The former Gephi NGO is ready to launch the Gephi Consortium, a legal entity created to ensure future developments of Gephi by collecting funds and in-kind contributions to the members. It is a not-for-profit corporation governed by the French law of July 1st, 1901, equivalent of the United States 501(c)(3) organization. It aims to join the efforts of industrials, laboratories and civil society to pursue the goals fixed on the Gephi Manifesto. We plan to officially launch it on October 1st, 2010.
Gephi Software key figures
- Launched in 2008
- Development cost evaluated at 2M$ with COCOMO
- 150,000 lines of code
- 20 contributors in 8 different countries, translated in English, French and Spanish
- 33,000 software downloads
- 600,000 pages viewed/year on gephi.org (estimation 2010)
Why a Consortium?
What have research laboratories, big data companies and human societies in common? The recurrent need to map and understand complex phenomenons, revealing patterns and trends in relational data. The knowledge discovery process faces now with the “data deluge” problem provocatively emphasized by Chris Anderson on Wired Magazine… and everyone is becoming concerned by mining data/information from the flow.
Most of the data can be expressed as networks: transportations routes, power grids, emails, food webs, interlocking directorates or the relations between scientific papers are just a part of their applications.
The Gephi project aims to tackle this underlying complexity by giving the power to visualize, filter and manipulate every kind of networks in real time. A generic infrastructure and long-term vision are the keys to overcome these challenges.
Since we started in 2008 in France, many individuals, students and companies already downloaded and tried Gephi. Sign of good health, we federate engineers and reseach scientists from many different countries.
But the project needs fundings and leadership to comply with these plans. This is the purpose of the Gephi Consortium.
A long-term mission
The Consortium makes an R&D effort to build generic and reusable parts of Gephi, improve a competitive technology at low cost, and create standards to ensure interoperability.
It provides core services to the Gephi community, support the development of the Gephi Open Source framework, and help other projects like the GEXF universe (format specifications, libraries and Flex applications) and a soon-to-be graph-stream format. Real-life meetings and retreats are also on the list.
We act as a central point to coordinate the worldwide distributed development, promote it and legally protect it.
These goals are only reachable with the financial and in-kind support of the community. The founding members include INIST-CNRS, Linkfluence SAS and WebAtlas NGO. They have been selected for their past investments to support Gephi at the early stages. Other organizations are already eager to join like SciencePo Paris and the TIC-Migrations research program, and more currently in discussion. A rapid growth is expected as the consortium is a structural solution to the community’s need ( see for instance this comment on Christian Tominski’s review ).
The ecosystem we set up is made for the benefit of the whole community. The governance is held by a Board of Directors electing the Management Office every three years. The consortium can only receive funding from grants, donations and membership fees to ensure the respect of antitrust laws. Contracts are then held by members on their sole commitment, out of the consortium’s responsibility scope.
We expect this way to generate opportunities for companies to build by-products and services, Gephi developers to get hired for their recognized skills, analysts to improve their insights as long as our technology evolves, and academics to use a robust infrastructure for visualization and network science research for free.
About the legals, Gephi is distributed under the GNU AGPL license. The obligation for the contributors to sign a Contributor License Agreements (CLA) certifies the ability for the Consortium to protect the ecosystem.
So why joining us?
Academics: We provide an infrastructure for Visualization and Network Science research. Use our technology as a platform for implementing new research ideas in a very short time, focus on your novelty, and get feedback from the community.
Corporates: We propose legal solutions to integrate Gephi in your value chain. Use it as a module in final products or in R&D departments. If you can’t use an Open Source software for any reason, you may get a dual license on demand to use Gephi like any proprietary software.
Individuals: We organize the community in a transparent manner, provide online tools and build a knowledge base for the benefit of everyone.
In a nutshell, key benefits are:
- Leadership and strategic directions taken according to the members’ common needs
- Personalized business made possible
- Address book, connection with skilled developers and talented researchers, open innovation
- Distributed assistance on Gephi technology, i.e. understand how to extend or reuse Gephi to get things done
- Advices in software engineering and graph visualization in general
- Legal guidance in Open Source / Free Software licensing
We focus on the specifications and development of the Gephi Open Source core. This R&D effort to build generic and reusable parts is only made possible by the collaboration of multiple companies, research laboratories and organizations.