look to invite some to join the board, this way the community themselves start to take on a governance role.  We are a small company and would prefer that the community starts to support itself as it grows.  Of course none of this is possible in the early months when we are only just starting.  We have just under 200 people who have joined the community, and we are aware of two groups doing some work to enhance what is already done.  So we hope to find some non RiverMuse people to help in this way.

RiverMuse committer approval process is clear, and the contribution agreement sounds reasonable. Let’s see how it will move on from here, in the meanwhile I wish you all at RiverMuse happy hacking!