It has become an annual tradition at the Co-op: as we approach the end of the fiscal year, we ask our staff to nominate the projects from the wider open source community that they use and benefit from so that we can acknowledge and support those projects in our small way. We are proud to help grow the open source ecosystem in which we believe so strongly.
This year we are pleased to announce the following recipients:
Thunderbird – The Co-op provides email services for both its staff and members. Past fund recipients have included Horde, the default webmail client we offer members. We also support 3rd-party mail clients, and one of the consistent favourites to recommend to users has been Mozilla’s Thunderbird.
Let’s Encrypt – Secure web transactions requires digital certificates to enable HTTPS (SSL/TLS). In the past, these were the purview of a few certificate authorities who were able to charge large sums for new certificates. A few years go, Let’s Encrypt came along, offering a free, automated, and open certificate authority for the public’s benefit. Our donation this year approximates what we might have paid for a one-year certificate for a wildcard domain. This initiative has been a godsend for non-profits and individuals everywhere.
Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) – OWASP is an organization focused on improving the security of software through the sharing of openly-licensed software tools and knowledge-based documentation on application security. We have already benefited from a number of their documentation efforts on security best practices, and are planning to employ a number of their testing tools to assess and improve our security practices.
Thank you to the Co-op staff members who nominated this year’s recipients, and to the Co-op board and members for supporting the open source ecosystem.
About the Open Source Contribution Fund
The BC Libraries Co-op has a commitment to Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). Our core service, Sitka, is built on the FOSS application, Evergreen® ; we contribute code and resources to this project as much as possible, as well as to other projects whenever feasible.
The Co-op absolutely depends on hundreds of other FOSS projects, both large and small, for daily operations. Many of these projects are critical and yet can be severely under-resourced, run solely on volunteer time. An example of a consequence of this underfunding was the Heartbleed bug in the OpenSSL library that was publicly revealed in March 2014. That software library, which secured the traffic on hundreds of thousands of websites globally, was supported by three part-time, unfunded volunteers. That event was part of the impetus for the creation for this fund.
The Open Source Contribution Fund allows the Co-op to support software development and the supporting activities (legal, travel, promotion) of the wider FOSS ecosystem. The benefits are mutual: our members and staff benefits from a stronger ecosystem with robust software, and our participation and contributions benefits the wider community, too.
For more information, please see the Co-op’s Policy on FOSS Contribution Fund.