Open Source Business Alliance

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Open Source Business Alliance
Logo OSB Alliance – Open Source Business Alliance e.V.png
FocusOpen Source Matters in Germany and Europe

The Open Source Business Alliance e.V. is a German non-profit that operates Europe's biggest network of companies and organizations developing, building and using open source software.[1]


The alliance was founded in July 2011 in Stuttgart. The two founding associations, Linux Solutions Group e.V. (Lisog) and the LIVE Linux-Verband e.V., officially merged their groups at their annual general meetings on the 20th and 21 July 2011.[2][3]

The merger aimed to create a unified lobby group for the German open-source movement.[4]

In 2014, a further attempted consolidation failed. The OSB Alliance and the Open Source Business Foundation (OSBF) first announced their intention to merge the two associations to form a single large advocacy group on 18 November 2013. After almost a year of negotiations that only achieved an agreement, the merger collapsed on 15 October 2014.[5]


General goals[edit]

The alliance's main aims are to:[6]

  • Promote Linux and open source-based solutions and their use in businesses and institutions, and to support the providers of open-source software and services
  • Help companies to develop an open source-based business strategy
  • Provide a communication platform to open source-focused IT providers and users, to encourage and promote improvements in open source
  • Develop continuous contact with politics and public administration bodies
  • Work to raise public awareness of open source

Central objectives of the alliance:[7]

  • The use of open standards with manufacturer-independent, fully published, unlimited specifications
  • The abolition of software patents, or alternatively, irrevocable free use of existing software patents
  • Inviolability of copyright
  • Action by public bodies to enable participation, i.e. open data, open innovation and open access
  • Open-minds economy through public forms of cooperation in politics and business
  • Net neutrality, i.e. equal treatment of all online data flows

Task groups[edit]

  • EVB-IT: These are supplementary conditions of contracts regarding the procurement of IT services. The templates for call for bids, derived from these supplementary conditions, require reformulation because they discriminate against businesses that offer free and open-source software-based solutions.
  • The Open Thin Client Alliance works on RDP-based solutions for an operating system-independent thin-client infrastructure
  • The initiative Deutsche Wolke wants to create solution stacks for cloud computing composed entirely of free and open-source software for "Infrastructure as a service" (IaaS) and also for "Software as a service" (SaaS), that is exclusively provided by German data centers.
  • Improved inter-operability between the ODF and the OOXML file formats.


The current board of Open Source Business Alliance e.V. consists of 11 members:[8]

  • Peter Ganten, Univention GmbH (Chairman)
  • Holger Dyroff, ownCloud GmbH (Vice Chairman)
  • Uwe Meyer-Gundelach, IBM Deutschland GmbH (Financial Director)
  • Prof. Dr. Helmut Krcmar, Technische Universität München
  • Henriette Baumann, integratio GmbH
  • Karl-Eugen Binder
  • Niels Mache, struktur AG
  • Jens Ziemann, Red Hat
  • Elmar Geese
  • Rico Barth, Cape IT GmbH
  • R. Haidl, SUSE Linux GmbH

Honorary Chairman

  • Dr. Karl-Heinz Strassemeyer, formerly IBM Deutschland Entwicklung

Working groups and projects[edit]

The OSB Alliance supports working groups that cover a wide range of issues. As of January 2015 the following working groups were in operation:[9]

WG Cloud Computing
focuses on all aspects of cloud technology. One of its central initiatives is the “Deutsche Wolke” (“German Cloud”) project.[10] Participants in the project are mostly small and medium-sized businesses based in Germany. The aim is to create a cloud solution adapted to German businesses that offers security, transparency and reliability. The project won third prize in the platform services category at the “Hosting & Service Provider Summit 2014″, held in Frankfurt am Main on 8–9 May.[11]
WG Education
works on the modern use of digital and interactive teaching and learning material in schools and digital education platforms based on open technologies and standards. In November 2013, the group presented a 30-page document entitled “Digital media, educational platforms and IT infrastructure in schools based on open systems and standards”.[12][13] The goal is to create an open “education cloud” that is centrally provided but configured locally.
WG Events
decides which events the association attends and arranges its participation. Since 2012, the Working Group Events has organised the OSB Alliance’s Open Source Day,[14] held every autumn. Another of its main focuses is coordinating the appearance of the OSB Alliance at CeBIT,[15] as well as at other events with relevant topics, such as the OPEN-IT SUMMIT [16][17][18] or OPEN!2015.
WG Marketing
is a communications platform for marketing executives working at the OSB Alliance’s member businesses, which are mostly young and technology-focused. The group organises the “Open Source Marketing Exchange” (OSMEx) series of events for training marketing specialists at open-source companies. Furthermore, the group also awards the OSBAR,[19][20] the OSB Alliance’s prize for innovation, which aims to support particularly young businesses and business founders.
WG Office Interoperability
aims to improve the compatibility of the open-source solutions LibreOffice and Apache OpenOffice with Microsoft’s proprietary Office suite, to promote the use of open-source office solutions critical for business. The group’s first project was the continued development of the OOXML filter in LibreOffice. The specification “Layout-getreue Darstellung von OOXML-Dokumenten in Open Source Office Applikationen” [21] (“Layout-faithful depiction of OOXML documents in open-source office applications”) was developed in 2011 by SUSE and Laredo.[22][23][24][25] The specification and subsequent patches were included in Apache Software License 2.0 and has been included in LibreOffice since version 4.0.
WG Public Affairs
formulates the positions of the OSB Alliance related to politics and public administration.[26][27][28] The group maintains direct and regular contact with politicians, acts as a point of contact for all questions from the public sector and cooperates in European fora. In November 2013, the working group published a brochure on PRISM and its consequences, with tips for countermeasures.[29][30] Most recently on 21 October 2014, the group held an open IT conference with councillors of the Green Party.[31][32]


External links[edit]