Episode 88

Foundations Roundtable: From Maintain to Sustain


August 6th, 2021

46 mins 53 secs

Your Hosts
Special Guests

About this Episode


Ewa Jodlowska, Rachel Lawson, Leah Silen, Ben Nickolls, Jory Burson, and Karen Sandler


Duane O'Brien and Richard Littauer

Show Notes

Hello and welcome to Sustain! The podcast where we talk about sustaining open source for the long haul. Today, we’re doing something a little different with this episode. We are giving you the audio recording of a round table that was recently hosted by Duane O’Brien and Richard Littauer, about the role of foundations in open source. Our panelists today are Ewa Jodlowska, Rachel Lawson, Leah Silen, Ben Nickolls, Jory Burson, and Karen Sandler. We’ll spend time talking about foundations and associations in general, the kinds of things they do, the kinds of legal structures that they may have, and how they differ from each other. They explain about the work they’ve done for their projects and some services that they offer. And then we’ll spend time talking about projects, when projects might think about reaching out to organizations, or when maintainers might think about bringing their projects to organizations. So, take a listen and enjoy! Go ahead and download this episode now!

[00:00:40] Duane starts off with a quick overview of the conversations they’ll be talking about.

[00:01:36] Everyone gives a brief introduction of themselves, who they’re representing, and what their organization does.

[00:06:42] Duane asks the panelists for their responses to: What is a foundation, what isn’t a foundation, and what are some of the differences between the types of organizations that you have.

[00:10:58] Speaking on behalf of the Python Software Foundation, Ewa talks about what kinds of things they do for projects and we learn from Leah what fiscal sponsorship means.

[00:13:07] Duane asks if there is anyone for whom their organization and their view of fiscal sponsorship is significantly different from what the others have described. Jory, Ben, and Karen share some things.

[00:17:34] Duane asks the panelists to discuss about the times that their organizations have helped solve another kind of problem or member projects or for projects that later became members. And, when have they been able to step in and intervene on behalf of the project?

[00:27:45] Find out what kinds of things the panelists look for from projects that apply to be a part of your organization and when do they think they’re ready to come in.

[00:31:56] For the maintainers of projects who are in charge of their project and are thinking it might be or wondering if it’s time to start reaching out to foundations, Duane asks the panelists for some key indicators that they might look for that it’s probably time to tag in some bigger help than they’ve had to date.

[00:32:54] Richard brings up a question that was in the chat about mailing lists and why is mailing list important when considering whether you’re going to take on a project into your foundation.

[00:34:45] A question that was sent to Richard personally and not in the chat was, why do we think there are so many women in this space?

[00:36:20] The next chat question Richard asks was, can everyone agree that most open source software foundation’s purpose is not to support the public interest, but instead to support the interest of the members?

[00:39:33] The panelists tell us what they are most excited about that might be coming up for them and what they want to plug on behalf of their organization.



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