Last Friday I made the decision to pull
all my projects from OpenNTF until such a time that they have sorted out
all the issues. I think many people reading the blog entry may have missed
that one little word so here it is highlighted for you.
In the very first comment on my blog
Nathan T. Freeman asks ‘What Would Work Better for you?’ So here is my
Speak With One Voice.
OpenNTF needs to elect a communications
officer. This one person should be responsible for all official communications
from OpenNTF, This includes replying to blogs, tweets, emails etc. Minutes
after posting that I was pulling my projects I had 3 Instant messages on
my screen from different people involved in OpenNTF all asking why I did
what I did and that I shouldn’t be encouraging others to do the same. The
proper response to this situation would have been a single reply saying
that they regret my decision and that they hope they can resolve some of
the factors that lead to my decision and that they hope to see me back
at some stage in the future. What’s not needed is the multitude of IM’s
, blog comments and even other blog entries on the subject all from different
people involved in the process.
Leave the ego’s at home.
Everybody involved with the reorganization
of OpenNTF seems to be taking things way to personally. If you think you
are being stabbed
in the back or being poked in the eye then you are mistaken.
The problem is with the process and not the people. Maybe speaking with
a single voice would lessen this problem.
Get Rid of The Managed Catalog.
This is probably my biggest issue with
the direction OpenNTF is heading. The Managed Catalog, in my opinion, is
the single worst thing that OpenNTF could do. A special catalog for special
projects that meet the criteria of the steering committee. All other projects
are second class citizens. I honestly do not believe that there is a need
for this. If you look at SourceForge, GitHub or Google Code do you see
special catalog for approved projects, no you don’t. All projects are equal.
All projects clearly mark what license they use, all projects have access
to the same resources.
The idea behind the managed catalog
is that OpenNTF wants to provide businesses a list of ‘quality applications
that have passed IP clearance’. I say that this can still be done using
a single list of projects by using filters. It would be easy, just go to
the ‘projects’ area and select to look at all projects using a permissive
copyleft license, Add a filter for ‘Stable Release’ ( as opposed to beta/test
releases ) and you practically have the same info that you would in the
managed catalog. You could even keep your link on the homepage that automatically
applies the filter.
Don’t Force The Apache License.
You can certainly encourage it but it
should not be forced as the be all and end all of open source licenses.
Do you see SourceForge, Github or Google Code telling anybody what license
they should choose? For some the GNU GPL license is the one they WANT to
use, for others a weaker copyleft license like MPL may make more sense.
Lets not forget that the Apache license is not the only permissive copyleft
license in the open source world either, the BSD license is probably just
as popular. Forcing the Apache license as the only way to get into a special
category of project is just plain wrong and also introduces the concept
of second class projects for anybody not using the Apache License. Of course
a single catalog of projects would also get rid of this problem.
Finish The Website Redesign Quickly.
OpenNTF should never have released a
half-baked, half working website. I understand that the people working
on the website redesign were doing it on their own time but it should never
have been put into production until the ENTIRE site was overhauled and
tested. Most of the people working on the site understand the concept of
a software life cycle but it seems to me that none of their skills in this
area were put into practice. Where was the planning and prototyping? Where
was the user acceptance of these plans? Where was the user testing of the
new site before it was put into production? A lot of the technical issues
would not have existed if OpenNTF had treated this the same way the individuals
treat client projects in their work environments.
Finalize Processes Before Publishing
On May 12th when the OpenNTF Alliance
was announced and the OpenNTF website updated with all the new procedures
and policies it was a sudden and unexpected change. Some of the policies
where you needed to have documents signed by employers were very different
from what was needed before. I understand these policies were put in place
BEFORE the steering committee had any say and that they are now trying
to undo some of the damage by adjusting them so that signed documents are
not always required and that anonymous code submissions can be accepted.
The problem is the damage has already been done. These policies should
have never been published in the first place. The discussions that are
happening now should NOT be about reversing damaging policies but about
creating policies that make sense to everybody.
Transparency only works when it’s
Meeting minutes are a start, lets get
the MP3’s for the meetings up there also, and not just the Steering Committee,
but also the other committees and working groups. Lets not forget the locked
forums, shouldn’t they be open as read only to people not on the committees.
Of course there’s still the question of the private emails and IM’s that
occur between committee members. I guess the process will never be 100%
companies involved in the OpenNTF Alliance yet only two to three people
from two to three companies SEEM to be doing anything. I’m not just talking
about just Steering Committee members, I’m talking about all the people
from the companies in the Alliance. If being part of the alliance means
your company is supposed to help out, provide resources etc then why have
we not heard a peep out of the other companies. Have they forgotten what
they agreed to? How can they be part of the alliance if they are not actively
being involved? Voting Yes or No on a conference call once every few weeks
( when they show up ) just does not cut it. Every company that is
part of the alliance should have as many staff members as possible in the
forums every day, answering question, discussing topics etc.