In software engineering, a project fork happens when developers take a legal copy of source code from one software package and start independent development on it, creating a distinct piece of software. The term implies not merely a development branch, but a split in the developer community, analogous to a religious schism.
Free and open source software is that which, by definition, may be forked from the original development team without prior permission without violating any copyright law.
There is no “religious schism”. Let’s continue with the wiki…
Free and open source software may be legally forked without the approval of those currently managing a software project or distributing the software, per the definitions of “free software” (“Freedom 3: The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits”) and “open source” (“3. Derived Works: redistribution of modifications must be allowed. (To allow legal sharing and to permit new features or repairs.)”).
In free software, forks often result from a schism over different goals or personality clashes. In a fork, both parties assume nearly identical code bases but typically only the larger group, or whoever controls the web site, will retain the full original name and the associated user community. Thus, there is a reputation penalty associated with forking. The relationship between the different teams can be cordial or very bitter.
Maybe other software forks rate a reality show, but nothing of the sort is happening here.
I will tell you what I told a Founding Member of my Club Commerce earlier this week: Tienda’s development seems to have stalled. It’s not what I’ve heard, it’s what I see. It’s almost as if Tienda’s development has plateaued.
I told him that Tienda is not exactly capturing peoples’ imagination. The Tienda public forum has no activity. There’s no third party vendor action. The last official blog post about Tienda was to announce that the holidays are coming, which seems to affirm my general perception. There is zero tweeting, which, frankly, shocks me. Little blogging, no tweeting — hello, is anyone home?
Just before Christmas, I posted a question in the projects site asking what is happening with Tienda and Joomla 2.5. The reply, from Chris Paschen, was “we will have a blog post about this in a few weeks”. Joomla 2.5 will be out before this blog post?
So, I’m sticking with Tienda. And if that means taking on the responsibility of developing it, then so be it.
Not without a healthy dose of trepidation, and with vast respect for the effort that has gone into Tienda.
As forks go, mine will go down in history as the friendliest fork.
In fact, after getting my LaSalleMart domain, setting up my LaSalleMart Twitter account and Facebook page, creating a one page website with an awful logo, I talked to Chris Paschen for 2 hours.
Chris is what I call “The Public Face” of Dioscouri, because he is blogging, tweeting, and moderating the public forum and projects site. Chris is an independent consultant, his site is own site isPaschenCommunications.com.
There was no arguing. No ranting. No raving. No personal animosities. No “philosophical differences”. There is no “parting of the ways” either.
Tienda development needs an infusion of energy. I sense some burn-out – two years of development has taken its toll.
Tienda may be open source, but its development process is completely closed off.
Chris tells me that all sorts of things have been discussed, but I can tell you this: there’s no venue where I can participate in those discussions. The most interaction seems to be the ability to vote on feature requests — you know something, get real.
In a former life, I was a business analyst. I’ve been in meetings where features you think are straight forward are argued fiercely behind closed doors. So much for getting quick sign-offs. I guess we’re supposed to post our opinons in the Redmine issue tickets. Yeah, but what about the juicy internal discussions that are going on? That’s where I want to be!
I’ll tell you, this habit of releasing new features and begging me to test them is not working. And it will never work. You know why? Because I’m not part of the feature development process.
Some of the features being developed are fetishes being pursued to promote the narrow interests of whoever is throwing money at that feature development. I mean, really, I should be contemplating removing features in my Tienda Distro? Well, they are not really features anyways, they are customizations. The downside of dominant sponsorship.
Which speaks to the brutish reality of Tienda development: money!
Nearly all the code is created by programmers who are getting paid. Testing is usually the unfunded part, as the money is targeted to direct coding. When funding is concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, development becomes customization.
When a small extension grows into a modest extension, it’s easy to maintain that extension. Stay up late, funnel some client money into creature features and general upgrades. Sell some support subscriptions even.
When an ambitious extension grows into a monolithic monster sized extension, staying up late adding features, funnelling client money — well, those things just don’t work anymore. One little screw-up in the code and whatever money you tucked away for a new creature feature is gone into the money pit.
Tienda is in the Hackerpreneur Zone now.
The Hackerpreneurs who use Tienda have enormous power and influence over Tienda’s development. Tienda’s code base is a beautiful thing, and it’s Tienda’s code that the Hackerpreneurs who use Tienda want to build on. But, the first thing the consultants and site owners who use Tienda must do is control Tienda’s development. That time has come. We, the Hackerpreneurs who use Tienda, will not invest money, time or effort in a development process we do not control.
So, let’s control it.
Let’s clean up the bugs.
Let’s delete the half-baked features.
Let’s clean up some of the views.
Let’s get Tienda to a version 1.0, and then let’s step on the gas.
Let’s call it LaSalleMart.
And, let’s do it within my Club Commerce. Where you pay a nominal monthly fee to support my work. Where you know that your fellow Members are serious about progressing LaSalleMart, and are contributing to its development. An open website with no paywall is only going to lead to a website of takers, not givers. Not effective.
You have to take the leap of faith and join my Club Commerce.
This is how I’m leading development.
Get in the Club.
Everything about LaSalleMart’s development will be discussed within my Club’s Discussion site by those who are involved. The tone is different when people are involved, and when you know the people are involved. The tone is different when you start becoming familiar with your fellow Members. When you realize the skills and experience of your fellow Members, you start floating solutions, not problems.
Something about Anahitapolis.com has had a profound effect on me: that’s where the principals hang out. I can post a real question within the site knowing that Rastin or Ash will chime in. I never ask, “is anybody home”. Home? That’s where they live. Plus, they blog. Plus, they are tweeting constantly. Plus, they now have bi-weekly podcasts.
You will never have to wonder where I am. I lead from the front. I am on my Club’s Discussion site. And that confidence you have knowing I will respond, and the confidence knowing that you have the attention of your fellow Members, will change your attitude. You will take an extra moment to paste a piece of code. You will take that extra moment to include a URL for everyone to reference. That’s because you feel confident, not frustrated, by your participation. You will start posting solutions, not problems. It’s subtle. And it’s glorious!
Look, I use Anahita for my Discussion site. And you are going to get frustrated by it. A new version of Anahita is on the way, I have an idea of the modifications I want to make, I follow the Anahita Discussions. And when the time comes to upgrade to the new Anahita, and when the time comes to modify our Anahita site to suit our needs, I am confident like I’ve never been confident about any Joomla extension. When I come across a problem, I can take the proper time to post the code I have with my questions and I know Rastin and Ash, and the growing number of Anahita-literate Members will help me. It’s not support about how to use a program. It’s more than that.
I’m going to put the Tienda code onto GitHub and use Assembla. We should have administrators. Perhaps these administrators should be especially notified of Discussions in the certain Discussion Groups. Maybe have some overlap to maximize responsiveness. I have wild ideas about “builds” and “test” and “distros” that have implications for how we organize our project. I want to organize — surprise! — at least a monthly podcast as a way to present updates to the public.
We should have discuss using Campfire or something like that, funded by my monthly Club subscriptions. We should talk about this within my Club.
I have very definite opinions about how to proceed with development. I know that talking to my Members we’ll come up with a workable plan that is better than what I’ve come up with.
I believe that it’s important to work with Dioscouri. If we decide that Club Commerce and Dioscouri will jointly release Tienda version 1.0, then that would be a thrilling moment. There’s so much post-version 1.0 development to get into, the work ahead is so vast, that I see collaboration as a permanent thing.
What underlies collaboration is a strong, vibrant Club Commerce at full Membership. A Membership that uses the software it creates to power a growing portfolio of successful Joomla ecommerce sites. A Membership that is trained on the software that comes out of Club Commerce, whose Members serve the public with the software my Club creates.
There are a number of you sitting on the sidelines about my Club.
Goto SouthLaSalleCommerce dot com. Or, google “bloom joomla”.
Next week I talk to Jeremy Wilken about his new Square One CMS Joomla Distribution.
This is Bob Bloom, signing off, wishing you a profitable week.
You have been listening to a SouthLaSalleMEDIA.com production. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of SouthLaSalleMEDIA dot com, nor of the organizations represented. Links and materials discussed on air are available in the Show Notes for this show. Information contained herein have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but are not guaranteed. Podcasts are released under a creative commons licence. Some rights are reserved. Email correspondence to the attention of Bob Bloom at info at SouthLaSalleMedia dot com.