In an attempt to articulate the misgivings of the current politics on the vchkpw mailing list, Inter7 has prepared the following issues for your consideration:
1. "Since moving the projects to SourceForge, we've kept up with submitted patches and bug reports. I feel that making the move was beneficial to the projects themselves and the people that use them," Tom Collins.
The inherently ideal circumstances of free and open source software is community development, testing, and support. Inter7 agrees that SourceForge is a recommended outlet to foster this ideal.
2. "I'm certainly not doing this to be malicious or to hurt Ken and Inter7," Tom Collins.
This is irrelevant and to mention so implies that your intentions may be potentially negative and hostile to community development.
3. "Ken Jones hasn't contributed to vpopmail and qmailadmin developmeny since March. We've had 12 qmailadmin releases and 7 vpopmail releases since then. Managing the projects on SourceForge keeps everything out in the open, and allows anyone to contribute," Tom Collins.
For seven years, Inter7 has been the original and primary development source for vpopmail, qmailadmin, vQadmin, eps, vQregister, DNSadmin, etc. The lack of "everything out in the open" is obvious when the intent of Tom Collins is to block the industry standard leader's contributions.
4. "Ken hasn't stated why he wants to be an owner of the project," Tom Collins.
Because he is. And without the support and encouragement of the entire community none of this software would be where it is today. Having set the standards and bench marks of performance, reliability, and backwards compatibility for vpopmail and related software, it is imperative to the Qmail community to have the assurance of Inter7 supported software development. Without public ownership of the vpopmail development on SourceForge, this is impossible and brings up many of the concerns that followed this email...
5. "Counterquestion: Why do you [Tom Collins] refuse to add him [Ken Jones]?" /Anders
Let us release our infantile dirt and get over our fragile geek egos. The ideologies of free and open source software will crumble under this nonsense. It is the acts of few like Tom Collins that remind big brother corporations like Microsoft how to insult the open source community. As a community, we must join together to support and continue development of free and open source software under the guidelines of mutually beneficial and reliable development standards.
6. Cracking industry standards and disregarding the methodologies that create superior software because of the inherent nature of open source development can have devastating results in the pursuance of its use. If we cannot create an environment of confidence, our politics will ruin future development.
In support of this point:
"While updates from Inter7 were sparse, I definitely felt comfortable running the current devel version." [snip] "I find it somewhat unprofessional to fork the project using the same names at sourceforge, and hijack the mailing lists in an effort to steer everyone towards your fork. ," Rick.
7. " (i) Perhaps it'd be valid for the vpopmail community to ask Ken why he hasn't been active in contributing, hasn't openly objected to any of the sucession of patches and release, and now suddenly is muddying the waters with this issue. (ii) When a projects developement seems to die out, a new person should be able to pickup the slack and keep things moving. (iii) If Ken has an issue with that, it'd probably behoove him to let us know why he waited, and where he'd see things going from now," Nick Harring.
i. Inter7 has been in rapid development of several free and open source development projects including the rapid demand for commercial support since the downturn in the economy has popularized Nix based operating systems. The community gains from this development and market creation by being able to be consultants themselves and by knowing that thousands of companies across the globe are hammering away at the very software we need to deem stable.
While that is, in a sense, an answer to the question I posed, it doesn't explain why there has been zero developement from Inter7, specifically from Ken Jones, for some period of time now. There are features in the 5.3 series of vpopmail releases that I would like to use, however I cannot in good conscience run a test release of the software in a large production environment. Its not good practice as a professional, and its not good practice to service my customers. The Inter7 website even says *not* to run this code in production. So, if developement appears to be making zero progress towards a stable release, and your email itself says that you're busy doing work on other projects (which is all that I can interpret from what you said), then what is the community who uses this stuff professional to do but continue developement work on our own (I say our even though I don't actually contribute any code)?
ii. It is probably important to Tom Collins that you not think any of this software has "died" out. Perhaps you have only recently started using vpopmail and that is why your opinion lacks in factual substance. Regardless, it would be a far cry to imply publicly, in particular this list, that vpopmail has died out without explicitly detailing your comments as a query. It is comments like this that will spread unfounded fear among newbies researching Qmail solutions.
Perhaps I haven't only recently started using vpopmail, and perhaps I've not been doing illicit substances, but instead have noticed that there hasn't been an Inter7, or Ken Jones, blessed release of vpopmail in 8.5 months (5.3.16 is the last that I can that is "official" since it is what the http://inter7.com/vpopmail.html page says). If this were a stable release, then I'd say sure, your opinion that nothing died out has a lot of merit. There hasn't been a qmail release in about 4 years, but thats because qmail hasn't got any bugs that people have found and reported to DJB. That's not dead, that's stable. By all appearances, vpopmail was dead.
As for the second half of your comment, reread my email. Notice that it wasn't a public statement of anything being in any state, other than the impending "fork" of vpopmail. I was detailing my perspective on the situation, and trying to elicit a response from inter7 as to why the appearance was that of rigor mortis. If you feel that I have implied publicly that developement was dead, I hadn't before but I'm forced to now. It is not my intent to spread fear amongst newbies, and far from it as I think vpopmail is an excellent solution. I've recommended it to people, based purely on my experience with the 5.2.x series and my experiences on this list.
iii. Inter7 has made constant headway in the development of free and open source email software for nearly seven years. [Ken Jones has been writing open source software for 19 years.] The obvious ramifications of hosting mailing lists, download portals, and IRC channels means that Inter7 and Ken Jones have never for a single moment stopped supporting community development.
I'm grateful for the mailing list, indifferent to the irc channel, and grateful for the download portals. I think its tremendous that Inter7 did all of that work, and made such substantial contributions to a group of excellent open source packages. That doesn't really relate in any way to anything I said though. It would even be perfectly acceptable for Inter7 to say that vpopmail is no longer on their list of priorities, and that they (or just Ken in particular) are moving on to more interesting, newer things and turn vpopmail over to the community that has been established around it. Or, it would also be great if developement were to pick up again, and for Ken to go over the releases that have been made without him, and for him to package up a new "official" vpopmail that incorporates all of the excellent work of Tom and the others and lead the way with new developement. If that means asking tom to kill the existing sourceforge infrastructure and for it to be rebuilt in the fashion Ken/Inter7 would like, so be it. I'd support that 100%. But I'd definitely want that to come with a commitment to accepting new patches and developing towards a real, stable 5.4 release.
8. "... I need to be able to trust the leader of the fork to act in the best interests of the user base, in terms of stability, new features, and an open developement model. Right now that would tend to be Tom, but Ken has only just begun the dialogue, so many he'll be able to settle all of this with what he has to say," Nick Harring.
Inter7 embraces the communal development of all free and open source software. We only ask that Tom join in these efforts.
And that's all I did. I asked everybody to speak openly, honestly and productively. I definitely think that this letter is a great start, despite my vigorous disagreement with certain portions herein.
9. "but if i had my druthers, i'd like to see tom and ken bury the hatchet and work cooperatively. that implies compromise from both towards a mutually agreeable middle ground," Paul Theodoropoulos.
Inter7 remains supportive of all efforts to enhance the development process. However, we cannot publicly back the development efforts of Tom Collins' work without administrative privileges on SourceForge. It is a time to call together everyone on this list to insist that Tom Collins add Ken Jones or another representative from Inter7. We are all a part of the community development process. Without cohesion, Tom's efforts may be in vain. Tom has great ideas. Tom is putting the efforts into managing the SourceForge development. And if these efforts can enhance and support our open source community, we will show our support.
Tom, give us something we can support. Give our community the name backing it needs to feel confident using the SourceForge new versions.
Thank you for your time.
Catherine Kouzmanoff / CFO ................................. Inter7 Internet Technologies, Inc 866.528.3530 toll free 847.492.0470 int'l www.inter7.com