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FAQs


What is the Open Solutions Alliance (OSA)?

Who are members of the OSA?

Where will the OSA be located?

Why was the OSA formed?

What is the OSA Charter?

What problem is OSA setting out to solve?

What is the OSA's position on open source licensing?

Must OSA members employ OSI-approved licenses?

What is the board structure of OSA?

How does one become a member?

How much does OSA membership cost?

I'm a business user with an interest in deploying open source solutions for my business. What can the OSA do for me?

Why should I become a member of the OSA?

 

What is the Open Solutions Alliance (OSA)?
The OSA is a nonprofit, vendor-neutral consortium dedicated to driving adoption of comprehensive open business solutions. Among its activities, the OSA will work with open solution ISVs, system integrators, and the broader open source community to improve interoperability among software products by publishing best practices, promoting standards, and making tools and APIs available. This is expected to ensure the availability of integrated, rapidly deployable open application suites to business users.

Who are the members of OSA?
Founding members of the OSA include Adaptive Planning, Centric CRM, EnterpriseDB, Hyperic, Jaspersoft, Openbravo, SourceForge.net®, SpikeSource and Talend.

Where will the OSA be located?
OSA will not have a physical location. Rather, its members will meet and collaborate and share on the Web, in a transparent process that welcomes developers, vendors and customers to participate.

Why was the OSA formed?
Increasingly, businesses are looking to benefit from open source above the operating system and middleware layers of the software stack, which is reflected in recent JMP Securities research predicting that the total open source software market will grow to $3 billion by 2009. Analysts are also predicting that a wider portfolio of open source applications will become available this year, prompting customers who are migrating from proprietary software stacks provided by single vendors to ask commercial open source software providers to provide the same levels of interoperability. While other consortia have focused on a specific technology or project, the OSA's collective effort to provide interoperability among open business-class software products is essential, ensuring the availability of open solutions suites to meet customer requirements and complete with proprietary alternatives.

What is the OSA charter?
The OSA is dedicated to expanding the market for business open software solutions through cooperative action and advocacy that ensures the availability of open solutions software suites for business. Subsequently, the OSA will facilitate interoperability, reduce barriers to customer adoption and increase awareness of open source solutions.


Initially, the OSA will focus on the following activities:
  1. Defining and promoting tools, frameworks and best practices that facilitate easy deployment and interoperability between member applications;
  2. Building "meta-communities" by partnering on projects that involve a variety of companies, communities and individuals to drive innovation and collaboration; and
  3. Coordinating joint marketing campaigns to raise awareness of business-hardened open applications and solution suites.

What problem is OSA setting out to solve?
The OSA believes that the market for open business solutions is still nascent. While individual vendors are seeing some measure of success, the open source software market won't realize its full potential until today's stand-alone products can be bundled into mission-critical software suites that are easy to deploy for business users. Through this activity, users will also become more aware of the open solutions alternatives available to them - alternatives that offer better quality, reliability, scalability and value.

What is the OSA's position on open source licensing?
OSA members operate under a variety of software licensing models. Each company has chosen very carefully what licensing model meets both its business needs and customer requirements. Some of these licenses have not been approved by the OSI (Open Source Initiative), the industry association that is recognized for its leadership in defining and promoting the term "Open Source." With regards to licensing, the OSA pledges to:

    Be totally transparent about where member products (and versions of those products) fall on the openness spectrum, including whether they use OSI-approved licenses.

    Build equity in the term "open solutions" to describe products with licenses and business models that embrace the notions of openness as defined above.

For more information on this important topic, please read the OSA's definition of "Open Solutions." To participate in the discussion about this evolving open solutions definition, please join the community forum set up for this topic in the OSA community site.

Must OSA members employ OSI-approved licenses?
No. To become a member of the OSA, an organization’s business model must involve the development, delivery, support, integration, management or sponsorship of one or more open solutions, as defined below, and must meaningfully contribute back to the communities associated with those solutions. This represents an intentionally broad scope of business models, representing the entire ecosystem in which open solutions are brought to market and consumed by end customers. Consequently, there are various classifications of membership for more common business models, described in our Member Criteria document, and more may be created over time, as the industry evolves.The Open Solutions Alliance defines an “Open Solution” as any Solution that exhibits the following two characteristics:

    The original source of the solutions core functionality is freely available to the end customer, such that the end customer may modify for their own purposes, or contract out to third-parties to perform such work. The word “source,” in this context, includes source code in programming languages such as Java, PHP or C, as well as vertical industry standards, business processes, or other business semantics that may have been defined using a scripting language or 4GL tool. If source for specific portions is not freely available then this should be clearly stated and identified to the end customer.

    There should exist a developer community for the solution's core functionality. This community should be open to all, and not discriminate on the basis of affiliation with any specific vendors, organizations, or fields of endeavor. This community may include programmers and architects contributing to source code, as well as business analysts and industry experts contributing to business semantics.

What is the board structure of OSA?
Because the OSA wants to give all interested organizations an opportunity to evaluate joining the Alliance, it will hold its board election in early April. There are five board seats and any member in good standing will be eligible to elect board members and vote. The OSA board of directors will be responsible for appointing OSA officers, including president, treasurer, secretary and the leads for each of OSA's working groups. In alignment with the OSA charter, OSA's working groups include marketing, interoperability and community work groups. The board will also be responsible for fiduciary management and engagements with outside counsel and contractors.

How does one become a member?
Any company, individual or organization that supports the OSA mission is invited to join. More information on becoming an OSA member can be found at membership@OpenSolutionsAlliance.org.

How much does OSA membership cost?
OSA membership varies from $5,000 for integrators to $10,000 for ISVs. Open source community members can join OSA with no fee and collaborate by registering at www.OpenSolutionsAlliance.org.

I'm a business user with an interest in deploying open source solutions for my business. What can the OSA do for me?
The OSA website, www.OpenSolutionsAlliance.org, includes a community presence intended for developers and business users alike. Users can discuss and collaborate on issues such as functionality, Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), user experience, quality of service, and much more. You don't need to become a member of OSA to participate at this level. Just register on the web.

Why should I become a member of the OSA?
Because the OSA is getting real work done today to address challenges that are larger than one project. The OSA serves three priority constituents: open source ISVs and system integrators, community contributors and business users. Members of the OSA have the opportunity to work in a collaborative environment to build common frameworks and best practices that grow the market for open software and ensure the availability of enterprise-ready open solutions that offer a choice from proprietary alternatives.







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