On 12/19/06, Bruce Momjian <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
This actually brings up an important distinction.  Joshua is saying that
the community is painted as "god" in the article, and I agree there is a
basis for that, but I don't think you can consider the community and
company as equals either.

Of course, this seems only true to PostgreSQL, FreeBSD, and very few
others... not the other 99% of open source communities which are open
sourced around a commercial product or consist of a handful of people.
The title of the document is generalized to "Open Source
Communities", and most of the items here just don't represent the
majority of open source communities whether we'd like it to or not.

if the company dies, the community keeps going (as it did after Great
Bridge, without a hickup), but if the community dies, the company dies

In my opinion, if a PostgreSQL company dies, there will be a
ripple-effect felt in the community depending on the size of the
company, development/support sponsored, monetary contribution, etc.
If a company buys up (or buys off) the experienced major developers
for an open source project, it could easily spell disaster for the

However, in regard to a dying community killing a company, I disagree
completely.  Commercial software companies most certainly do not rely
on outside contribution to survive.  And, like it or not, any company
could run with PostgreSQL as a normal software company exactly the
same way as they can with code they wrote from scratch.  Many open
source people forget there is a commercial software industry that not
only predates them, but will most likely continue on far into the

Also, the community is developing the software at a rate that
almost no other company can match, so again the company is kind of in
toe if they are working with the community process.

Again, this thinking may apply only to a few projects with a
PostgreSQL-like model.  The reference to, "the community" seems
directly linked to PostgreSQL.  I can name many communities that could
never compete on a development rate with their commercial

Commercial companies (100+ names left out) can develop way more
features than most open source communities in the same span of time or
faster.  And, going back to the article being open-source in general,
most other open source communities don't actually contribute a ton of
code back to the project's parent software base; certainly not more
than the company writes itself.

As this document is supposed to be factual, I'd really like not to get
into a war over lines-of-code development rates vs. bugs, quality (or
lack thereof), etc.  The *fact* is, some commercial software companies
could easily churn out more, better quality code, if they chose to
hire the right people and put enough money and thought into it.

I do think I need to add a more generous outreach to companies in the
article, explaining how valuable they are to the community, so let me
work on that and I will post when I have an update.

The title of the document, "How Companies Can Effectively Contribute
To Open Source Communities" doesn't seem to fit the content.  I would
consider something more along the lines of, "Enterprise Open Source:
Effectively Contributing Commercial Support to Open Source
Communities", or, "What to Expect when Contributing to Open Source
Projects".  More specifically, I'd restrict the document to PostgreSQL
because it really doesn't represent the majority of open source
software communities which tend to be commercially-driven.

If this document is meant to help companies help open source and/or
PostgreSQL, I think that's a good idea.  This document doesn't seem to
be written in the way a company, looking to help fund or contribute to
an open source project, would respond favorably to.  It seems more or
less from a community view as to, "if you want to help us, this is
what we expect from you"; which may be the desired intent.?.

I read it over twice and that was my impression.  While I'm a big fan
of open source, prefer it to *most* commercial software, and think
it's a great thing all around, I'm a realist and am not going to turn
a blind eye to the enormously successful and profitable arena of
commercial software.

You and I have discussed these items before privately and, while we
always seem to disagree, I just figured I'd post them (for better or
worse) on-list.  For both sides of the discussion, I'm sure there are
others who think the same thing but remain silent :)

Jonah H. Harris, Software Architect | phone: 732.331.1324
EnterpriseDB Corporation            | fax: 732.331.1301
33 Wood Ave S, 3rd Floor            | [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Iselin, New Jersey 08830            | http://www.enterprisedb.com/

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