Recently I had the privilege to appear in the Member Profile section of the Open Source Initiative newsletter because I am the first person to be three-time OSI member in one go. As I serve OW2 community as a director, I’m the reference contact for OSI as OW2 Associate member. As the director of Engineering Group’s Open Source Competence Center, I’m the reference contact for OSI as a corporate sponsor. I’ve also joined OSI as an individual member at last OSCON in Portland.
[The following is the text of an interview published in OSI Newsletter, August 2014. You can read the text of the interview in Italian here. Moreover, have a look at the Engineering Group’s press release.]
You’ve proven yourself to be quite committed to open source and the Open Source Initiative (OSI), currently active within all three of the OSI’s support programs: originally as the Affiliate Member Representative for OW2; as an Individual Member, and now as our Corporate Liaison for The Engineering Group. What has inspired such a great commitment?
I have been following OSI’s recent governance revision process with great interest, through which the initiative opened its doors to organizations and individuals too. At that time I strongly encouraged OW2 – my reference open source community – to participate and offer its support. Also for Engineering Group -the company I’m working for- it’s now the right time to contribute and highlight its steady commitment to open source software and its growth. However, a personal involvement makes this approach even more valuable. Open source means getting something for free, but also giving something more in return. Giving to share: this is crucial. If you do what you love and believe in, everything will come naturally.This applies every time you embrace the spirit of the community and you try to give something.
Looking ahead, and considering the variety of roles you have across organizations, what are some of the open source projects/communities you, OW2 and the Engineering Group are particularly interested in?
As an Engineering Group director, I’ve founded SpagoWorld – Engineering Group’s open source initiative, helped found OW2, joined the Eclipse Foundation, and helped my collaborators contribute to various projects. In short, I allow my company to be present wherever open source software is made. Moreover, SpagoWorld has created four projects in the context of OW2 and two in Eclipse, and has stimulated various initiatives, whose focus ranges from software architectures and services, to location intelligence and big data. The last one is the OW2 big data initiative.
One among many, today SpagoBI is a project that continues to help the evolution of the only suite for Business Intelligence and Big Data that is completely open source, with a high international reputation. I can proudly say that a piece of Engineering Group – SpagoBI Labs – today is on a par with the most popular American open source vendors.
What do you find most appealing about open source software and/or the open source community?
Ten years ago, I founded SpagoWorld because open source is not just about using it, but also developing code. Only by “doing things” do you really learn. If you want to learn about open source, you have to “get your hands dirty”, develop, deploy, enter the international community, understand how to integrate, share and resolve conflicts, and also solve the complexity of licenses and related legal issues. Nowadays, acting in the social and technological innovation field, I do believe that the open production leads to knowledge gain wherediversity is an opportunity. Sharing ideas and artefacts, collaborating, adopting an open and multidisciplinary approach, help to find and give value to people!This applies every time you decide to look beyond achieving immediate results, every time you embrace the spirit of the community and you try to give more than you can get. Active participation, collaboration and sharing are key factors. Quoting a well known sentence: “all of us are smarter than any one of us; good people working together can create big things”.
What do you hope the OSI can do to promote open source awareness and adoption?
I think that over time OSI has done a lot moving from an “open source licences labelling” organization to an “open source advocating” organization. It’s very important because also in the era of corporate-led projects, communities still play an important role in open source. OSI has still a lot to do as far as community-building is concerned, in particular building bridges between open source communitiesand open organizations, despite their diverse roles and missions. Only a cohesive movement can effectively contribute to assert the importance of open source software and foster its adoption and, at the same time, the awareness about challenges, but also benefits that it can bring to the growth of the future knowledge society. I hope that OSI will enforce its role as the global “umbrella” for open source communities, as well as for individuals willing to take a stand for freedom of software.