What is the best home for an open source project? The answer is changing. Heather Meeker, a lawyer in private practice specializing in open source software licensing and advisor to the Rocky Enterprise Software Foundation (RESF), recently penned an article in Open Source Watch on this very subject. 

In the article, Heather argues that the open source community has evolved significantly over the years, and as it has become more mainstream, there has been a need for more structure and governance. Open source foundations, such as Apache and Linux, have become popular choices for many projects, providing structure and support to ensure their success. However, these foundations can sometimes become inflexible and beholden to large corporate interests, leading to the creation of the RESF.

RESF is a B-corp, which combines the benefits of a traditional corporation with a focus on balanced stakeholder capitalism, equity, and social responsibility. The organization is structured to ensure that no single entity or individual has undue influence, and board and leadership seats are earned rather than bought, which sets it apart from many other open source foundations. RESF's flagship project is Rocky Linux, which was created to fill the gap left by Red Hat's changes to CentOS. The foundation provides a community home for other open source projects that require stability and structure for enterprise software.

Here’s a summary of the top points Heather made regarding B-corps and open source projects:

  • RESF's creation is a welcome milestone in open source governance, providing a new alternative for open source projects to find a home while preserving their autonomy within a responsible structure.
  • Non-profit open source foundations have become popular choices for projects as they provide structure and support for success. However, these foundations can become inflexible and beholden to large corporate interests.
  • RESF is a B-corp, combining the governance benefits of a traditional corporation with a focus on balanced stakeholder capitalism, equity, and social responsibility.
  • The organization is structured to ensure no single entity or individual has undue influence, and board and leadership seats are earned rather than bought, setting it apart from many other open source foundations.
  • RESF's flagship project is Rocky Linux, created to fill the gap left by Red Hat's changes to CentOS.
  • The foundation provides a community home for other open source projects that require stability and structure for enterprise software.
  • RESF's creation is a welcome milestone in open source governance, providing a new alternative for open source projects to find a home while preserving their autonomy within a responsible structure.

If you’re running an open source project, or your business relies on a key project being run correctly, a B-corp might be a good home. Be sure to read Heather’s entire article to understand why!

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