Brussels / 2 & 3 February 2019


Back From the Dead

Resurrecting a national FOSS organization

"Hamakor" is a non-profit that was founded in 2003 as the umbrella organization of the Israeli Free and Open Source Software community. It organized multiple events, led various public campaigns and even took part in defining some local standards. But over the years, many of the early members have moved on and the activities slowly dwindled. By 2014, all that remained was several old-timers debating over a mailing list and a yearly gathering that was becoming difficult to organize. There were barely enough volunteers left to fill the legal requirements for running a non-profit.

Ironically, just as Open Source was becoming popular, the organization was fighting for its life. An emergency general assembly was called to discuss the possibility of disbanding the organization. With a narrow margin of 4:2, the members decided to continue operating. From that point, the organization started on a path of growing its activities and working on its rejuvenation, attracting new members and adapting to the current trends in the FOSS world.

In 2018, Hamakor provided the platform for organizing multiple conferences, held regular monthly open source hack nights, and got to the point of working towards hiring it's first paid employee.

We will discuss what worked, what didn't work, the lessons learned, what challenges we faced along the way and what are the challenges ahead as we continue to grow.

While the talk is a case study of one organization, much of the content will be relevant to other mature organizations facing similar situations, and to younger organizations that wish to avoid making into the same mistakes we made.


Photo of Tomer Brisker Tomer Brisker