Open Source Foundations: OuterCurve’s Model

Outercurve – the open source foundation previously known as CodePlex foundation (coverage) – just announced that the new project  Chemistry Add-In for Word has been added to Foundation’s Research Accelerators Gallery.

Paula Hunter, Executive Director at the Outercurve Foundation, told me more about galleries and to who are they aimed.

Galleries are a pretty new concept, can you tell us more about them?

Similar to a museum, a Gallery is a collection of works centered around a particular theme.   For example, the ASP.NET Open Source Gallery is centered around a technology theme (the ASP.NET platform).   This Gallery is a place for developers to assign projects that extend and enhance the technology.   We have had projects assigned to us from third parties that want to share their work, and increase the number of people developing and maintaining their project (s).  Galleries need sponsors to fund staff and programs that ensure the “collection” thrives and grows.

Who should consider to apply for creating a gallery, IT vendors or industry players (or both)?

Either, the sponsor of the Gallery would be interested in growing out a community of projects and developers around a particular theme.   In the case of our Research Accelerators Gallery, which is an industry theme, Microsoft Research wanted to encourage universities and other scientists to come together to solve problems that affect the research process.    IT Vendors may be interested in funding a gallery around a new technology and want the work to be done in a vendor neutral organization.   Funding a gallery is more streamlined and cost effective than creating a non-profit foundation from scratch.

Outercurve vision is interesting, and Outercurve galleries are an important piece of the puzzle (something other organizations should consider too).

Outercurve needs to work more to attract and nurture projects and initiatives beyond Microsoft technologies and platforms, but having hired people like Andy Updegrove and Stephen Walli I believe they can make it.