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From Michael Wechner <>
Subject Re: OSS rant (was: Re: XXE editor support for Forrest (Fw: Re: forrest and xml catalogs))
Date Tue, 26 Nov 2002 23:25:45 GMT
Gianugo Rabellino wrote:
> Steven Noels wrote:
>> Nicola Ken Barozzi wrote:
>> > BTW, Wyona seems to be talking about getting off from the OS
>> > experience for now, since they found it unproductive :-(

Please don't worry. The Wyona project will never become closed source,
even if Wyona Inc. will go broke, because the Wyona project is owned by
the non-profit organization, which is legally based in 
Switzerland and has very similar bylaws as the Apache Software 
Foundation. The bylaws explicitely state that the Wyona project resp. 
its software shall remain Open Source forever or in the case of 
dissolving, the software shall be donated to another Open 
Source project such as for instance Apache (if they actually want it;-). 
The organization has no legal connection to Wyona Inc.

I have to admit, that we did/are-doing a bad "marketing job" on this, 
because people seem to think that the project is owned by Wyona Inc.

I hope this will all resolve very clearly in the very near future.

>> Ditto for Xopus.

That seems to be true, at least for the moment. Although the "old" 
versions until are of course still Open Source under the Apache 
license. But don't give up to soon on them.

> <rant off-topic="true">
> I'm not surprised. When will those companies learn?

I think we have learned a lot (and Q42 as well) ;-)

  There is absolutely
> no way and no reason for such companies to prosper with a such blind 
> Open Source strategy. What is the point in making a product Open Source 
> if there is no community around it? 

Building a community takes a long time (of course it depends on the 
"product" and the "marketing strategy"). Wyona started to build a 
community one year ago and the community is continously growing and 
people are really becoming active. How old is Apache? How long did it 
take for Cocoon2 to get its first release out?

Concerning the reason of why? In my personal case it's love, 
peace,respect and fun (well, you name it). The company is just a mean
to an end. I don't want somebody watching over my shoulder and checking
if I am doing Open Source or not. Of course we have to be profitable and 
we shouldn't be naiv on this, but it works and we are writing black figures.

You just end up spending lots of
> money/funds on developers while giving away your results for nothing 
> (possibly to no one or close to).
> The whole point in Open Source (forget about the big guys who might 
> leverage marketing visibility and similar crap) is about collaboration 
> and community. We work together to produce good software on which we all 
> make a living by selling it as a product (quite lame but anyway...) or 
> as a set of services/consultancies. But the real point is "together": my 
> company, your company, her company, not just me. Open Source communities 
> are a precious resource when tought as a "shared" R&D department, for 
> companies that otherwise wouldn't be able to afford it: my company 
> provides a couple of developers and gets the benefit of a lab of 50 
> people or so, we join a common effort with a relatively small amount of 
> resources and we all benefit from that. No small or mid-size company in 
> the world would have been able to put together software like the one 
> hosted by the ASF: think about Cocoon, where S&N, Otego, Outerthought, 
> Anyware and many others, together with individuals, enthousiasts and 
> some big company were able to put together a great product which turns 
> out to be a great asset for their business.

I totally agree. That's why we have founded OSCOM one year ago to
connect people from various Content Management Communities. At our last
conference at Berkeley Greg Stein was wearing a T-Shirt saying: "Your 
Open Source project sucks". My next T-Shirt will be saying 
"Collaboration sucks" ;-)

> In the OSS world, talking about companies and not about individuals, 
> there is no room (again, big guys aside) for one-man shows: a single 
> company is unable to sustain itself on a single, self promoted and self 
> developed OSS, it just doesn't make sense. So Wyona, Q42 and many others 
> are doomed unless they make it in broadening the number of developers by 
> having an heterogeneous community around them. And they won't have it 
> unless it made clear that their effort will turn into a community effort 
> owned by no one but the community: I, as a developer, perfectly see a 
> reason on working on org.apache.*, much less on com.somecompany.*.

Please see the first paragraph above ;-)

But what about Zope? From what I know: is owned
by Zope Inc.and I think there is quite some venture capital behind them!
And they are very popular (at least within the Python community)!
Well, they have a very smart marketing strategy and business model, such
as for instance Python is Zope and Zope is Python. And who is working at 
Zope Inc.?

But is that bad?

Well, I don't know, at least I am not sure yet.

> What would happen if Wyona chooses to step right into the Cocoon 
> community donating their code (provided, of course, that we are talking 
> about quality code that meets the interests of the community and that 
> the intention is not purely to dump stuff) and making it a core part of 
> a Cocoon based CMS? I would jump right away on that train, trying to 
> help as much as I can, and so would others (and so actually *did* others 
> with the S&N portal stuff). Most probably we would end up in a short 
> timeframe with a great CMS, done by several developers around the world, 
> tested, interoperable, well documented (oh well... maybe not *that* well 
> after all... :-)), with a great brand on it such as the Apache one, on 
> which many OSS companies, including Wyona would have been able to make 
> good money. We all win.

I agree, but I am not the only one to decide.

> By joining (or creating, but it much more difficult) an healtful OSS 
> community you get great code, a good number of developers and marketing 
> for free (or almost). With one-man shows you're alone in the dark: good 
> luck, but please don't blame Open Source if you fail.

No, I won't blame Open Source, because I can't sue anyone ;-)

Please, don't get me wrong, I really appreciate this discussion and hope 
that things are becoming really "collaborative" :-)

All the best


> </rant>
> Ciao,

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