Sunday, June 08, 2008

OpenBD, The Comminity and How I See it

This is a direct response to Andy Powell's blog entry but serves as a general statement of my opinions on the matter as well. I understand my comments might be perceived differently due to the fact that I am on the Steering Committee and I appreciate that but I hope folks can look past that for a second and read my rather long but thought out commentary. Besides these comments are mine and certainly do not reflect that of what others on the Steering Committee think.

OpenBD has been loosing momentum since the day it was announced w/ speculation and bad blood strewn about. It really sucks Vince is the way he is and that OpenBD suffers from the New Altanta stigma. The migration stuff is a gimmik, a shitty one but a gimmik non the less, to sell licenses. Alan is not part of New Atlanta and licenses BlueDragon to NA. If Vince was truly converting and not selling BD licenses wouldn't you think Alan would be a bit pissed off ? After all if Vince is converting and not selling licenses Alan is not making as much money. Is Vince eating away at Adobe's license sales? Probably not much he's claimed to be focusing on folks still on cf5 that have "abandoned the platform." Am I just being fed a spoonful of crap or the truth I don't know. I tend to believe him, maybe because I want to but also because I work for a large enterprise that nearly signed a deal with New Altanta a few years back and had nearly abandoned the platform (we were still on 5 at the time) and I know plenty other large companies in the same boat.

There have been some bad misconceptions and double standards applied the OpenBD project to get OpenBD to where it is. For example Adam Lehman says OpenBD only served to eat away at Adobe's customer base. Folks agreed and disliked OpenBD claiming OpenBD does not want to grow the community it simply wants to cannibalize it. While I never thought this was true based on the NA stigma I can understand where that was coming from. Then Alan is shone in a light by Sean (slightly out of context but a fair depiction of the conversation really) that says Alan doesn't care about the CF community and wants to focus on the Java community. All of the sudden OpenBD is looked upon negatively b/c it doesn't care about the community. Seems like a hard place to win honestly. If OpenBD focuses on the community its cannibalism if OpenBD doesn't focus on the community it doesn't care about the community and is against it.

As for Railo being more open, I vow right now to each and everyone that reads my blog and/or comments on the various boards I will be open and honest about what OpenBD is doing and make sure it is communicated. I'll also do my best to help folks differentiate between my own words and those that are coming from the steering committee. I have had an open dialog with Adam Lehman on email in the past and I plan to continue to seek his honest feed back in private as long as he is willing to listen. I'm also always willing to listen to anyone in the community I don't care if you are a high profile person like Joe or Sean or a lurker that has never spoken out before like Chris Weller. If you have an opinion and want to share it I am listening.

What I think needs to happen. I think Vince needs to donate NA's Admin to the project as a sign of good will. I also think the comunity needs to realize that Alan's target is not the CF community and never was, that is why folks like Sean, Matt and Mark were on the committee to ensure the community was fairly represented. I think Adobe should continue being Adobe selling an awesome product and evangelizing ColdFusion. Finally I think OpenBD needs to refine the license, I'd love to see Alan step up to the plate and release under LGPL as well. Will that happen? Not Likely, but a Classpath exception would be a step in the right direction. OpenBD is not New Atlanta and I hope New Altanta drops BlueDragon JEE all together and only focuses on selling support for OpenBD.

In an effort to be completely honest, had I know Railo was going open source I may have stayed out of Open BlueDragon. I didn't know and now I made a commitment. My commitment was not only to OpenBD but to the community to make sure we were represented appropriately. I've listened so far and brought up points like better licensing and concerns about perception. Posts like Andy's are rough, they make me doubt if I am doing the right thing but at the end of the day I think I am and I appreciate the open and honest feedback.

Like I said else where OpenBD should succeed or fail on it's technical merits not some emotional attachments. Technically its a good solid engine with plenty of potential and I would hate to see the OS offerings dwindle because some folks can not look past the history of New Atlanta's BlueDragon and look forward to the future of what OpenBD can offer.


Andy Powell said...

What's to say you have to stay on the steering committee? If you're not happy with the direction it's being pushed in by NA and Alan, then resign in protest. They're obviously not going to change their ways, so make a stand for your principles and walk away from OpenBD.

Adam Haskell said...

Ok maybe I was not clear? NA is not pushing in anyway shape or form. The only way NA affects the project is b/c folks, wrongly, associate them with the project. Secondly I have no problems reaching out to other communities I think that is very VERY important. I never meant to sound like I was disappointed with Alan I just know his direction.

Terry Schmitt said...

"wrongly, associate them with the project"??
I've been following the OpenBD project fairly close (I thought) and this is the first that I've heard that New Atlanta is not driving the project. That explains the lame excuses for NA to not include the admin.
I was always under the impression that BlueDragon WAS New Atlanta. They brand it, they sell it...

Chris Weller said...

Wow, don't I feel special for making your blog. I think the most important thing to realize is that OBD's niche is obviously open source for small budget or cost efficient companies. If enough people get involved and donate code, the technology will "sell" the product. I think open source has a viable market niche, and people should focus on developing/maturing the product since the open source market will always have a pull rather than speculating about why people are coming and going.

seancorfield said...

@Terry, I think your comment highlights a common misconception. TagServlet wrote the product and New Atlanta license it for sale under the name BlueDragon. TagServlet's code is what is now GPL3 Open Source. The Steering Committee discussed names and seriously considered a couple of options that did not include "BlueDragon" - perhaps, with hindsight, we should have chosen one of those to emphasize the distinction?

I was asking Alan to make a public statement about the separation of New Atlanta and OpenBD and my reason was the (negative) perception from the CF community. It was at that point he said that he didn't really care what the CF community thought about it because the CF community wasn't really the target for OpenBD - it's about bringing in new CFML developers from *outside* the CF community. That's an admirable goal and I wish him luck.

I'm disappointed because I thought that I was supposed to be representing the CF community on the Steering Committee but if Alan doesn't care about those opinions, obviously I couldn't remain on the committee.

I applaud Adam for taking the position he has. I don't have his patience.

Adam Haskell said...

@Chris OMG he talks!!! Everyone, Chris is a developer on Kroger's ColdFusion team he's a youngin' but learning. If he was half as good at programming as he is at Guitar Heroes he would be a guru.

@Sean That's the kindest way of saying, "Adam you are an idiot." I have ever seen from you ;) I am no more patient than you. Its just that I know I very often come off as an ass and as a result I tend to be very forgiving when it comes to impersonal interaction.