November 22, 2021

Our Open Source Program Office and the TODO Group

Rob Underwood - Global Program Lead of the Open Source Program Office, Bella Wiseman - Lead Engineer of the Open Source Program Office

Goldman Sachs has been contributing to open source for nearly a decade. One of our first contributions was in January 2012 when we open sourced GS Collections, now Eclipse Collections within the Eclipse Foundation. As of today we have 17 repositories in our GitHub org, such as GS Quant and Reladomo. And there are another 10 repos, across two projects, Legend and CatchIT, that we've open sourced through the Fintech Open Source Foundation (FINOS). We also depend on thousands of open source packages to run our systems -- as our CTO Atte Lahtiranta wrote last month, "Goldman Sachs runs on open source software", which itself was a quote from the memo endorsed by our senior Engineering Division leadership and which is the charter for Goldman Sachs' open source strategy and roadmap.

In August, we formalized our commitment to open source by delivering on our first OKR (OKRs - Objectives and Key Results, are one of several management tools, including six-page memos and PRFAQs, we use in the Engineering Division) to create an Open Source Program Office (OSPO). For the first time, we now have a team, which includes both of us, whose full-time mandate is to create, lead, and realize the open source strategy at Goldman Sachs. The OSPO is the single, global, firmwide point of contact for open source consumption, contributions, reporting, and engagement. As we have seen work well at other companies, having a single team responsible for the open source strategy will allow us to accelerate and deepen our investment in open source.

Central to that strategy is better supporting our engineers who already contribute to open source, encouraging more of our team to get involved in open source communities, and improving the developer experience for both Goldman Sachs developers contributing to open source as well as external developers contributing to projects we have open sourced, whether hosted in foundations or in our GitHub org (also external developers who are using our APIs and the projects that work with them like GS Quant). We believe that giving back to open source communities creates tangible value for our shareholders, by growing our engineers, attracting top engineering talent, and connecting us to cutting-edge code, and the builders creating it. We also believe that giving back to the projects and communities we rely on to run our business is simply the right thing to do.

As Atte shared, one component of our open source strategy is financial sponsorship, usually in the form of membership dues. Two examples are the aforementioned Eclipse Foundation as well as the Scala Center. As Atte also mentioned last month, we plan to expand our financial support of the open source community, both in the form of direct grants to projects (Maintainers, we read Twitter and Reddit too. We hear you. You need more support) and financial sponsorship of open source foundations.

One example of this latter category is our long-standing relationship with, and financial support of, the Linux Foundation. Originally started to support development of the Linux kernel (Happy 30th, Linus and Linux!), the Linux Foundation has evolved and expanded into a "foundation of foundations" that provides fiscal sponsorship, shared back office, and sales and marketing support to other open source foundations such as CNCF, FINOS and OpenSSF.

As part of launching our Open Source Program Office, we've recently joined another foundation under the Linux Foundation umbrella, the TODO Group. TODO (talk openly, develop openly) is a group of organizations who collaborate on leading practices for Open Source Program Offices (OSPOs). Joining the TODO group will allow us to learn from and collaborate on open source tooling and processes with other organizations and companies. Coupled with informal ambassadorships we're putting together to stay connected with other OSPOs both in financial services and in other industries, the TODO group will provide us a way to learn from what others have put in place to support their internal and external developer communities. It will give us a forum to see how other companies differentiate between contributions done by engineers on behalf of their employer and the side projects many developers are involved with in their free time and which are themselves often a source of new learning and inspiration. We expect the TODO Group to be a forum through which we can share operational tips and tricks around topics such as Contributor License Agreement management. We are eager to hear what organizations are doing to ensure that open source effectively promotes diversity and inclusion, as well as how OSPOs work collaboratively with computer science education initiatives that support K-12, higher education, and continuing/adult education. The TODO Group will also provide another channel for us to share and amplify projects we care about, both those we've contributed, as well as those to which we contribute or use in our Software Bill of Materials (SBOM), and also serve as a venue through which to hear about interesting projects other members of TODO are working on.

Though we have a decade of open source history behind us, we know that we are just beginning our journey. We still have much to learn from the community and other organizations who have pursued an open source strategy. We are looking forward to all the things we can build together!


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