Software Freedom Conservancy

Conservancy and Bro Announce End to Bro's Member Project Status

by Conservancy + Bro LT on June 4, 2018

Software Freedom Conservancy, a charity that provides a home to free and open source software projects, and the Bro Leadership Team announce that the Bro Project, an open source network traffic analysis framework, will end its status as a Conservancy member project.

During its time with Conservancy the Bro project successfully raised funds and spent them effectively to support the community. For example, Conservancy helped Bro manage a substantial MOSS grant, which created an ecosystem for Bro community contributions through the new Bro package manager & repository. Conservancy also supported three conferences as well as smaller workshops, helped acquire trademarks for the project, and assisted in many other ways. In recognition of all of this work, the Bro Leadership Team is donating $10,000 to the Conservancy’s general fund to aid them in their ongoing efforts to promote and support software freedom and provide a home to other member projects.

The mutual decision for Bro to leave Conservancy is a result of the changing nature of Bro’s community of core contributors, and the diminished fit between the rapidly growing project and Conservancy’s charitable goals and corresponding services. Conservancy will assist Bro moving back to the International Computer Science Institute (ICSI)—the project’s previous home for more than a decade.

When the Bro project first joined Conservancy more than three years ago, the project was primarily a collaboration between two different academic institutions: ICSI and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). At that time, Bro’s development was funded mostly through substantial awards by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), who set out to advance Bro into a powerful security tool for the nation’s education environments and scientific institutions.

Today, the Bro community looks different. With the NSF funding winding down, the team at the NCSA that heavily contributed to Bro for nearly a decade has significantly reduced their work on the project. Most of the core team of Bro is now affiliated with Corelight, placing the company at the center of Bro’s future development—which mismatches Conservancy’s charitable mission. While Bro’s strong footing in the academic community remains, the Bro user community overall has expanded from the public sector to the private sector. This shift has also been reflected in Bro conference attendance. These successes and rapid changes have led to an evolution of the project such that its trajectory is less of an apt match to Conservancy’s goals and services.

Going forward, ICSI will once again provide the Bro Leadership Team with asset and financial management as the project moves into a new phase of its life cycle. The Bro Leadership Team will continue to steer the project’s overall direction as an independent entity working in the best interest of Bro’s large and diverse open-source community, and Conservancy is fully committed to helping Bro transition smoothly to its new home.

Tags: conservancy, Member Projects

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