Frequently Asked Questions

FOSSBazaar is no longer being updated. The information on this site is preserved for your convenience but may be out of date. Please visit Linux Foundation's Open Compliance Program for current information and activities.

This list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) is provided to help FOSSBazaar users understand more about this community, its goals, and how it is positioned.

What does FOSS mean?

Free and open source software (FOSS) is a term generally used across the open source community. The terms open source software (OSS) and FOSS are frequently used to define software that is developed and supported collaboratively by the open source community. The definition for open source is provided by the Open Source Initiative (OSI) and free software is defined by the Free Software Foundation (FSF). For additional information on these definitions, visit the OSI and FSF websites located at:

What is FOSSBazaar?

FOSSBazaar is a workgroup of the Linux Foundation, a 501c6 nonprofit organization. It is a community and knowledge-base that is provided to support open communication between FOSS users and experts. Best practices are discussed for topics such as: acquiring and deploying FOSS, defining policies for FOSS governance, developing and implementing processes to execute FOSS policy, and finding tools and other resources for process implementation. Current events that affect FOSS are also discussed. It is supported by, a collaborative environment site aiming at capturing the benefits and minimizing the risks of FOSS.

FOSSBazaar is spearheaded by HP and includes several industry leaders in open source service providers and projects. This is the first open community web site that is dedicated to FOSS governance and issues related to selection, acquisition, and deployment in organizations.

The purpose of FOSSBazaar is to serve as a resource for information related to FOSS governance. Managers in business, government, and education who want to assess the benefits and risks associated with using FOSS in their IT environments, can find useful information to get started or enhance FOSS governance practices.

Who is involved in FOSSBazaar?

The founding partners of FOSSBazaar are: The Linux Foundation, Coverity, Google, Novell, Olliance Group, OpenLogic, DLA Piper, SourceForge and HP. Please see the sponsor section for a complete listing of our partners.

Why is FOSS important?

Open source software is everywhere. FOSS users and developers across all industries and academia can benefit from its use. FOSS is extremely easy to download and the acquisition of open source software typically circumvents any traditional software procurement processes you may have in place. If you have open source software that you do not know about, then you also have software licenses that you do not know about as well.

Why is FOSS Governance important?

The use of open source software is gaining momentum. Policies governing the life cycle of traditional software cannot always be applied to FOSS because of its unique characteristics including acquisition, code use and reuse, source reliability, and licensing. FOSS governance addresses all these points.

Is FOSS really that pervasive?

Many traditional software markets have been very largely converted to FOSS, for example:

  • Compilers Toolchains and Development Environments
  • Enterprise Operating Systems
  • Embedded Operating Systems
  • Web Servers

Established software leaders are offering FOSS.

  • Sun and other companies have made some of their software available as FOSS
  • IBM, HP, and others have incorporated FOSS into their products

Some new domains never began in commercial forms.

  • Web Service protocols and Java Tools
  • MS-compatible File and Print Services (It is very difficult for a commercial company to invest what is needed to engineer a Samba competitor then to try and charge for its use.)
  • Blogging and Wiki Software

Why is FOSSBazaar hosted by the Linux Foundation?

There is a strong convergence between the FOSSBazaar goals and those of the Linux Foundation. By hosting FOSSBazaar as a workgroup under the Linux Foundation, the FOSSBazaar members are able to show and reinforce their commitment and support to the Linux Foundation objectives. This relationship also benefits awareness within the ecosystem surrounding the Linux Foundation.

How do I get more information about FOSSBazaar?

Additional information on FOSSBazaar is available to members from the Resources page of the FOSSBazaar website and includes information on consortiums, partner information, educational material, and so on.

Who is FOSSBazaar competing with?

FOSSBazaar is not in competition with any other organization or individuals. Competition is for products. FOSSBazaar is an open community website that is aimed at raising awareness on issues related to the use of FOSS and providing education and access to various resources. Anyone can join FOSSBazaar and members have access to download, modify, and use the information provided. FOSSBazaar members can also make contributions to enhance the site.

Where can I get additional information on services and products offered by the FOSSBazaar members?

Visit the sponsors area on FOSSBazaar.

What training is available to developers and customers to become more knowledgeable on FOSS governance?

The FOSSBazaar website contains several pages of information such as, Getting Started, FOSS Governance Fundamentals, Governance Maturity, and Resources.