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Software Businesses

TWiki.net Kicks Out All TWiki Contributors 194

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the what-does-that-mean dept.
David Gerard noted an interesting story going down with a relatively minor project that has interesting implications for any Open Source project. He writes "Ten years ago, Peter Thoeny started the TWiki wiki engine. It attracted many contributors at twiki.org. About a year ago, Thoeny founded the startup twiki.net. On 27th October, twiki.net locked all the other contributors out of twiki.org in an event Thoeny called 'the twiki.org relaunch.' Here's the IRC meeting log. All the other core developers have now moved to a new project, NextWiki. Is it a sensible move for a venture capital firm that depends on a healthy Open Source community to lock it out?"
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TWiki.net Kicks Out All TWiki Contributors

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  • Answer: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ustolemyname (1301665) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @11:16AM (#25555549)
    No.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @11:23AM (#25555679)

      but on the other hand, yes.

      • by MindKata (957167)
        "but on the other hand", as the title says, "Is it a sensible move for a venture capital firm that depends on a healthy Open Source community to lock it out?" ... then this sounds very like playing into the hands of close source software marketing. Implying effectively, Close_Source==safe, Open_Source==unsafe.... But thats just playing to the Microsoft marketing style line. Open source is still open. Plus out of all open source projects, this is a rare event, so its not a reason to be scared off from open s
        • by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @11:58AM (#25556409) Homepage Journal

          Close_Source==Money, Open_Source==!Money

          Fixed it for you. I'm a noob taking a software engineering class at a community college.

          We had a consultant come in for show-and-tell and he made some very good points, but he told us to stay away from open source because(shortened version) if we wanted to be well-known in the open source world then we'd have to slog it out full-time, fighting amongst other egos working for free just trying to get our names known.

          But how is that different from working on proprietary software? Working on proprietary software earns a paycheck.

          Note that the above is not my personal opinion, but after I graduate I won't have any more basements to live in and I will be hungry.

          • by electrofelix (1079387) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @12:15PM (#25556723)
            The majority of the big open source projects are developed in collaboration by companies paying their employees to work on them in order to get more out of the software in their environment. So it suggests that the consultant in question may not be the best person to listen too

            If you plan to try and make a name for yourself in the hope of getting spotted and hired, that's probably a tall order. The rest of us just look for a job that will result in us getting paid to work on open source.

            Of course it also ignores the other benefits to a developer: Gain experience with a particular language, sharpen your coding, prove that you're coding is good enough to be accepted by a project, become familiar with various API's.

            Being able to demonstrate in an interview that you are familiar with the API's, language, coding style, algorithms that are in use in the job that you are applying for should prove invaluable. Too many proprietary companies have a habit of strapping you down with so many NDA's that it's virtually impossible to discuss what you're doing in your current job aside from vague details.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by mr_mischief (456295)

              It is hard for the employee to apply specific knowledge of something like Windows or PhotoShop to another project.

              More importantly it's easy for an OSS programmer to apply what he knows about the Linux kernel from one job to his next job where the Linux kernel is the topic of programing work. It's easy to apply experience programming the GIMP, even exact function names and their implementations, to another job improving the GIMP. It's even easy to take code directly from one of these projects and use it in

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Why would someone take YOU on when they don't know you from Adam?

            If you've had a large role in writing a driver for Exchange working with Evolution, they'll know you're the doberman's doobries.

          • by Foofoobar (318279) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @12:23PM (#25556877)
            Well I don't know of any open source developers who are hungry or live in basements. In fact they are VERY well paid; they work on their open source projects as part of their job (sponsored by their employer) or in their spare time (hobby,cash on the side). As for not making money, it's only when you look at it from a TRADITIONAL model. Every developer can make money if they want once they become a contributor to a project. They can write a book on the project, they can expend the project, they can start a support company for the project, they can do training or installing of the project, etc etc.

            This is why we don't live in basements and are successful. We see more than one answer and more than one way to make money. Tfrue entrepeneurs realize this and don't just sit on their ass and whine about open source tealing their glory; they realize that open source is the new market and adapt to the changing market.

            Perhaps you will realize this when you come out of your parents basement.
            • I would have majored in creative writing in college. If you don't want to make a living by developing software, why limit yourself to writing books on open source applications? That's going to be a low-volume seller.

              In any case, there are a few well-known companies that make money directly from open source software but like diet plans "the results are not typical".

              • by Foofoobar (318279)
                You are assuming that's ones ONLY source of income again which was the original authors incorrect assumption. Open source is often a 'side income' for most where their main job supplies the majority of income and the open source income supplies a tidy side income; the job supports the open source project of course usually but if it doesn't, the LIST of things (publishing, support, installation, training, etc) are all various ways that open source projects make money... no one singular way.

                Again, you have
                • ".. the job supports the open source project of course ..."

                  That was my point - in general it doesn't. In fact, even if it does, you'd better check the terms of your NDA - you might be violating it by creating your own side business based on software you write at work.

                  "Again, you have to think like an entrepeneur as every open source project that wants to make money will be doing."

                  "Thinking like an entrepeneur" doesn't mean scrounging around for a few crumbs without a real business plan.

                  • by Foofoobar (318279)
                    Indeed couldn't agree with you more. But most people make it clear on their resumes that they work on an open source project and thats one of the reasons why people hire them; either because they use the project, because the project enabled them to look at the developers code and get a good idea of their skill or because it shows initiative.

                    Few employers will hire someone working on an open source project without being aware of it unless you start one while on the job and then you do so at your own risk.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Anubis350 (772791)
              This guy isnt lookign to get paid for open source or contribute to cool projects, he's looking to become a rock star and get paid because he made his name, not the guy you really want on an OS project anyway, we already *have* enough egos out there :-p
              • by Foofoobar (318279)
                That's true; couldn't agree more. But I was only responding to the response of 'open source != money' which is a blatant misconception that closed source companies like to spread as FUD.
          • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @12:33PM (#25557021)

            I will let you in on a little secret. I went to a division III college in a small town. The people I ended up graduating with in computing mostly had trouble finding jobs and those that did seemed bored by them, mostly working in insurance, accounting, etc. They were taught VB, Java, and Cobol in school, but not necessarily how to think like a programmer.

            I ended up going back to school at a much larger school, and getting a degree in an analytical field, which has a piece of open source software that I use at my job regularly. I have contributed my time and efforts to improving this project because I use it and need those improvements, and it helps others. I do this during work sometimes, but often times at night. I do this because I *like* it. I have no conceptions of making a name for myself.

            And now I've just switched cities and had to find a new job. It's tough for a lot of people. Guess what? During the interviews, it comes up that I actually enjoy programming, contribute to this project, and generally have a good understanding of programming. I've had three offers this month already, in a tough economy.

            The point? It's much easier to find work when you are passionate about what you're doing, as many open source authors are. It's not cause and effect, it's correlation. Those who are working on open source tend to be those who really enjoy programming, and that is of course correlated with being good at it. I would not listen to anyone who told me to 'stay away' from it if I enjoyed it, that sounds like a pathetic person.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by bjelkeman (107902)

            I work on open source software and get paid. So there!

            Actually we are looking for a really experienced HTML / CSS programmer/designer preferably with a background Python and Django. Some PHP experience is of curse useful. Provable work on open source code is a large merit. If you are based in Europe is better than any other continent for us. If you are based in Stockholm or Delft you can probably hopp over for an interview. :)

          • "Note that the above is not my personal opinion, but after I graduate I won't have any more basements to live in and I will be hungry."

            I finished school in 1982 studied CS. In the time between then and now I've written a lot of non-free code. Most would be useless as Open Source as it did things like control a radar system and handle data comming from spacecraft, not the kinds of things that most people need to do. But I've also written some softare that I've given away as GPL. Some for the astronomy co

          • by pla (258480)
            he told us to stay away from open source because(shortened version) if we wanted to be well-known in the open source world then we'd have to slog it out full-time, fighting amongst other egos working for free just trying to get our names known.

            That makes one seriously incorrect assumption - That, in the capacity of doing your 9-to-5 job, you care about fame (outside the local food chain).

            I've used open source extensively, and made a few contributions back to the community. You've almost certainly never
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Mr. Slippery (47854)

            I'm a noob taking a software engineering class at a community college.

            In other words, you have no idea what you're talking about, but you feel free to come into a forum full of software professionals and make sweeping statements.

            Yeah. Good luck with that career, young padawan.

            But how is that different from working on proprietary software? Working on proprietary software earns a paycheck.

            Working on free software can also earn a paycheck. Big projects have funding.

            Also, the vast majority of software d

          • by ajs (35943)

            We had a consultant come in for show-and-tell

            It's too easy to shoot this down here, but I'll just state for the record that you could easily have found someone to speak who would have said anything, so the source isn't really interesting. You're really just stating your own opinion, here. Had you said that, it might have sounded a bit better.

            he made some very good points, but he told us to stay away from open source because (shortened version) if we wanted to be well-known in the open source world then we'd have to slog it out full-time, fighting amongst other egos working for free just trying to get our names known.

            I have not stayed away from open source. I've not had to "log it out full-time." I've not had to "fight amongst other egos." I've never even worried about how well-known my name is.

            Open source software provides, f

          • by cptdondo (59460)

            I think your consultant was an idiot. The vast majority of Open Source devs are paid by their companies. At my last job I was paid relatively well to give my work away. :-)

            Basically we layered some PHP scripts on top of modified elinks code to come up with an end-user configurable industrial panel.

            I got paid, the company made money, no egos (other than perhaps the company president) involved.

            Granted, I didn't become well-known in the OS world, but really... How many closed source programmers do you know b

            • by ianare (1132971)
              Not sure I understand you. Did you use OSS within closed source project, or did you make a new OSS project out of already existing code ?
          • Err if you really want to get pedantic it should be

            Close_Source==Money, Open_Source!=Money

            because you don't know whether Money is a boolean, you're just comparing the two.

          • Dealing with ego's is eternal. You cannot escape it, anytime, anywhere. They're at work, they're in open source, they run your HOA or your local government. They crap on you all the time. The question is what can you do about it, to achieve what you consider to be an acceptable quality of life.

            With open source, you are free to individually decide whether the ego behind a contribution is worth dealing with. He either is so prolific/intelligent/hard working, that his attitude is worth dealing with, or he is n

          • by ianare (1132971)
            That's simply not true ! I must have made oh, about $200 in donations from my open source projects. Over the course of 2.5 years. OK so maybe the guy had a point.

            More seriously, these are hobby projects ... I get to do what I want, when I want, simply for the pleasure of coding. If other people actually like my software enough to throw a couple bucks my way, then all the better.
            If the consultant was suggesting making any money from hobbyist projects (closed source or not), he is a loon.

            Similarly, your co
          • by thermian (1267986)

            We had a consultant come in for show-and-tell and he made some very good points, but he told us to stay away from open source because(shortened version) if we wanted to be well-known in the open source world then we'd have to slog it out full-time, fighting amongst other egos working for free just trying to get our names known.

            For big projects there is truth in that. However there is also truth in saying that the only way to get a really good programing job is to gain lots of experience, and open source is a good place to get it.

            I on the other hand have my own FOSS product. I'm the sole developer, although I have accepted some code from others over the years. With a small project you get to set all the timescales, all the goals, everything.

            I don't make money with it, but I get invites to universities, free attendance at conferenc

          • by Zadaz (950521)

            Not that I totally disagree with you, but you are clearly parroting the words of some guy who talked to you for half an hour with little understanding.

            Don't base policy decisions on some guy who just came to class one day.

            Trust me, consultants don't go talk to undergrads at the coco unless they're selling something.

            What was he selling? You should know, you clearly bought it.

          • by Aphoxema (1088507) *

            I'd strongly suggest you keep active in the fields that play a more generic role in society, like checking the temperature of meats on a grill, using a cash register, and using those muscles of yours regularly. You may find that, by the time you graduate, you won't have a choice but to compete with open source and if you can't make money off it then it'll just as well be a well educated hobby.

          • by Xeger (20906)

            That's not the point of open source. The point is this:

            - I'm an entrepreneur, or I'm being paid by an entrepreneur or a massive corporate entity, to create software that makes money.

            - It is my duty as a professional to implement the most reliable, beneficial solution I can, and to do so at the lowest possible cost.

            - With this goal in mind, I look around the ecosystem for existing tools, frameworks and applications that will help me achieve my goal. I will generally find any number of open-source products as

          • by kv9 (697238)

            Note that the above is not my personal opinion, but after I graduate I won't have any more basements to live in and I will be hungry.

            you sound like you need to take an archeology course and... hunting lessons?

          • But how is that different from working on proprietary software? Working on proprietary software earns a paycheck.

            This is true to a point but I think it misses a large amount of software that falls in-between.

            I don't work on open source software as my day-job, but it's not because my employer is particularly attached to closed source ideals. It's because it's unlikely that anyone except my employer would be interested in the software I'm writing. Nobody's asked for our source code, but if they did (and it

          • by Angostura (703910) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @05:35PM (#25561467)

            Remember folks, never have any hobbies, never do voluntary work, don't sit and stare and a sunset. The pay for any of those is dreadful.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by hey! (33014)

          Isn't the whole point of free software to limit the impact of this kind of decision? Part of the maximization of freedom is the freedom to stop working with other developers, both the freedom to fork, and the freedom to force others to fork.

          If the core developers have the source code, and rights to that source code we are talking about, potentially, three things of value: (1) the project name and (2) access to the source code server and by extension (3) access to the source archives. Of these, the only se

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by electrictroy (912290)

      Yes.

      Stealing other people's work is a very effective strategy to succeed in business without really trying. Look at Microsoft.

    • Long Answer (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Another strategy is to never let the "community" in. Look at Alfresco. They get lots of press and kudos for being open source, but are very protective of their code and don't let contributors in. But they keep the "community" gathered outside their gates because they've never done anything to alienate them. They just started out as somewhat hostile and will never get flak for staying that way.

      They only other similarly managed project that pops to mind for me right now is Liferay.

      • That's probably the point. VC's like to see that they "own" an interest in everything. Some lawyer probably wanted them to pull the access or not get funding to protect their new "property". Of course the company was only worth while because of the community. That's what the IP lawyer types always miss. The contributed code may or may not be assigned to the site owner so just pulling contributor access is not enough. If they've cut off contributors they have all sorts other problems starting with not bei

    • Make it a tld. Post the nameservers here. That is if it's a usefull tool. If you jsut want to speculate on the names the line forms at the right over by the icann booth.

    • Yes.

      Stealing other people's work is a very effective strategy to succeed in business without really trying. Get free work, then package it as retail software, and $profit$.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @11:19AM (#25555607)

    bidi-bidi-bidi bidi-bidi-bidi bidi-bidi-bidi...

  • Twiki blows (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SuperBanana (662181) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @11:25AM (#25555731)
    ...at least, the version we used did. Sample problems, just off the top of my head were incompatibilities with Safari, and moronic account "management".

    Despite clear evidence that Safari does auth just fine, Twiki wouldn't let any of our Safari users view pages without presenting them with TWO auth requests, and the developers blamed Apple and refused to release a fix into code.

    A "reset my password" form would (are you ready?) email the wiki maintainer with a request to reset that user's password.

    While it's fast and has a simple file-based structure, it's also one of the worst web apps I've ever seen.

    • by rmstar (114746)

      indeed. And this without counting the rather bizarre programming model it uses for the Twiki Apps. It probably deserves an entry in the Turing tar pit. *shudder*.

    • Re:Twiki blows (Score:5, Informative)

      by Ed Avis (5917) <ed@membled.com> on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @11:47AM (#25556141) Homepage

      I think the most serious criticism of TWiki is its poor security track record. I used to run a site, until it was compromised by a widespread exploit uploading a PHP file as an attachment, which TWiki then saves in a directory served directly by Apache - so an attacker can upload any program he wants and it runs with privileges of the web server. In my case, it was a rather handy remote administration tool that lets you alter any file on the system (that's writable by Apache) and download the contents of /etc/passwd.

      OK, anyone could get caught out by such a mistake, but the response of the TWiki developers does not inspire confidence. They added a blacklist of 'bad file extensions' so that filenames ending .php cannot be uploaded. Of course, this falls into the mistake of 'enumerating badness' and leaves you open to the next magic file extension that the developers hadn't thought of. At least in TWiki 2 the problem has been dealt with properly by using a CGI script to serve attachments, rather than leaving them to the vagaries of Apache's configuration (which is great for a website you maintain yourself, not so good for directories where anyone can upload any file with any name).

      It appeared that the TWiki developers' security process was purely reactive - kludging in fixes to exploits as they were discovered - and nobody was auditing the code to discover holes before the bad guys do, or just to clean up bad smells that might or might not lead to an exploit later.

      Looking at the TWiki code, it's rather a mess and doesn't seem to take the paranoid precautions you need in Perl when running system() and other interaction with the outside world - precautions particularly needed in a CGI program that's meant to be publicly accessible. I am a keen Perl programmer but TWiki is the kind of code that gives Perl a bad reputation.

      That said, in an environment where you trust everybody (like a company webserver accessible only on your network) TWiki is a very handy application. I rather like the grungy way it keeps page content in RCS archives; you can hack up scripts to automatically import your existing static HTML pages into the wiki. But if I were installing a new wiki now I would use something else: preferably the kind of wiki that works by generating a set of static HTML pages and updating them on edits. That seems to have the smallest attack surface and the best performance.

    • by Omnifarious (11933) <eric-slashNO@SPAMomnifarious.org> on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @11:58AM (#25556403) Homepage Journal

      It looks like then that they're well on their way to becoming a respected piece of enterprise software.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Lord Ender (156273)

      We switched fro twiki to DekiWiki and are mostly pleased. Deki has a rich-text editor (no wiki mark-up to learn). It also integrates with Active Directory and does other neat enterprisey things.

      On the downside, Deki absolutely chokes if you try and cut-n-paste into it from other applications. I hope they fix that. If you switch to Deki, be prepared to fight with formatting a lot, including editing HTML directly to figure out why making one word bold makes the entire paragraph bold.

    • by dubl-u (51156) *

      Yeah, I agree.

      If you've made software long enough, you can look at software and tell something about the people who make it, and my impression from the early Twiki versions was that the people behind it just couldn't think about things from an end-user perspective. For an inherently social app, that's bizarre.

      Further, from the number of bugs and security holes, they clearly weren't very good coders.

      This move seems like it falls in the "once a jerk, always a jerk" category.

    • by jimicus (737525)

      A "reset my password" form would (are you ready?) email the wiki maintainer with a request to reset that user's password.

      That, you'll be relieved to know, is gone.

      While it's fast and has a simple file-based structure, it's also one of the worst web apps I've ever seen.

      Fast? I must have missed something.

      It's not a very mature app, however. It's been going a while and it's at version 4, but even minor version changes can mean API upheaval/breakage, version upgrading is always a game of whack-a-mole in terms of sorting out issues and it delegates features to third-party plugins which should have been made part of the core functionality several years ago.

  • What the hell? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mewshi_nya (1394329)

    If you have a community, you don't piss them off like this, for exactly this reason. They will kill you in the press.

    Every project that goes commercial (MySQL, I'm looking at you) has a heritage of open source. By killing off the community that created it, they are going to kill off their commercial prospects.

    • Re:What the hell? (Score:4, Informative)

      by fm6 (162816) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @01:28PM (#25557903) Homepage Journal

      Since Day One, Theony has been looking to cash in on TWiki. That's motivated a lot of dumb moves on his part — this last nonsense being one of many.

      Actually, the big problem is not so much Theony's desire to be the next Red Hat as the boneheaded way he goes about it. He wants to sell TWiki as an "enterprise collaboration platform" despite the existence of many existing products in that customers space. Most of them are more powerful and easy to customize than TWiki, and many of them are open source.

      The main result is that when you install a TWiki, your default pages are full of arcane markup designed to support these "Enterprise" features. When I installed my department TWiki, I spend a lot of time stripping out this crap, to avoid confusing my non-nerd users.

      The current version also makes a new WYSIWYG editor the default — and hardwires it into the system in numerous places. Unfortunately, the editor is very buggy, with many formatting errors and frequent data loses. You can just disable the WYSIWYG plugin, but some of my users still prefer it. So I ended up enabling it and then carefully hacking the many places in TWiki where it assumes that you want the WYSIWYG editor, even if you say you don't.

      Despite these clumsy attempts to support "Enterprises collaboration" TWiki has been notably deficient in the features an enterprise would look for, such as time zone support, use of a DBMS as a back end, a stable API, and a practical query language.

      This last deficit was actually remedied in 4.2, which is one reason I upgraded. But the main reason was LDAP-over-SSL support, another enterprise feature TWiki only recently acquired — and which the company I work for requires me to have. Unfortunately, this version includes a major refactoring of the user authentication API. Not a bad thing in itself (and probably necessary for the LDAP thing), but it eliminated the object used to encapsulate user information! Not surprisingly, a bunch of plugins have been broken by this change.

      If I ever have occasion to install another wiki, it won't be TWiki. I'll take the time to educate myself about one that still understands that wikis are about keeping things simple. That doesn't mean the software itself isn't complex, just that the complexity is hidden from the end users, and is structured in such a way that administrators and developers don't have to cope with a lot of spaghetti logic.

    • Every project that goes commercial (MySQL, I'm looking at you) has a heritage of open source. By killing off the community that created it, they are going to kill off their commercial prospects.

      Yeah - nobody uses MySQL anymore. You tell 'em!

  • After RTFA it appears that Sun donated a few servers to host twiki.. Will they be taking them back now that the arrangement has changed (or will the venture folks end up paying for them)?

    Either way, pretty stupid way of doing things, worse than XFree86 even, especially for a GPL project...

  • With less money to throw around, VCs will expect some immediate payoff for any investment they make in a project.

    I hate to sound like a troll, but it looks like we may see the end of a marriage between what we believe an open source projects should look like and the venture capitalists that fund them.

    I still think open source will continue to thrive in the government/academic markets. It's just experiencing a little push back from commercial capital...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by zaliv (1396359)
      A clarification: TWiki has never received any funding, let alone by a venture capitalist. This has been a takeover out of the blue.
      • TWiki has never received any funding, let alone by a venture capitalist.

        Sorry, I was confused by the summary which called twiki.net a startup and states (emphasis mine):

        Is it a sensible move for a venture capital firm that depends on a healthy Open Source community to lock it out?"

        My comment was an answer to the question asked within the summary...

    • by heikkile (111814)
      I hate to sound like a troll, but it looks like we may see the end of a marriage between what we believe an open source projects should look like and the venture capitalists that fund them.

      Not all Open Source projects are funded by venture capital! I work for a small company that has several Open Source projects out there, and has never had outside capital. We've had our bad times, but at the moment we are expanding slowly, and the future does not look too bad.

      (And yes, we use Twiki internally, and I

      • Not all Open Source projects are funded by venture capital!

        I understand this, I was answering the question given in the summary:

        Is it a sensible move for a venture capital firm that depends on a healthy Open Source community to lock it out?

        My comment was for the relationship between VCs and OSS, not for all OSS. Basically if an OSS project needed external funding, governmental/academic sources should remain stable despite the reluctance for long-term funding from commercial capital.

        Sorry for the confusion

  • Could you please fix the broken URL in my attribution for this story? Thanks! :-)
  • Wrong logs (Score:5, Informative)

    by nuddlegg (1076483) <slashdot@[ ]hael ... m ['mic' in gap]> on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @11:44AM (#25556091) Homepage
    The logs in the posting above are not so interesting. If you need the logs of the way this was communicated to the TWiki community then have a look at http://twikifork.org/pub/Fork/TWikiReleaseMeeting2008x10x27/twiki_release_2008_10_27.log [twikifork.org]
    • Re:Wrong logs (Score:5, Interesting)

      by u38cg (607297) <calum@callingthetune.co.uk> on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @12:03PM (#25556483) Homepage
      Sorry, last post ate the nicks. Try again:

      --- Log opened Mon Oct 27 17:55:35 2008
      17:55 -!- gmc [n=gmc@freenode/sponsor/gmc] has joined #twiki_release
      17:55 -!- Irssi: #twiki_release: Total of 7 nicks [0 ops, 0 halfops, 0 voices, 7 normal]
      17:55 -!- Irssi: Join to #twiki_release was synced in 0 secs
      19:02 -!- CDot1 [n=crawford@crawfordcurrie.plus.com] has joined #twiki_release
      19:03 -!- CDot1 changed the topic of #twiki_release to: http://twiki.org/cgi-bin/view/Codev/GeorgetownReleaseMeeting2008x10x27
      19:34 -!- FranzJosefGigler [n=chatzill@chello084115142036.6.graz.surfer.at] has joined #twiki_release
      19:45 -!- FranzJosefGigler [n=chatzill@chello084115142036.6.graz.surfer.at] has left #twiki_release []
      19:45 -!- EugenMayer [n=EugenMay@dslb-092-074-254-018.pools.arcor-ip.net] has joined #twiki_release
      19:45 < EugenMayer> Hello
      19:46 < EugenMayer> CDot1: are you arround?
      19:48 < OliverKrueger> What time is it in London?
      19:49 < gmc> 19:42 i guess
      19:49 < gmc> its 20:42 in .nl
      19:49 < OliverKrueger> so it starts in 10min?
      19:49 < gmc> think so yes.. but we just had wintertime.. so it might all be a mess.. lets check the world clock
      19:49 < gmc> i believe cdot is having dinner atm btw
      19:50 < OliverKrueger> daylight saving just changed here, too. Thats why Im asking. :)
      19:51 < gmc> ah.. ntpd was not running.. it's 8:51 here :)
      19:52 < OliverKrueger> 7 mins,... gone forever... ;)
      19:52 < gmc> 19:51 in london indeed, according to the/a world clock
      19:52 -!- TomBarton [n=TomBarto@63.146.69.17] has joined #twiki_release
      19:54 < EugenMayer> Hi Tom
      19:55 < EugenMayer> Hi Marcus
      19:55 < OliverKrueger> Hi Tom.
      19:55 < TomBarton> Hello
      19:57 < EugenMayer> So the meating starts in some minutes or am i wrong?
      19:58 < gmc> you're not wrong, unless i am too
      19:58 -!- Lavr_ [n=donotlik@cpe.atm2-0-103309.0x3ef3d076.albnxx13.customer.tele.dk] has joined #twiki_release
      19:58 < EugenMayer> i used the "meating" word again
      19:58 -!- SopanShewale [n=chatzill@123.252.224.74] has joined #twiki_release
      19:59 < gmc> :)
      19:59 < PeterThoeny_> hi andre, crawford, eugen, koen, kenneth, oliver, sopan, sven, tom, markus
      19:59 < EugenMayer> i mean, whats wrong? it sounds the same :)
      19:59 < EugenMayer> Hi Peter
      19:59 < OliverKrueger> Hi Peter.
      19:59 < PeterThoeny_> who is actually at the keyboard?
      19:59 < Lavr_> Kenneth is
      19:59 * gmc <==
      19:59 < OliverKrueger> Markus is set to "away".
      20:00 < OliverKrueger> so as CDot
      20:00 < gmc> i'll be mostly in lurking mode though, i've caught a bug again
      20:01 < OliverKrueger> Im busy with some kinosearch issues, too. Please shout, if you want me to comment on something.
      20:01 -!- will_t1 [n=wii_t1@63.146.69.17] has joined #twiki_release
      20:01 < PeterThoeny_> hi will
      20:02 < PeterThoeny_> who will be facilitating? who will be taking notes?
      20:03 < PeterThoeny_> proposed agenda items are posted at http://twiki.org/cgi-bin/view/Codev/GeorgetownReleaseMeeting2008x10x27
      20:03 < PeterThoeny_> # 1. Review Urgent Bugs - for TWiki 4.2.4
      20:03 < PeterThoeny_> # 2. Feature requests for Georgetown Release
      20:03 < PeterThoeny_> i would like to start with a new agenda item
      20:03 < PeterThoeny_> ---++ Relaunch TWiki.org Project
      20:04 < PeterThoeny_> http://twiki.org/cgi-bin/view/Codev/RelaunchTWikiOrgProject
      20:04 < PeterThoeny_> please review, i also sent this content to twiki-dev and twiki-announce
      20:05 < OliverKrueger> Did you change the default skin?
      20:05 < PeterThoeny_> yes
      20:05 < PeterThoeny_> that is one of the changes
      20:05 < EugenMayer> looks a lot better. Not perfect, but years be
  • by DragonTHC (208439) <Dragon@NoSPAM.gamerslastwill.com> on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @11:46AM (#25556133) Homepage Journal

    He believes it's his project.

    It is not.

    It belongs to the mass of developers who contributed to it.

    Happily they forked the codebase.

    Sadly for Theony, no one will continue using Twiki. His actions are just bad for open source software.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Sadly for Theony, no one will continue using Twiki. His actions are just bad for open source software.

      I think his actions are good for Free Software. He just removed one bad apple. (himself)

    • by fm6 (162816) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @02:05PM (#25558469) Homepage Journal

      You're making two big assumptions that don't quite work.

      First, you're assuming that the fork will become an established product. Possible, but not certain. To survive, an OS project needs leadership — somebody who's willing to take a lot of time to do all the boring administration stuff that keeps any software project moving forward. From what I know about the people involved in the fork, none of them fits the bill. They all have day jobs that have little or nothing to do with TWiki. They just contribute bits and pieces of code in their spare time. Unless somebody emerges to fill the leadership role, this fork is just going to sputter and die — as most forks do.

      Second, you're assuming that most of TWiki's users will immediately abandon TWiki and move to the new product. Speaking as a TWiki user, I can tell you that's not going to happen. We use TWiki to maintain corporate applications that have to be reliably available. We can't afford to shift to an unproven new product, even if it uses the same code base. Most users will take a wait-and-see attitude, and maybe shift once the fork proves itself.

      Here are possible outcomes, in rough order of probability.

      • Both TWiki and the fork wither and die, TWiki from a lack of contributers, the fork from a lack of leadership. That's kind of a pain for those of us who use TWiki, but it's not the end of the world. There are a huge number of OS wiki products. Retooling to use one of them is something I would avoid as long as possible, but which might well pay dividends in the long run, since TWiki is not that great a piece of software.
      • Theony's VC partners give him money to hire paid help, and that keeps TWiki alive. How good that is for TWiki users depends on how much they restrict the new code. Most of us just can't afford to pay for this kind of software, so if key features become proprietary, we'll jump ship — maybe to the fork, but more likely to another wiki.
      • TWiki dies and the fork takes its place. Easiest for users like me (though not necessarily the best outcome!), but extremely unlikely.
  • by Sockatume (732728) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @11:46AM (#25556139)
    Now the really hard, expensive part of development is done, the open source community is no longer needed. Now corporate drones can be hired to fix bugs and run the program into the ground with ill-executed new functionality.
    • Meanwhile the fork maintained by the bulk of the original developers (the community) will carry on under a different name while the original will be shunned and will wither and die ...

    • by MarkvW (1037596)

      Sounds like somebody who married a person in medical school, then got dumped when the doctor's practice was established.

      Same old story . . .

  • by Hozza (1073224)

    In the new T&C's for the "relaunched" Twiki it includes the following:

    Derivative works

    All GPLed content can of course be freely be redistributed and copied, as long as the TWiki trademark rights are maintained.

    TWiki.org website content contributed by an individual is copyrighted by the contributing author. The collective work of the TWiki.org website is copyrighted by TWiki.org and may not be copied without written approval from the TWiki Community Council.

    Are those 2 conditions even legal?

  • Is it a sensible move for a venture capital firm that depends on a healthy Open Source community to lock it out?

    Of course, the question presumes the answer. If, in fact, the VC firm depends on a healthy Open Source community, it shouldn't lock it out. The real question is does the VC firm (or, as I think would more accurately state the case here, the VC-funded firm) actually rely on that, or is it viable for them to operate without it?

  • by rapiddescent (572442) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @12:08PM (#25556561)

    I was in the market for a wiki engine for a top-100 UK company. It seemed, during the investigation phase, that twiki was too good to be true - until we found that the founder and main contributor polluted just about every forum with "use twiki" messages whether it was sensible or not. It met our shortlist and so we installed it, but, it didn't meet our criteria on usability, administration and we found it to be quite slow. I think the 'founder' had raised expectations a little too high on all those forums he posted to...

    Certainly, we now have an open source policy that looks into the organisation of the hosting project to look out for these sorts of shenanigans before we use it. Certainly, I think the twiki situation is more about the personality of the 'founder' than anything and I would steer clear of a project that is behaving like this until the project board are more stabilised. it's happened before, and it will happen again.

    We went with mediawiki and its been a real success and culture changing event for the organisation - encouraging some of the staff to send in fixes and create extensions to be shared with the community. The success of mediawiki software and the mediawiki project as a whole has now opened up the discussion on Linux, JBoss and other open source platforms in this once closed-source-only organisation.

    • by fm6 (162816)

      Your issues with TWiki are pretty consistent with my negative experiences. That said, I'm a little surprised that you chose MediaWiki instead. Its feature set seems to be very limited. No fine-tuning user access, no support for external authentication, not easy to add new markup. Of course, these aren't deal breakers for everybody.

      Did you consider any other wikis? There are a lot of choices.

  • "Is it a sensible move for a venture capital firm that depends on a healthy Open Source community to lock it out?"

    They didn't. TFA states several moved to the new project with the VC. Since there's a backer, they should be able to say what they support. If they wish to change, they can. If others want to change with them, they can, and have. If others don't want to, simply because the backer closed the old project, they don't have to. They don't have to grow up and accept the fact they'd been participating

  • by Qbertino (265505) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @12:15PM (#25556721)

    Rule Number 1: NEVER get pissy with the majority of main core contributers. If the project has *any* significance at all, you WILL lose. And for very good reasons (and riddance) too. That's a fact. Learn it.

  • Poor decision... (Score:4, Informative)

    by mr.dreadful (758768) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @12:19PM (#25556799)
    This happened a few years ago with Mambo. The company that started Mambo alienated the development community and the developers all left and started Joomla. Today Joomla seems much more robust and viable then Mambo. Twiki.net has a poor road in front of it...
  • I've recently been fiddling with Twiki, and looking at structured wikis in general.

    I've been looking at ways to build collaborated structured data... where the structure of the data (i.e. the sort of fields that need to be filled in) evolves over time - and where some form of editorial control can allow the reliability of data to improve over time... or, at least, allow several people to come to agree on the same false data.

    I've not been getting very far very quickly - though Drupal is showing some promise.

  • by Kjella (173770) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @01:19PM (#25557757) Homepage

    ...or perhaps less bad time, is if you've written so much of the source you can actually rip out any outside contribution, change the license and go down a different road. If you did then it's your project anyway, and nobody promised you'd keep releasing code forever. This on the other hand, sounds like suicide:

    20:37 PeterThoeny_, TomBarton: how will you handle our code when we go away? Will it still be there?
    20:38 TomBarton of course! we will continue to fully comply with the GPL etc.

    So... this will continue to be a GPL project, which means the new community will be free to take any of the VCs improvements and they'll be fighting a GPL project that has most of the previous developers on board? I think that VC might as well flush those money down a toilet or give them to me, either would be a better use of them.

  • TWIKI (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TomTraynor (82129) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @01:32PM (#25557953) Homepage

    Is it just me or does anyone else remember Buck Rogers from the 70's? The robot character was Twiki... I wonder if that show got a trademark on 'TWIKI' and if so, what would happen to the TWIKI.NET trademark?

    • My old copy of Twiki had that robot character in the logo. I didn't know what it was when I first saw it and had to look it up.

    • Is it just me or does anyone else remember Buck Rogers from the 70's? The robot character was Twiki... I wonder if that show got a trademark on 'TWIKI' and if so, what would happen to the TWIKI.NET trademark?

      I remember that Twiki used to carry around Theo, a sentient computer.

      Twiki is an obvious name for a wiki to any Buck Rogers fan, but does anybody know if Theony chose it based on the Theo- root of his name or is that pure coincidence?

      Anyway, Theo would be a great name for the new project.

    • Trademarks don't give the owner ownership of the word; it's restricted to a particular field of application. Essentially, you can trademark an adjective, not a noun. This company owns "TWiki" as it applies to web and related applications, and the owners of Buck Rogers own "Twiki" as it applies to annoying robots.
  • How'd he get sole control over the trademark rights?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by zaliv (1396359)
      Peter Thoeny has always had the trademark to twiki. It has become a problem since he has transferred (parts) of the trademark to TWIKI.NET, the commercial kid on the block. That company wants the control over the trademark and twiki.org development. They could not get the latter naturally, so they forced it their way.
      • Well, the history of SSH says that you can continue to use the trademark for distributing a derivative work of the original software for which the trademark was registered. I guess he may have "sole ownership" without much question, but I doubt he has a right to "sole usage". Of course, maybe the fact that the ssh protocol was a standard makes a difference here?

        It might be a nice idea to call the new project OpenTwiki in the same light as OpenSSH. If I were to do this I would ask a lawyer first.

    • Most likely by filing the forms, paying the fee, and selling a product. That's the way it is usually done. I doubt anyone has grounds to contest the ownership of the mark but they might be able to contest its validity. They'd have to show that the mark was in widespread use before he registered it and therefor is generic.
  • Crap... I was looking at using TWiki at work, but now I have to seriously reconsider now that they don't appear to have a developer community any more.

    The key "enterprise" features were the ability (albeit clumsily) to maintain several separate public and private wikis, integration with AD (kinda) for accountability, and the GUI editor was handy for non-Wiki users. Being free/open source also means I didn't have to fill in a mountain of paperwork to try and justify the cost when we're just testing the W
    • Don't freak out. The development community went with the code to greener pastures.

      Just wait until NextWiki (or whatever it's going to be called) 4.2.4 is released; it'll have a migration tool that will un-Twiki(TM)ify your existing setup.

      My hope is that this is like the XFree86 split. It wound up being much better for the forked project and a lot of nice features and changes came out of new governance. I'm glad this happened, Peter was kind of a jerk.

  • by RomulusNR (29439) on Wednesday October 29, 2008 @04:27PM (#25560461) Homepage

    considering that among real Wikis, TWiki is crap?

    TWiki's business model revolves around wowing lazy, barely-competent middle managers who will never really use the thing and foisting it on hapless employees while looking tech-savvy to upper management.

    AltTwikiDieDieDie.

  • We run TWiki at work. Not my choice, I hasten to add - it was already in place when I started as sysadmin and had a couple of gigs of data stored there.

    I don't really like it.

    Even minor upgrades are inevitably a big game of "let's see what's broken next", it's an absolute dog for anyone non-technical to use (there is finally a WYSIWYG editor that doesn't completely break everything in version 4.1) and the core developers tend to be painfully elitist. (as in: We don't care for [FEATURE], you shouldn't hav

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