The first step in engaging with any open source initiative, whether it's a small project or a large Foundation, is to evaluate the work that the initiative has produced and the teams behind that work. For FINOS specifically, this is best achieved by identifying the Projects, Special Interest Groups (SIGs) or Standards that are of interest to you, and then zeroing in how to engage with the activities that most closely align to your efforts, for a more detailed functional and technical assessment.
If you've identified an open source component or open standard that you'd like to use in your own work, please do so! All Foundation-hosted artifacts are published under commercially-friendly, liberal open licenses (for more information, see info box at right), and this generally means that you will be able to use the component or standard without any legal encumbrances.
From a technical perspective, the means by which a particular asset is consumed will vary from Project to Project
...a Project's Software
Projects that are in Released status are required to publish releases but the specifics are left to the Project in question. Libraries will typically be published to the appropriate open source repository manager (Maven Central, NuGet, npm, PyPi, Clojars, and the like) while binary utilities may be made available via Github's releases mechanism on the project's own GitHub page itself, or (less frequently) via one or more operating system package managers (yum, apt, homebrew, etc.). The best way to determine how to consume a Project's releases is to refer to that Project's documentation.
..a Project's Standard
Projects generally publish their standards documents as PDFs in their Github organization (e.g. github.org/finos, github.com/fdc3, etc.). From the Project Landscape or our GitHub repo you should be able to access the Project directly, and from there access all of their work product.
Navigating the Foundation's Activities
The Foundation's Project catalog is a useful tool for zeroing in on Projects of interest, as it provides a comprehensive list of all of the Projects hosted by the Foundation broken down into categories.
We encourage a thoughtful assessment of not only value and fit for purpose, but also the maturity of both the technology and the team that produced it - this is often a good sign of whether a given open source component has momentum and longevity, and what level of technical risk might be assumed when building on top of such a solution.
The Foundation provides a number of tools to help the community in these assessments, particularly:
The Project Lifecyclewhich provides a single overall measure of the maturity of the work products produced by each Project
The Metrics Dashboard: provides detailed analytics on the activity of each of the Project hosted by the Foundation.
Once you've identified suitable componentry we encourage you to consume it in your own software development efforts!
As you consume the Foundation's projects, it's natural to want to take a more active role in the development of that intellectual property. As an open community, we encourage you to participate in any of the Projects or Working Groups whose work you've consumed!