Outercurve Poised for Open-Source Mentorship With New President

The Microsoft-founded Outercurve Foundation sets its sights on nurturing new open-source projects with the naming of Apache veteran Jim Jagielski as president.

The Outercurve Foundation, an open-source software foundation founded by Microsoft, announced its selection of Jim Jagielski, a co-founder of the Apache Software Foundation (ASF), as its new president.

Jagielski, who co-founded ASF and remains a member and director of the longstanding open-source organization, also has been instrumental in the evolution of Outercurve, which sought him out for his open-source expertise. Jagielski takes over as Outercurve's president of the board of directors.

Jagielski is a driving force and developer within the open-source community. He is perhaps best known for his efforts at ASF, and he currently serves as a consulting software engineer for Red Hat, one of the most prominent open-source software pioneering companies. Jagielski's extensive IT background includes roles as the CTO for both Zend Technologies and Covalent Technologies, and as chief architect and chief open-source officer for SpringSource. He is also an accomplished coder—in numerous languages—and frequent speaker and consultant on Web and cloud-related topics.

"Outercurve is changing its focus to become more of an expertise center for projects to come to for direct, hands-on help in building communities," Jagielski told eWEEK. "The more and more we see companies and government agencies try to make the transition, the problem isn't 'where to host it'" or 'which license to use,' so much, but rather 'How do we draw users and developers?'"

Jagielski has had a presence on the Outercurve board of directors for almost as long as the organization has been in existence. Outercurve was founded in September 2009, and Jagielski served as board secretary since March 2010. He takes over the role of president from Sam Ramji of Apigee, who held the position for the past three years. Jagielski will further strengthen the foundation's dialog with other open-source luminaries in the same spirit of collaboration that Ramji pursued.

"This move sets a different tone publicly, because it is well-known that Sam used to work for Microsoft," Paula Hunter, executive director of the Outercurve Foundation told eWEEK. "He'll be focused on restructuring how we deliver services to existing projects as well as how we can do things for new projects."

"Currently there is no real FOSS [Free and Open-Source Software] foundation that provides that information and mentoring to help projects draw users and developers," Jagielski said in an interview. "Apache provides the incubator process which is great, but in some ways the 'podling' is only watched over and the mentoring is much less direct. The idea is that you provide the boundaries and let the community 'feel' its way, but there are some projects in which that simply doesn't work and they need a much more proactive hand guiding them. That's what Outercurve is moving towards: A place where the goals are providing the 'personal' interaction and help—and a place where the choice of license, or software repository or even governance structure doesn't matter."

He then added with a bit of a chuckle: "Think about all the projects hosted at Github and SourceForge and which have only a small understanding of FOSS and no real idea on how to build a community and a project: Who can they go to for that kind of help and guidance? Now they can go to Outercurve."

Jagielski stated that his plans are to help make Outercurve one of the pre-eminent open-source foundations. "We hope to be able to provide more guidance and help to a larger group of people, and to expand our presence at related conferences and summits," he said in a statement. "I am extremely excited to continue as a director for Outercurve, and to accept the position as president," Jagielski said. "I feel that Outercurve is not only ideally suited to be the central clearinghouse for open-source governance and community expertise, but is also the only foundation which makes this a prime objective."

The directors voted on the full slate of officers, including Tony Hey, of Microsoft as vice president, Sam Ramji, of Apigee as secretary, and Gianugo Rabellino, of Microsoft Open Technologies as treasurer.

Ramji told eWEEK he views the choice of Jagielski as president of Outercurve as "outstanding," adding, "I have learned a ton from Jim and plan to learn more as he takes on the leadership role for the Outercurve Foundation."

Meanwhile, Rabellino said he is "very happy" about Jagielski's new role and is looking forward to working with him as leader. "Jim's a great leader to pilot Outercurve, and an extra cool guy in my book."