At the end of October I mentioned a project called Twiki that was in the process of being forked because the project creator wanted to take the project down the commercial open source route.
The community behind TWiki wasn’t too pleased about this. Consequently, they have forked the TWiki code and have founded the Foswiki project in order to continue development.
…things ain’t too pretty.
My favourite quote:
“Clearly, their VC people have no picture of the situation other than their own return of investment.”
Well, yeah duh! Why anybody would be surprised that VCs are money focused is a mystery. VCs are managing other people’s money so their focus is bound to be primarily money focused. Your retirement fund isn’t going to give two figs about open source, it just wants a decent return on investment given the risks it’s taking.
One thing the TWiki episode does bring into sharp relief is the resilience of open source projects. The community has had a sharp disagreement with the trademark holder of the project name, but that does not kill the project. The community is free to fork the code and start afresh under a different name.
To me that is the refreshing thing about the new wave of open source network management startups. Usually, a wave of VC money going into a market leaves barely a sign when things go wrong. But with open source projects funded by VCs, whole communities would be left behind with a large dollop of open working code.