Thursday, November 03, 2005

What should be fixed in Asterisk #2

The cult of personality.

Mark Spencer is certainly a most excellent man, and we all owe to him a big thanks for what he's done for our industry. It's time, though, to recognize that the real power of open source is in the community, and not in the business interests of the main sponsor. As you might be aware, openpbx.org is a fork from the Asterisk code base. Apparently, there were those that felt that there was too much control exerted by the current Asterisk leadership and too many strings from Digium. From their site:

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Here are a few things to highlight the reasons for this fork:

Wanted community input and control, No single person can stop progress.
We will use the best of code that already exists. (ie apr, rtp stacks and sip stacks)
We will not reinvent the wheel if it is not necessary.
We will not have the dual license concerns
We will not allow business decisions to affect software development.
Everyone can commit without having to disclaim copyrights.
We can't compete with our customers because we are all on the same level.
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Now, anyone that is a software engineer knows that forks are probably bad. Now that I've had time to consider it, I think the fork is unfortunate. I would like to see more energy going into the advancement of open source, and less energy on politics and duplicate efforts. Unfortunately, the existence of openpbx and asterisk ensures plenty of waste and politics for a while to come.

So... for the benefit of the industry, I encourage Mark to listen to the concerns of the openpbx crowd, because they have a point. And, to all the openPBX members, I'll just say that you would do well with keeping Mark around as a leader. He's good, and he's proven.

2 comments:

Justin McAteer said...

An update seems appropriate. The OpenPBX fork has died, like virtually every other project fork in the history of open source. The Asterisk team and Digium have taken many steps to address the concerns of those developers who created the OpenPBX fork. Most importantly the number of developers with committ access has been greatly increased and the 'Asterisk Advisory Council', an independent (of Digium) committee of Asterisk developers to guide the development of Asterisk.

Overall, people involved in opensource all have their own motivations. However, we need to learn to throw ropes instead of rocks when we see something going awry.

Justin McAteer said...

An update seems appropriate. The OpenPBX fork has died, like virtually every other project fork in the history of open source. The Asterisk team and Digium have taken many steps to address the concerns of those developers who created the OpenPBX fork. Most importantly the number of developers with committ access has been greatly increased and the 'Asterisk Advisory Council' has been formed. The council is an independent (of Digium) committee of Asterisk developers whose purpose is to guide the development of Asterisk.

Overall, people involved in opensource all have their own motivations. However, we need to learn to throw ropes instead of rocks when we see something going awry.