On Friday, November 30, 2001, at 04:18  AM, Lennart Regebro wrote:

> What I do agree on is that Zope corp not always seem to *listen* to the
> community. It is hard to contribute to Zope, and it feels to me 
> that you
> have to fight to make Zope Corp to things the right way, even when 
> you in
> fact already have done the work for them. I don't know why that 
> is, or if it
> is possible to change that. I suspect they simply have far too 
> much to do...
> :-)

The right way?  Who is the judge of that?  What is the right way?   
To compete more with J2EE?  To be more like PHP?  To dump ZODB in 
favor of MySQL?  Some people are of the opinion that any of these 
may be "the right way", but that doesn't necessarily mean that they 
fit with the real direction that Zope Corp wishes to point the 
architecture in.

Supporting a community of thousands and thousands for free is very 
hard work.  Zope Corp is still a small company -- if every 
developer there could actively participate with the community the 
way some people prescribe, it might be enough to appease most 
peoples concerns.  But then they're not working on projects that 
bring in enough money to stay afloat.  And if they can't stay 
afloat, then Zope loses.  Granted, being Open Source, Zope could 
very well continue to be an active project, but losing Zope corp 
would be a significant stepback as new leaders and directions have 
to be found from the people in the community - who may very well 
find that it truely does cost a lot to give software away for free 
and THEN have to support it for free.  It's hard to appreciate just 
how tough that can be.

> The best community I have seen is for the Clavia Nord Modular 
> synthesizer.
> Clavia contributes abolsutely NOTHING to that community. They do, 
> however,
> listen to it, and implement several of the features that are most 
> requested
> in that community. And that is not an open source project, so the 
> community
> can't contribute anything else than ideas.

And, everyone in that community has somehow put money in Clavia's 
coffers.  The Micro Modular lists for around $600-$800 USD, right?  
Economically, it's just easier to support a community that has 
funded you with cash (although I don't know what Clavia's margins 
on their hardware is - it's not like software which can be easily 
reproduced for a fraction of its street cost).  Clavia probably 
realizes that by listening to the community, they'll make those 
users happier, which will lead to increased word-of-mouth 
advertising for them and bring more happy buyers into the fold.  
And that money comes back to Clavia.

However, anything I do in Zope now that I've left the company 
(which I did purely for personal reasons - I loved working there 
but had been away from family and friends for long enough) probably 
won't bring them any more money.  I can evangelize it all I want, 
but I'm trying to get clients for my own company because I need to 
scrape together enough cash to stay on the slopes all winter.  I 
don't sell a Zope based solution and then send a portion of that to 
Zope Corp for use of their product.  I give back when I can in the 
same way many people do - by releasing new Products for Zope.  But 
I'm also - possibly - working on a commercial application for it.  
And again - aside from a microscopic potential increase in Zope's 
market share, does Zope Corp get anything out of that?  Do they get 
any money for answering questions I have on the mailing lists, or 
responding to Tracker/Collector issues I submit?

The economics of being an Open Source company are still not very 
well understood, and I think ZC are doing better than many similar 
companies that open source a limited version of their flagship 
software and then build and sell commercial versions on top of that 
(one of the funniest postcards I ever got was from Enhydra - "A Web 
Application server for $99?  That's the power of Open Source!")  
Where's the $99 version of Zope?  The $499?  The $1499?  The 
$25999?  Zope Corp hasn't pulled that card out like many other 
vendors have.  There are actually many pieces of Zope that were 
initially commercial add-ons (or intended to be) that are now all 
open source.

Now, with the understanding that I no longer speak for ZC, I will 
apologize _a little bit_ for not being an active "member of the 
community".  But when deadlines are setting in and you've got 
customers on the phone, having the email bell go off every three 
minutes with seven new messages from four different lists is not 
always a welcome distraction. Yeesh! - I've been in for two and a 
half hours here today already and have 84 messages still to scan 
through, and my task list hasn't even been touched yet.  And I 
don't even have any real obligation to go through those messages.

And while I recognize the complaints and peoples rights to say 
them, don't be to hasty to judge against Zope Corp.  The people 
there are working very hard and have to deal with many of the same 
software shortcomings that may exist as much as any of us in the 
community.  Give them some credit for the great work that they do.  
They've given up more for the cause of keeping Zope Open Source 
than most people will ever truely realize.  And, after I'm done 
dealing with my current situation, I'd be willing to head back east 
for them again if they'll have me.  :)

Jeffrey P Shell, [EMAIL PROTECTED]

Zope-Dev maillist  -  [EMAIL PROTECTED]
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