Phew, we did it. Today at noon (MEST) we launched Orixo, a consortium of 6 European software companies all active in Open Source projects. Although our companies are quite different, both in size and in served industries, we felt that the Open Source support and services we already provide for our customers could be expanded and enhanced on if we banded together using the methodology of Open Source communities. People from the six companies have known each other for some time now and through the power of Open Source communities we have also become friends.
The story actually starts at last years Cocoon GetTogether - a conference that started out as a small gathering of Apache Cocoon fans but then grew into a 100+ strong, day of presentations and Cocoon chat.
The six companies (from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and UK) now involved in Orixo have already been in contact with each other in the Open Source projects they work in - but had never met until the first face-to-face meeting at the GetTogether in Gent, Belgium. At the conference, the individual companies discovered that their way of thinking about how businesses can both work in Open Source projects and yet still maintain the necessary commercial interests, was shared by the other members. And so the idea was born, that perhaps the Open Source community philosophy could be adapted for a commercial network.
Each of the companies already provides training, support and implementation services to customers who want to use open source solutions such as Cocoon to build their own applications. However, many of the large European companies are multi-national so they are interested in receiving the same type of services in each country they are located.
In addition, the six different companies that make up Orixo work in different industries such as finance, media, telecommunications, aerospace and education. By joining together, the group can provide the industry specific knowledge in addition to the open source specific know how through the network.
At the same time, the goal of Orixo is to maintain the different companies commitment towards the Open Source projects and communities themselves.
Over the past six months, the way towards Orixo became clearer. Discussions on a joint mailing list and using a Wiki as a medium of discussion led to a further meeting in
Ghent where the structure of the consortium was discussed in earnest. Of course the most memorable part of the day was the search for a name that had a nice ring to it, had
something to do with the Web and wouldn’t get us shot for saying it in one of the respective countries. Most of the favorite names were also long gone when it came to domain names. And so the hunt ended when the Japanese word for weaver was chosen and slightly adapted. Orixo was born.
The following weeks saw us digging through stuff like a legal form and deciding what we needed to actually go public. The mailing list we had set up became our communications medium with our notes going on the Wiki. Two weeks ago we began work on the website using CVS to synchronize the content and an irc channel for real-time communication.
This weekend saw us drawing up press releases and casting a last critical eye over our website.
And so, a couple of minutes ago - after a few last minute glitches - the emails went out - announcing to the world that Orixo is in the house.