The last few weeks, however, have seen these rumors spread and grow beyond anything I expected. I'd like to take this opportunity to strongly reiterate our beliefs, our commitments, and point out the efforts we've made to always be top-notch contributors to the community.
OpenForce is entirely dedicated to free software. Our name says it. Our work says it. We will never waver from this. Our code, whenever possible, will be released under the GPL. Always.
A few important points to support our words with actions:
- OpenForce was the first company to commit to OpenACS - not ACS. We committed to OpenACS back when it wasn't such a safe bet, back when everyone said "we work with ACS.... oh and with OpenACS too." OpenForce was one of the first companies to develop and host a commercial OpenACS site (GreenOrder.com).
- OpenForce actively lobbied ArsDigita to provide OpenACS hooks into ACS 4.x, and to maintain code under the GPL license. At every conference where we gave speeches (ArsDigita meetings, the European Free Software Meeting, the O'Reilly Open-Source Conference), we pitched OpenACS as a platform and *every* current OpenACS company equally.
- OpenForce has contributed *many* critical packages to OpenACS 4.x, including total rewrites of forums, calendar, notifications. Important rewrites, cleanups of file-storage, faq, news. Important rewrites and optimizations of the core APIs. Entirely new packages from the dotLRN work.
- OpenForce was the first company to *manage*, not just release, a client development effort in an open-source manner - dotLRN. Until Lars's announcement yesterday, we were the only ones. We applaud Collaboraid for taking this even further with their latest Internationalization effort. Open-source development is not always easy. Open-source development of a client project is quite difficult.
- Although not specified in our contract with Sloan, OpenForce designed dotLRN to be as modular as possible from the start. There are currently four companies doing parallel yet compatible dotLRN-based development thanks to this architecture. OpenForce chose an architecture that created a new market: we effectively created our own competition because we believe in true open-source development.
- OpenForce designed an architecture for dotLRN that allowed dotLRN to benefit from OpenACS *and* OpenACS to benefit from dotLRN without forcing an install of dotLRN. This is far from trivial. It's the reason for the 3-package approach to building a dotLRN applet. It's the only such client development that has been completed successfully to date: true symbiosis of the platform and client application.
- OpenForce lobbied for assigning dotLRN copyright to the Free Software Foundation as a means of ensuring that future, diverse interest in the dotLRN platform would never compromise the GPL status of the code.
- OpenForce managed, wrote most of, and released the PostgreSQL port of dotLRN under the GPL (with the help of some community members like Neophytos and a number of others). This was not part of the Sloan contract.
- To this date, OpenForce spends thousands of dollars in legal negotiations with every client to make as much of the resulting code as possible available under the GPL. That is our continued dedication to free software and to the community. We know and appreciate that many others have contributed quite a lot, too. OpenForce did not single-handedly make OpenACS into what it is today. We are part of a community.
So why this list? Because somewhere along the road, some people got the idea that we were no longer contributing. That we were fighting against them. We *are* contributing. We are *not* fighting against anyone. We're working with the community. We're trying to make OpenACS bigger and better.
I'm asking that you judge us by the results we've accomplished, by the actions we've taken. Look at the code, look at the opportunities created by this code.
If you have questions, I am making myself available by email, IRC, and physical presence. I'll be at tomorrow's social that Talli is organizing in NYC. Feel free to ask me about doubts you have. Feel free to question anything we've done, as long as you place your faith in the code produced and actions taken. If you have specific requests about things you think we're doing incorrectly, please tell us!
OpenForce is committed to free software and to the free software community. We always have been, and we always will be.