The OpenNMS Foundation

I am extremely excited to be able to finally announce the formation of the OpenNMS Foundation.

As one of the stewards of the OpenNMS project, I have tried my best to separate the .org project side of OpenNMS from the .com commercial revenue side. Every bit of code we (the .com folks) write is published under an open source license, but I think the key to any great open source project is to have a vibrant and active independent users group.

Part of that thinking comes from my experience with Hewlett-Packard’s OpenView product line. At one time it was the de facto standard for network management, driven in large part by an ecosystem of integrations and add-on products from other vendors. The independent OpenView Forum users group used to have conferences with attendance in the thousands. That users group was key to the success of the OpenView platform.

Of course, when those “other” vendors such as SMARTS, BMC and Micromuse started to become large, HP reacted in the wrong way and sought greater control over the OVForum. That was the beginning of the end.

The number of independent contributors to OpenNMS has always been a source of pride to me, but I never felt quite confident that our merry band had what it took to survive without the OpenNMS Group. That started to change a couple of years ago when a cluster of OpenNMS users and developers formed in Fulda, Germany, a little town outside of Frankfurt and home to a university.

Part of the choice of location was due to the influence of Nethinks, one of our German partners. They hosted three successful user conferences and employed one of the founders of the users group. Fulda is also home to a top-notch University, which brought in even more people to the project. Earlier this year, that group along with others got together and formed a non-profit organization to promote open source and OpenNMS.

I’m not sure any of my three readers will understand how happy this makes me. When Oculan decided to stop working on OpenNMS, I was certain the project would die without someone to maintain it. Even as the community and our company grew over the years, I was still afraid that circumstances could arise where the project would die. For the first time in over ten years I feel certain the project could continue without me and without the direct influence of the OpenNMS Group.

The first order of business of the new Foundation is to hold the seminal OpenNMS event in the form of a users conference. Created totally by users for users and held at the University of Fulda, this event will bring together developers, contributors, corporate sponsors and, of course, users, for several days of OpenNMS geekery.

I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

So save the dates of 12-15 March, 2013, and be sure to register. Sponsorship opportunities will be available as well.

I also want to express heartfelt thanks to the folks behind the OpenNMS Foundation for making one of my dreams a reality.