he Centre for Open Software Innovation (COSI) was established in 2009, as the University of Waikato's leading research centre on computer science theory and practice. It is the purpose of COSI to:

  • Inspire and extend open development practice in computer science;
  • Innovate (open) systems, theories and tools to improve processes and products;
  • Excel at core computer science theory and practice as the foundation for innovation;
  • Be community leaders at the local, national and international levels through effective communication and openness.


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How to start a new project

Do you have an idea for a software project? Do you want to release it as an open source project?

This information will help you make the right decisions regarding license selection, project hosting, etc. Perhaps the most important step is in choosing the right license for your project. There is no silver bullet, as there are many options to choose from. However, knowing what you are trying to achieve with your project will help you make an informed decision.

The success of a project is dependent on its accessibility and availability. You must select an appropriate host to make your project publicly available. Again, it is important that you choose a suitable hosting facility to give your project the public exposure it needs.

But before you start reading below, have a look at the freely available book Open Advice - FOSS: What We Wish We Had Known When We started. The authors of this book are all involved in the software freedom community. Their experiences and advice are worth reading, as they might save you from falling into common pitfalls.

In the sections below you will find links to a variety of resources with more information around open source.

What license should I choose?

It is very important to take some time and think about what you are trying to achieve with your project.

As the Linux.com article on Choosing an open source license points out, the impact on derivative works has to be considered when choosing the license. For example, choosing the GNU General Public License, all derivative work must be GPL as well. A good overview of the options is provided in Appendix A of the paper The Need for Open Source Software in Machine Learning by Sören Sonnenburg et al.

For the impatient, you can use the ChooseALicense.com website (run by GitHub) to quickly determine an appropriate license for your project.

complete list of approved open source licenses is available on the Open Source Initiative website. Wikipedia lists open source licenses as well.

Hosting your project

In order to make your project publicly available, you do not need to pay lots of money, there are plenty of free hosting facilities available.

What hoster you choose in the end, depends on the functionality that you need:

A good overview of what functionality is offered by which hoster, can be found in the Wikipedia article Comparison of open source software hosting facilities.

Submit a project

If you are involved in an open source software project here at the University of Waikato that uses an approved open source license, you can submit the initial project details for review by sending the COSI webmaster an email. Please note, the project submission is not an automated process. A submitted project must be approved first by the COSI webmaster before it can be listed.