FOSS February: A month to celebrate open source

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People arranged in the shape of FOSS

Join the Twitter Party hosted by National Day Calendar on 2/10

Open source remains a competitive means of distribution—one that delivers exceptional software to new and devoted users. Despite this, open source, its methodologies, practices, code, and the communities behind them, can be overlooked or misunderstood if they are inadequately communicated. As a professional in tech marketing in the open source space, I often find that my conversations begin by highlighting the key takeaways of open source before I can begin to graze the surface of product-specific impact.

Open source software has come a long way over the past several years, primarily due to the contributions of active open source communities. Still, convincing an enterprise’s influencers, IT leaders, and developers of the merits of open source remains a challenge in certain spaces. While it is important that organizations take an honest, objective look at the total cost of ownership of any solution, open source or commercial, it became clear to me that impressions of open source were not always reflective of the extraordinary work and talent that can be found in the space.

To emphasize the merits of open source and create a level ground on which leaders could base these important decisions, I wanted to create a marketing platform for common open source messaging and themes.

In the spirit of open source, I sought to create a shared platform that extended beyond my project—a platform that could be used to benefit the greater open source community.

National Free and Open Source Software Month

In order to accomplish this, I proposed a reserved month to create awareness around Free and Open Source Software. The intent is to establish a platform that appeals to general audiences, while simultaneously giving the strongest of open source supporters the underlying support they need to strengthen messaging for their projects. The Registrar at National Day Calendar declared the observance of National Free and Open Source Software Month in 2017. Founded by Onyx Point, Inc., FOSS February (#FOSSFeb) is an opportunity to discuss open source methods.

Artwork is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Originated by Amanda Arnold. Attributable to Onyx Point, Inc. 2017.

Synchronous use of the platform in open source channels will create resonance surrounding project goals ranging from community expansion, new developments, introduction to new spaces, etc. We selected February to observe the holiday, as it is the month in which the Open Source Initiative (OSI) was founded in 1998.

FOSS February is our chance to open the door to open source, to face the larger market, and to increase overall interest in the open source community and its projects.

Get involved

Together, we can use the platform to promote open source initiatives, market open source projects, and dispel general misconceptions. Here are some ideas on how to participate:

  • Display the official logo on your website/marketing materials
  • Plan or participate in webinars, hackathons, and events
  • Focus blog articles on open source initiatives
  • Register as a FOSS February participant
  • Use #FOSSFeb on social media posts
  • Join the Open Source Initiative (OSI)
  • Contribute code or donate money to an open source project
  • Encourage your favorite open source projects to participate
  • Join the Twitter Party hosted by National Day Calendar on 2/10
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Amanda is a technical marketing manager with 15 years experience supporting the Intelligence Community and Department of Defense. She works for Onyx Point, Inc. as Marketing and Communications Director for the System Integrity Management Platform (SIMP), and promotes DevOps workflow and open source solutions in US Government spaces.


I think that one of the next great advances with FOSS ought to be respect for the rights of others. We find that so many new startups are based on making money by using pieces of us. Information about who we are, what we search for, what we buy, where we live, without giving a choice about what is packaged and sold to others. It all speaks to a lack of respect for the individual -- there is no intrinsic value in what is known about me as an individual, so I can't be paid for it, yet in aggregate information about groups of people creates billionaires.

This is definitely an interesting conversation that has been going on for as long as I can remember. While it's certainly true that information processing at scale is the current rising wave of business, it's fundamentally because these places are providing services that people want to use. Fundamentally, there is choice! But the personal control of information that I think you're looking for is going to have to be mandated by law since it is not in the best interest of business to enforce these sorts of restrictions themselves.

I am interested in why you think that this should be mapped to the FOSS movement and not a social discussion? Simply because your data may be processed using FOSS software doesn't make it inherently more, or less, free or valuable in aggregate.

In reply to by Greg P

I think this speaks to the nature of data collection and analysis. This can be applied to anything, not just the behaviors and interests of groups and individuals related to sales/adoption. In aggregate, data just becomes more useful/powerful and can shape and influence decisions and change from science to business. If I get one trouble ticket on a product feature, it does not mean I ignore the needs of the customer. The focus is on that customer and their needs. But, if I receive 100 tickets on the same feature, that data becomes powerful in that it should start to shape considerations and changes fed back to the product itself, with investment of time and money allocated to that area. I like your input and thoughts on this. (Although, there are MANY entities that pay individuals for their opinion, clicks, etc.--valid or otherwise). I would support more ethical practices in place for data/analytics with enforcement by law to protect individuals who do not wish for their behavior (online or otherwise) to be fed to those willing to pay for it. We used to have to ask for information and interests via optional surveys! I am in marketing. I use (free) numbers lightly, to help guide the direction that I think meets the needs of users. I hope that it makes our communication better and helps to reflect pieces of each user/contributor in the product. Honestly, I just go by my gut feeling a lot too. As an individual, I care very much about other individuals and respect their thoughts. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License.