The open source middleware consortium, ObjectWeb, is to turn itself into a non-profit legal entity, governed by a board of directors and run by a management organization.
Until now ObjectWeb has been a relatively loosely coupled group of companies and individuals, set up four years ago by co-founders Bull, France Telecom and INRIA. ObjectWeb says it has grown over those four years to now include 60 corporate members, 1,800 individual members, 550 committers and 6,500 contributors.
It will announce later today that by turning itself into a legal entity it will increase its capacity to execute, with stronger member commitment, increased market awareness and reinforced international reach.
It will argue that becoming a legal entity will help to increase its openness, trust, fairness, transparency and independence. According to the group, while open source has proven very successful in delivering high quality software, most open source communities rely on volunteer contributions and meritocracy.
Now that open source is crossing the chasm and becoming mainstream, ObjectWeb says, projects need to be staffed by employees appointed to stick to a roadmap and to deliver software of a level of quality that enterprises can rely upon. In an international and multi-cultural environment, this requires more than an informal community.
The organization says its ambition is to, conquer a leading position in open source middleware on a global scale. As well as a board and management organization the new entity will have three councils to contribute to the organization’s activities: a Technology Council, an Ecosystem Council and an Operations Council.
ObjectWeb says its aim in all of this is to federate business oriented open source middleware projects. Members will find there a place to collaborate, while developing value added, differentiated commercial offers outside ObjectWeb, the group said. As a community of members, ObjectWeb will develop industry grade open source middleware, nurture the associated code base, foster cooperation among its members, and help foster a vibrant ecosystem for the exploitation of its middleware code base.
The new structure at ObjectWeb includes three new concepts. Strategic members are hoped to bring sustainability and independence by committing to significant human and financial resources, while market driven initiatives will bridge the gap between the business world and technology centric open source projects, ObjectWeb said. Finally local chapters will increase ObjectWeb’s presence around the world.
ObjectWeb says it is already the driving partner in two major international endeavors: as one of the co-founders of the Networked European Software & Services Initiative (NESSI), the European technology platform aimed at fostering transformation of the European economy through service oriented business models; and its program of collaboration with Orientware, the consortium started by the Chinese government to integrate the results of China’s controversial Program 863 in the domain of middleware.
China’s Orientware program is said to be, A collaborative composition of various middleware platforms, such as CORBA, J2EE, TP-Monitor, portal and workflow built on open and standard technical specifications. The goal is to provide a comprehensive middleware platform for the Chinese national information infrastructure that could challenge its foreign counterparties [sic] with respect to performance and functionality.