We’ve seen that open source is no longer a collective of independent or unaffiliated parties: the commercialization and popularization of open source has brought with it the investment and involvement of corporations and large enterprises. Along with that, however open source–savvy the participants are, there will obviously be potential conflicts between commercial and community interests in these projects.
The intersection of open source and commercial interests raises questions about authority, authenticity, and culture.
—Nathen Harvey, Information Week1
Three questions that Nathen Harvey asks in his Information Week article on the topic are: “Is the project driven by the commercial sponsor or outside contributors? Will commercial interests trump the wishes of the community? How and where do you draw lines between a commercial entity and the open source community?”
These are critical questions to answer, and many of them can be resolved through the process of open governance via the foundation model. First, it will be helpful to understand the history and rise of foundations in the open source software world.
Let’s look at a few of the more significant foundations and their roles in specific communities. By taking a quick walkthrough of these foundations we can better understand the way in which specific communities developed their shared visions via the open foundation model.