The Open Solutions Alliance (OSA) since its inception in 2007 has been about promoting open source application interoperability.
It’s a mission that is now continuing under new leadership as the group strives to add new members to the 18 month old organization in the midst of a global recession.
The OSA has shed a few of its earliest members, though new president Anthony Gold claims the net number of members has actually risen. The OSA had ten founding members and now counts 26 members in total. In order to grow the organization and further the cause of open source application interoperability, the OSA under Gold’s leadership is looking to an unlikely source for inspiration.
“With MSDN [Microsoft Developer Network], Microsoft does a pretty good job of priming the community to help build solutions and that’s what we need to do more of in the open solutions world,” new OSA president Anthony Gold told InternetNews.com.
Gold, who works for Unisys, replaces Dominic Sartorio from SpikeSource as the OSA president. Microsoft’s MSDN is the type of effort that Gold would like to replicate for open source applications. In his view, standards alone aren’t enough to encourage active implementation of interoperable solutions. The real key is to have reference architectures and easily accessible examples to show how to implement solutions.
One of the ways that the OSA is trying to drive interoperable open solutions is with its Common Customer View (CCV) effort that started in August of 2007. CCV provides a common data model for a customer so that multiple applications can share data. Gold claims that Unisys is benefiting from CCV, but that work continues on evolving the functionality.
One of the items on Gold’s roadmap for improving CCV going forward is to have more vertical specific implementations of CCV to make is easier for end users to consume open solutions.
Another key goal for Gold, is to expand participation and membership in the OSA. Gold declined to comment as to whether or not Microsoft was being solicited to be a member. However Gold did claim that he regularly speaks with Microsoft Platform Strategy General Manager Bill Hilf .
While adding new members is a goal, Gold and the OSA must also deal with keeping its existing members as well. Networking monitoring vendor GroundWork open source which was one of the original founding members of the OSA has decided against renewing its membership. David Dennis, senior director of product marketing at GroundWork told InternetNews.com that while he respects the work that the OSA does, it doesn’t make financial sense for GroundWork to participate. Dennis argued that as a startup, GroundWork is very careful in watching its dollars and cents and felt that its resources were better allocated elsewhere.
Gold admitted that open source database vendor EnterpriseDB also declined to renew their OSA membership. Gold noted that financial concerns related to the current state of the economy were also an issue for EnterpriseDB.
In many respect, for the OSA the economy is its greatest challenge and its greatest opportunity.
“The biggest challenge is working through the tough economic times that we have now and will have through 2009, but that challenge is also a big opportunity for the OSA because of what open source and open solutions, do to help clients,” Gold argued. “So it’s a double edged source as every penny is being scrutinized by everybody. The flip side is every penny is being scrutinized to spend more effectively to get the job done. ”