Institutional Open Source Community Building at CERN
Thursday October 28th 2010, 10:01h
Filed under: FLOSS, Research

Last week I had the opportunity to participate in an open source workshop at CERN, organized by their Technology Transfer office. Among many interesting speakers I talked about institutional open source community building, the main topic of my dissertation. Here are the slides of my second Ernst & Young open source presentation:

Personally I learned that open source software development is an important topic at CERN for many years. E.g. software developers work since 1994 on the data analysis framework ROOT which is not only applied worldwide by research institutions but also in the financial sector because they need to handle petabytes of data as well. This represents a perfect example of software technology transfer from research to industry - the goal also stated in CERN’s Technology Transfer Policy favoring the release of software below open source licenses:

4.1.5 Software
For software developments that are owned in whole or in part by CERN, CERN favors the open source approach.
Exceptions can be made where there is a good reason not to put the software development under open source conditions at a given time. Alternatively a dual licensing scheme can always be considered.

The workshop itself was summarized as following:

Software constitutes an important share of PP [particle physics] developments. Open Source Software (OSS) licences are generally the preferred conditions for users and developers to access the PP community’s codes because these licences offer a suitable environment for the development of large and complex software with appropriate reliability and robustness. However, in terms of commercial exploitation, the OSS scheme suffers from several critical aspects. In order to analyse the situation, the TT Network organises a workshop at CERN on October 21 addressing issues related to the use of open source software for academic and commercial purposes on the basis of practical cases presented by the Nodes. Industry representatives are invited to present their experience in using OSS, engineers from important software institutions to present their experience in TT with OSS and legal experts to address the different OSS licences as well as the mechanisms for doing business with this software. Conclusions and key lessons learned will be the subject of a report to be circulated to the KTT Offices of the PP community.