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Tom Clegg, 04/09/2013 11:08 AM


Arvados Mission and Principles

Mission

Arvados is dedicated to enabling great medical care by enabling the large-scale analysis of biomedical data.

Free and Open Source Software

We believe our success depends on our software being free and accessible to all.

When we say "free", we refer to the freedoms defined by the Free Software Foundation's article, What is Free Software:

  • The freedom to run the program, for any purpose.
  • The freedom to study how the program works and adapt it to your needs.
  • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help others.
  • The freedom to improve the program and release your improvements to the public, so that everyone benefits.

We also adhere to the 10 core criteria of open source software defined by the Open Source Initiative:

  • Software must be free to redistribute.
  • The program must include source code.
  • The licence must allow people to experiment with and redistribute modifications.
  • Users have a right to know who is responsible for the software they are using.
  • There should be no discrimination against any person or group.
  • The licence must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field.
  • No-one should need to acquire an additional licence to use or redistribute the program.
  • The licence must not be specific to a product.
  • The licence must not restrict other software.
  • The licence must be technology-neutral.

The commitment to free and open software is manifest in how the software is licensed and developed.

Built by an Open Community

Open source software unlocks the potential of community to collaborate and develop in a decentralized way where the collective effort produces something greater than any individual or single company could achieve on their own. This is especially important in healthcare where the innovation has the potential to directly affect the health and well being of billions of people.

The Arvados design process is open and transparent. The project uses best-practices from agile development methodologies. A public backlog represents the work that is planned. There is a mailing list and IRC chat for conversations among developers and contributors, and we plan to hold regular design sessions through Google Hangout. Most decisions are made through a lazy consensus process and all processes are documented.

We maintain an fully public source code repository through the entire development process. Contribution is merit-based and the code review, issues, backlog, and release schedules are all open and transparent.

The Arvados community is organized around six core principles:

  • Open Source - We are committed to developing free and open source software.
  • Elegance - We aim to create software that is well designed, flexible, modular, extensible and easily maintainable. We strive for user experiences that are thoughtful, simple and easy-to-use.
  • Transparency - All discussions and decisions happen in open forums. The community controls the design process. All decisions, processes, and discussions are documented and preserved in the project website.
  • Quality - We strive to create highly-quality code that is reliable, secure, scalable, tested, documented and maintainable. We understand that Arvados powers mission-critical systems.
  • Merit - Technical governance is a meritocracy. Working code wins arguments.
  • Respect - We seek to build a respectful, collaborative community that is enjoyable to participate in and fosters healthy discussion and debate.