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 too.
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 project. 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 future.
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 sponsors/counterparts. 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/ ---------------------------(end of broadcast)--------------------------- TIP 7: You can help support the PostgreSQL project by donating at http://www.postgresql.org/about/donate