To explain codebase stewardship it can be useful to consider perspectives from community, quality, support, and product.
What codebase stewardship is
We help codebases be:
- collaboratively developed
- maintained at scale
- reused widely and sustainable
Successful open source codebases build a diverse community of public organizations and vendors to implement and support the product. This includes multiple public organizations contracting new development work, and multiple developing parties adding code to the repository.
The Foundation for Public Code helps facilitate these interactions around the code - for example by setting up community calls and events, processing feedback and contributions, organizing workshops, answering questions for newcomers, and supporting, consulting on and executing codebase governance and technical steering in a way that is open and inclusive to everyone working at the code level (including developers, implementers and open source enthusiasts). This helps avoid duplicate work, and ensures new actors beyond those already involved can join and participate easily.
Successful open source codebases leverage economies of scale in a decentralized manner - various developers add features and fix bugs, while various implementers support public organizations in their implementations.
The Foundation for Public Code helps guarantee that all the code and corresponding documentation is ready for reuse. This includes a quality check on all new code, policy and documentation added to the repository, codebase auditing, monitoring codebase compliance towards any future versions of the Standard for Public Code, security and compatibility monitoring, and making sure everything is properly explained so other people can use it in their work. This helps all parties involved trust each other’s code and work - allowing them to build on each other.
Successful open source codebases build a diverse vendor network for development, maintenance, implementation and hosting.
The Foundation for Public Code explicitly looks at the code and documentation from a vendor perspective to help make sure it is commercially viable for them to work with the codebase. This can include hosting introductory open days to the codebase, giving training to new vendors, helping to resolve questions and doubts, project infrastructure and process management, intellectual property management and trademark protection, and supporting the relationship between public organizations and vendors - including maintenance, implementation and integration partners as well as hosting providers.
Successful open source codebases involve a wide community to partake in the actions described above.
The Foundation for Public Code supports the product marketing and product development of codebases to reach public organizations and vendors beyond (the network of) the current community. This can include help with the codebase’s branding, storytelling, product steering and marketing assets. This helps make the codebase attractive internationally and to new vendors, and easier to scale in the local context.