Future of Open Source

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

by Mihai Guiman

The annual Future of Open Source Survey, which provides a report on the state of the open source industry and analysis of future trends, reached its 8th edition. This year the survey confirmed that the open source movement is getting more and more attention, having received over 1200 responses and support from over 30 open source industry icons, with a rich conversation thread on twitter – #FutureOSS. The results were presented in a panel discussion that commented on the latest trends in open source, and evolution from the previous years. If you missed the webinar you can access the recording here and the survey results are available on SlideShare here.

Besides the record numbers in attendance, it’s worth mentioning that this year more consumers of open source have participated to the survey than vendors, underlining that users are becoming more participative and are starting to contribute back.


According to Blackduck, this year’s survey results build upon the democratization and proliferation of open source in three main areas:

  • New People – Survey results uncover the growth of first-time developers participating in the open source community
  • New Technologies – the rate of innovation is spurring new technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and the continued rise of Software as a Service (SaaS). When asked what industries open source technology was leading, 63 percent cited cloud computing/virtualization, 57 percent answered content management, 52 percent selected mobile technology, and 51 percent answered security.
  • New Economics – A change in the way enterprises view open source was signaled by 56 percent of respondents expecting corporations to contribute to more open source projects in 2014. When asked why corporations engaged with OSS communities, cost reduction remanded the top response (61 percent), but gaining competitive advantage came in second (45 percent), and for companies over 1,000 employees, influencing a project’s direction was the third most popular answer.


One major shift from the previous years is that the number one factor in adopting open source is based on the quality of software (8 out of 10). This is thought to be a direct result of more people becoming contributors to open source projects, which leads to creating and maintaining high quality software.

Another major shift is that security in open source is considered to be a strength, even though a couple of years ago security was viewed as a liability. I couldn’t agree more, as I’ve followed the heated debate between security in open source versus proprietary software and shared my thoughts.

80% of the respondents consider that competitive features/technical capabilities of open source software are another adoption decision factor.

An interesting point made by one of the panelists is that only open source crypto currencies have been successful so far because it’s the only way one can see transparently what kind of code is being used, also a new trend for financial applications.

The senior open source strategist from Samsung states that they both use open source technology in their products and contribute to open source. This way they are making sure they can to influence the development track of the projects. In his view, in order to be successful and have a competitive advantage when consuming open source you have to collaborate with others to build projects you can rely on. Helping the project grow will benefit you because it gives the possibility to free up engineering resources to work on things that are strategic rather than work on things which are commodity.


Allevo, FINkers United and FinTP

I have shared in a previous article how Allevo, a private ISV and consultancy company focused on delivering software products for financial institutions, decided to share our achievements and knowledge by publishing our application for processing financial transactions (FinTP) under an open source license. Of course, in order to ensure the project’s success we have started to build a community of professionals around the application that share the same interests. We called it FINkers United.

Given these trends of the open source industry, I believe Allevo’s approach with the FinTP project serves best the financial services market. The processing of financial transactions has become a commodity, so non-differentiating software should take advantage of what the open source culture is all about: sharing and collaboration throughout the software lifecycle in order to achieve high security and quality of software, control and flexibility, lower cost and improved efficiency.



Where were we? Ah, we have clarified some general aspects like what is FINkers United, what is its purpose, how can you become a member and so on and now it is time to explain what roles you can have in this community and how you can actually contribute.

Chapter 2: Structure and Roles

How can I contribute?

There are many ways you can contribute and thus become part of this living community. What you can do depends on your choice of involvement. The more dedicated you become, the more possibilities will open to you. Depending on your level of involvement, you can be a member, a contributor (individual or corporate) or a committer.

Can you detail the member part?

Anyone can become member of the community. You just have to be interested in what we are doing. You might very well be a user who downloaded and used our code and now just feel the need to give us your feedback. You might want to stay in touch with forum discussions, latest news and events or just burst with new ideas and suggestions.

Apart from that, members usually provide feedback on their experience using our outcomes, inform our developers of strengths and weaknesses they found and identify possible new features, support new users (share the experience they gained).

Note: When becoming a member you will be asked to agree to our code of conduct.

How about the contributors?

Community members who wish to take part in concrete ways in the community running may become contributors, and contributions can take many forms. There is no expectation of commitment to the project, no specific skill requirements and no actual selection process – all you have to do is to agree upon the terms and conditions of the CLA (Contribution License Agreement). Contributors engage with the project through forum, blog, Idea box, projects, and mailing lists.

When we talk of contributors though, we need to make the distinction between an individual contributor and a corporate contributor.

Individual contributors are the members willing to give away the outcomes of their activity within the community, no matter if they are a requirements designer, architect, developer, tester, document writer, or translator, you name it. Their artefacts will be submitted as patches and validated by committers or project maintainers, but their contributions will always be acknowledged.

Corporate contributors are those companies willing to empower their employees to become contributors within our community. This way they will always be in the middle of things and also have the possibility of influencing the paths the projects are going. All they have to do is to agree the terms and conditions of the CCLA (Corporate Contribution License Agreement) in order to avoid any copyright issues that may rise. This will come together with a list of employees the company agrees to have as contributors.


What can I, as a contributor, do more than a simple member?

There are several things a member cannot do, but a contributor can, such as: analysing and designing requirements, adding features, programming, fixing bugs, writing documentation, software localization, providing graphics and web design, etc.

You said something about a… committer, was it? What is that?

Generally, a potential committer is a contributor who has shown an understanding of the project, its objectives and its strategy and has provided valuable contributions to the project over a period of time. Consequently, the community will return his/her trust and (s)he may be nominated for committership by an already existing committer (initially, these are the project maintainers). Committers have no more authority over the project than contributors, as their work continues to be reviewed by the community before acceptance in an official release. The key difference between a committer and a contributor is when this approval is sought from the community: a committer seeks approval after the contribution is made, rather than before. Seeking approval after making a contribution is known as a commit-then-review process. The candidates for committership are voted within the project. Once the vote has been held, the aggregated voting results are published. Nominees may decline their appointment as a committer.

A committer who shows an above-average level of contribution to the project, particularly with respect to its strategic direction and long-term health, may be nominated to become project maintainer, and thus part of the Technical Committee.

Ah, so many new things you mentioned! If I understand correctly, I can be more than a committer in FINkers United?

Yeap, you can be a project maintainer. Project maintainers are contributors with leading role in managing the project assigned. Their role is to ensure the smooth running of the project by reviewing code contributions, participating in strategic planning, deciding upon matters for which the consensus cannot be reached, making sure that all governance processes are adhered to. The project maintainers have access to the project’s private sections and its archives (used for sensitive issues, such as votes for new committers and legal matters that cannot be discussed in public). Any new project maintainer is nominated by the existing project maintainers and is voted together with the project members. Technical committee may cast a veto. The project maintainers remain in role until they retire or the majority vote removes any of them.

You keep mentioning this voting process. What’s it about?

Issues such as those affecting the strategic direction or legal standing of the project must gain explicit approval in the form of a vote. Besides those there is also a not so dramatic voting request that will help us to prioritize projects, ideas to become new features, etc.

Every community member is expected to share his/her opinion on all matters and so they will simply cast votes. However, only the meritorious members will have a binding vote for the purpose of decision making (project maintainers, committers, Steering Committee members). This does not mean that you cannot make a difference, even if you are none of the above mentioned meritorious members, as a well justified vote may get supported by a binding vote.

A veto can be expressed only by binding votes. Any objection is to be addressed by the community until the objection is either revoked, overruled (in the case of non-binding votes) or the proposal is so altered as to achieve consensus. If no consensus is achieved, then Steering Committee may decide upon it.

I got it, but there is something I want to get back to. What is the technical committee?

The technical committee includes all the project maintainers. They are entitled to cast binding votes, can nominate committers and have a representative within the Steering Committee of the community. They may approve changes to the governance model and manage the copyrights within the project outputs and decide on matters that affect more projects.

Is it anything higher up the chain?

Yes, as I mentioned, there is the steering committee. The steering committee is a group of decision makers and has the role of the moderator: the instrumental inspirational authority, expected to draw both the development vision and the guidelines of the community.

I know it’s a lot of information at one time, but it will become even clearer when we explain in our next chapters how everything actually works in the community, what are the standard processes and so on.


by Andrei Dutescu


11-13 of April (yes, it was also during the weekend), me and my colleague Horia attended the FinTechAthon organized by Startupbootcamp, a Fintech accelerator. To put simple, it was a 48 hour hackathon organized in London, which gathered business experts in payments, IT architects and developers. The theme of this hackathon was “Redefining payments”, with the objective to re-design the core payments infrastructure in order to remove limitations. Identifying problem areas, testing many different concepts and demonstrating in code the ideas that have potential were also present on the agenda.

As financial transactions processing and payments in particular are always a top subject for Allevo, we have participated to this event also because it was a great way to network with people and meet them face-to-face, starting relationships within the community.

The event began on Friday afternoon with an introduction from our host, StartupBootCamp, made by Nektarios Liolios, former member of the SWIFT Innotribe team. The event itself was facilitated by Mela Atanassova (also a former member of the SWIFT Innotribe team), and in its first part, it looked a lot like the one Allevo organized for the official launch of our FinTP Project on 24th of May 2012 (with the same facilitator, it’s true).

On Saturday morning we had a lively open debate about the key concepts in the payments infrastructure that needed clarification. Afterwards we enjoyed a brainstorming session around some of the solutions. The ideas that came out of the brainstorming process were scribed on the walls for a better view by Mela. Alongside all the participants, we got involved and formed teams that started working on some of the ideas suggested during the brainstorming session: each team chose an idea and started a project based on that idea. The projects initiated kicked off in the hackathon, each team presenting a short demo/solution based on the development and coding made. We had to use as much as possible the API documentation & resources from the partners of this event: Ripple, Open Bank Project and X Ignite – all open source products.

So Saturday was a pretty long and busy day, from early morning until late in the evening, but the experience of working with the people gathered there and sharing ideas and knowledge with them, gave us plenty of energy and made all the efforts worth.

On Sunday morning we continued working on the projects, preparing the final presentations and demos. Each team had to present its demo in front of the audience. The best team of the hackathon was chosen, selecting from the last 3 teams that made it to the final. Best developer of the event also received an award.

The idea of the winning team (called Open MPC – also based on an “open” source solution) started from simplifying the retail payment process between a client and a merchant, with the settlement between the two parties not involving banks, but being made through an internet protocol/network called Ripple, having both the client and the merchant use an electronic wallet.

As a prize, Startupbootcamp offered to provide the winners an office space located in their building for 2 months, so that the team can continue the development of this project. A similar hackathon will be organized on 22nd of June, also in London. This event will gather all the winning teams from previous hackatons.

Being continuously preoccupied with the development of new products and with the latest financial and technological trends and events, the participation at such events helps us also to gain a larger footprint for our FinTP project and for the community around it, FINkers United, by meeting people face-to face, by telling them about our project and by gaining new members in our community.

During these 3 days we had the opportunity to talk to bank experts, developers and people from all kinds of areas of expertise, sharing with all of them the idea of joining our open source community, which is for all financial thinkers’ enthusiasts.

I was happy to see the good reaction that people had when told that we just launched our product for processing financial transactions in an open source environment. Many of them asked a lot of questions about the community and wanted to know more (especially developers who were interested in how they can contribute in coding). Their positive reaction gives us the reassurance that organizing such an event within the Finkers United community, in the future may be a very good idea.

by Ioana Guiman


Last week Allevo ran its 24th User Group meeting. These are biannual events where we invite people in the operations, business and IT areas of banks, people who work on a daily basis with good old qPayIntegrator, and also people who could be interested in using our solution. They get the chance to interact with us, their solution provider, and with their peers in the industry, share their experience in using the various features of qPayIntegrator (due to its modularity, one can choose to use only the needed features) – in one phrase strengthening the community gathered around qPayIntegrator. Our target line for the next period is to convince them to join us in the FINkers United community formed for the successor of qPayIntegrator, FinTP.


We may well have a good lever for this: even though attendees of these meetings currently use or may get to use qPayIntegrator, they won’t be doing this for much longer – as the solution will be migrated to FinTP.


We talked a lot about FinTP in the past – like qPayIntegrator, it is an application for managing and processing financial transactions, but what makes it special is its open distribution model, which brings all the benefits of open source software under one hood. FINkers United is a co-creation space we set for these types of open projects, specifically designed for banks and financial institutions. It is hosted online on www.fintp.org.


In this user group meeting, we brought a new dimension to the debates regarding our open-source project, focusing on the legal perspective, as an extra insurance for banks and financial institutions to feel safe about welcoming FinTP on their platforms. For this purpose we invited the lawyer currently advising us in founding the FINkers United association, to present open-source software legal aspects to our User Group guests, as she is one of the very few Romanian attorneys specialized in intellectual property related to software in general and open-source software in particular. Just a small thing to brag with: this association is the first of its kind in Romania.


Some basics: FINkers United guarantees copyright, which protects, among others, three things we consider to be of outmost importance: source code, binaries and documentation. All these are the property of the contributor who initially published them. The license actually represents how this copyright is configured by its owners. In the case of FinTP, the initial copyright owner is Allevo, who chose an open license (GPL v3) as means of distribution. This gives the right to use, distribute and make changes to the initial application within the community’s boundaries. What can any of the solution providers interested in distributing this software do under these circumstances? We can show a way, by revealing what Allevo is going to. We are prepared to pull the source code from the community version, verify and validate it, compile it and then distribute it based on a multi-level subscription model. In front of our customers we bear the responsibility of the code’s accuracy and security, as long as the version we deliver is not tampered with. Conversely, whenever new developments are added by Allevo developers, these will be pushed into the community version regularly or on event-triggered basis.


Another thing FINkers United guarantees is trademark. Trademark protects the identity (the brand) of he who offers services for the copyrighted solution. There is a Trademarks section on fintp.org, which in essence says: FinTP®, the FinTP word design, the FinTP design logo, FINkers United®, the FINkers United word design, the FINkers United design logo, either separately or in combination […] are trademarks of Allevo.


All this is to say Allevo have put this community in place from a legal perspective too , making sure any contributions are properly attributed to each individual or institutional contributor, whipping out any possibility of conflict of interest and making it easy and safe for people to contribute within FINkers United. Developers will own the original code they publish, business or operations people will own the new ideas they contribute (for new features for example) and so the community will become a reliable escrow agent for any user of FinTP.


By: Ioana Moldovan


April 10th, 7:30 AM: waking up with the sound the rain makes on the window sill. Any other day this week would have been just fine, but today we have the User Group. And everybody knows how the traffic in Bucharest gets when a few drops of rain fall on the city streets. Imagine heavy rain. And everybody relates to trying to minimize the number of destinations you have to reach on a day like this.

One of the destinations our customers had to include in their itinerary was Hotel Royal, where we organized the 24th User Group. And they made it, despite the annoying traffic jams.

We started a little bit later, but the good thing is that we could not finish in time. And that is because the discussions, the debates, the questions and answers did not allow us to cut any of our topics short.

It did not come as a surprise that the main actors were SEPA for the first half and our FinTP project for the second half. In supporting roles we had Support, Customer Support (optimizing the services), Survey (the customer survey we did with Microsoft), Maintenance (implementing additional security), SWIFT Partnership (the SWIFT campaigns we are running), Industry Events (the importance of being present at conferences like Sibos, EBAday, etc), Corporate Rebels (open invitation to be a part of this movement empowering true change).



Last, but not least, we celebrated 10 years of qPayIntegrator, the product that united us there. Short trip on memory lane, we recalled its evolution, with the birth of new features each year, culminating with the launch of FinTP in 2014, its open source offspring. At this point, we explained, once more, the implications that come with this change, as well as the legal aspects surrounding the product (emphasising the distinction between the enterprise version and the community one), the project and the community around it.

Speaking of community, FINkers United is eager for new members, enthusiast financial thinkers of all sorts, from IT developers to financial experts. Remember the community’s home? It’s fintp.org. Go there, have a look, share your ideas. Cause we believe in the value of feedback and one of the conclusions of this meeting was that:

“We need as much FEEDBACK as we can get!”


It did not come as a surprise that the main actors at the 24th edition of our User Group were SEPA for the first half and our FinTP project for the second half. In supporting roles we had Support, Customer Support (optimizing the services), Survey (the customer survey we did with Microsoft), Maintenance (implementing additional security), SWIFT Partnership (the SWIFT campaigns we are running), Industry Events (the importance of being present at conferences like Sibos, EBAday, etc), Corporate Rebels (open invitation to be a part of this movement empowering true change).

Read more impressions from the User Group on the blog.

Allevo ran its 24th User Group meeting where we invited an attorney specialized in intellectual property legislation who advises us on how to manage the legal aspects of the FINkers United community. She pointed out that FINkers United guarantees, among others, two key things: copyright and trademark.

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