Thoughts on the importance of a clear governance rules with open source project.

The main motivation behind RefinePro is being able to commit developer time to OpenRefine (since I am not a developer myself) and have the project leave its stagnant stage. RefinePro motivation isn’t to make millions or get some prestige by stealing other people work –  there is faster and less risky way to do that than creating a start-up on a niche market.

For the last seven months our focus was on migrating Refine as a cloud application and building the foundation of a revenue stream by providing hosted instances (adding all the other things when building a start up). Today we want to contribute more developer time to the OpenRefine project.

However having having no clear governance rules prevent us to engage more with the community. We want to grow OpenRefine contributors base (via our employee or by involving university via program like Google Summer of Code). It is unfair to ask someone (a company, university, individual person) to invest time and/or money in a process without giving them the rule on how their effort will be evaluated and rewarded.

Over the last two years, organization that invested heavily in Refine have done it outside of the core, via extension (most of BITs works) or by forking (see the SparkRefine, GOKb projects among other). In each of those project has functionality valuable to the core. It will be great to see them generalized and share back.

RefinePro is ready to commit developer time so we stop talking and start doing. We want to help prepare the next release and take the project to its next milestone (we shared idea and we want to make the decision with the community). To do that we like to have a clear rules so contribution one can contribute in an open and transparent fashion. This apply to RefinePro but for any other person or organization (for profit, non for profit, university …) who wish to engage with OpenRefine.