Introducing the OW2 Consortium

On this page:

What is OW2?

OW2 is an independent, global, open-source software community. The mission of OW2 is to a) promote the development of open-source middleware, generic business applications, cloud computing platforms and b) foster a vibrant community and business ecosystem.

OW2 developments follow a flexible, component-based approach. These components range from specific software frameworks, protocols, and applications through integrated, service-oriented platforms for enterprise computing.

The OW2 consortium is an independent non-profit organization open to companies, public organizations, academia and individuals. OW2 is an open organization.

OW2 is committed to growing a community of open source code developers. The organization is dedicated to the creation of new technology: original code development is one of its fundamental characteristics. OW2 champions the tenets of quality and usability of its software in the open source enterprise marketplace. It fosters a common technical architecture to be shared by its members and to facilitate the implementation of its technology by systems integrators and end-users.

The OW2 projects aim at facilitating the development, deployment and management of distributed applications with a focus on open source middleware and related development and management tools. In the open source software value chain, OW2 is positioned as an industry platform facilitating interaction between open source code Producers and open source code Consumers.

OW2 provides three types of services to its community. First, OW2 operates a technical infrastructure by delivering tools and collaborative services to project teams. The core of the platform is the OW2 forge, an application which gives technical support to projects through a number of tools for the management of code contributions, versions, debugging, licenses, contributors, redistribution, etc. Second, OW2 provides community services by organizing activities and through the decision-making process; OW2 is a catalyst for social and business interaction and relies on five guiding principles: Openness, Fairness, Trust, Transparency and Independence. Third, OW2 provides marketing services by helping build the community identity, brand, and the projects' visibility. OW2 achieves this in essentially three ways: creating collateral, organizing the community's presence at professional events, and driving outbound communication.

Introduction: The Changing Nature of Open Source Software, Cédric Thomas, OW2. Keynote @ OW2con 2014, Leveraging the Global Open Source Ecosystem
Cédric Thomas, CEO, speaks to Dave Neary about "What is OW2" during Open World Forum 2010, Paris

The Origin of OW2

After its inception in January 2002, ObjectWeb, a joint project between INRIA, Bull, and France Telecom, grew into a mature open source community spanning three continents. Orientware was launched two years later by Peking University, Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics (now Beihang University), National University of Defense Technology (NUDT), CVIC Software Engineering Co., Ltd.(CVIC SE) and Institute of Software, Chinese Academy of Sciences (ISCAS).

In September 2005, ObjectWeb and Orientware signed an agreement by which they committed to share their code base and jointly develop open source middleware software. The two communities merged at the end of 2006. A brief account in pictures of the merger can be found here.

In the same way that biological ecosystems develop, the ObjectWeb and Orientware communities developed over time. They became ready to support a fully fledged independent open source organization: the OW2 Consortium.

The initial thrust of the co-founders who dedicated time, expertise and financial resources to the project quickly gained the support of open source activists from around the world. A continuous cycle of contribution and expanding benefits has resulted in a rich business ecosystem of some 100 projects backed by more than 5,000 enthusiastic supporters. The OW2 business ecosystem did not happen overnight; much still remains to be done to take it to the next level.

The OW2 Opportunity

Market trends call for open source infrastructure software. As corporations and public administrations open up applications to remote employees, partners, suppliers, customers, and citizens, and as distributed platforms interconnect a growing number of organizations, middleware becomes a critical execution environment. Modern computing systems are increasingly complex and middleware has become a strategic infrastructure component of modern societies.

The middleware layer stands between the operating system and the business applications. It handles communications between nodes. As distributed computing becomes ubiquitous, this layer becomes pivotal to an ever growing number of applications.

The rise of open source software is consistent with these trends, as is the concentration of open source middleware software supply. The OW2 Consortium is designed to leverage these trends.

The OW2 Business Ecosystem Strategy

The IT industry is without doubt one of the most dynamic and competitive sectors in our economy. It provides an excellent stage for innovative strategies. The OW2 Consortium is fortunate to be at the junction of two recent innovations in business: open source software and business ecosystems.

Here is a paper explaining the OW2 business ecosystem strategy. Drawing from our experience in the software industry, the paper starts by positioning the Business Ecosystem concept against the more popular Value Chain concept and by highlighting some of its characteristics. It then describes how the OW2 Consortium is implementing its business ecosystem strategy and the lessons learnt after nearly two years of operation.

OW2 as a Business Ecosystem Platform

Platform Strategies and the OW2 Consortium explains how the OW2 Consortium operates as a business ecosystem platform.

Established from the onset as an unconventional means to share code among developers, open source has evolved into a major structuring factor in the software industry. Since open source is on its way to becoming mainstream, it is expected that the market will create the necessary business, community, and legal environment to make open source a sustainable phenomenon. The OW2 Consortium was launched to leverage these trends. OW2 is both an open source community and a community-driven organization.

OW2 provides a meeting point for stakeholders of differing natures who share an interest, either technical or business, for open source middleware. This paper shows how OW2 is implementing the core tactics of multi-sided platforms.

OW2 Open Source Strategies

The paper Software Commoditization and Open Source Strategies presents the strategic opportunities offered to OW2 members.

Our understanding is that there is a long-term commoditization movement which reveals itself through at least three business configurations: the first is offshore outsourcing, the second is open source, and the third, emerging now, is cloud computing.

The software industry is a system with strong feedback and under constant renewal. A correct understanding of the mechanisms underpinning the growth of open source and its relationship with software commoditization provides a conceptual and strategic framework for governments, software vendors, systems integrators, customers, and developers.

Open source, however, should not be reduced to an expression of software commoditization as it plays a key role in open innovation practices. Furthermore, its interaction with the wave of innovation required by cloud computing provides a new perspective on OW2's evolution.