Code Collaboration in the MV world?
Will Johnson started a great thread in the U2 forum, asking about where people go to find and support FOSS for the MV DBMS. Well, there are precious few resources for collaboration in this market. Here are my thoughts on the matter.
I’ve been trying to foster collaborative efforts in the MV community for over a decade, usually with very little success. I can summarize my perspective on this in three points which all dove-tail.
First, with a broad generalization it seems to me that people who have jobs aren’t motivated to work on FOSS projects, and people who are self-employed don’t have the time.
Second, many people believe that all tools should come from the DBMS vendors and not from the community. As someone who has made a career of providing solutions that don’t exist elsewhere I’ve been mesmerized at how people will wait forever for solutions that never come from the DBMS providers, while not being willing to pay anything to get solutions right now. Regardless of how well I’ve done my job, I’m just saying this market largely doesn’t use tools that don’t come in the box, and people would prefer to wait for something that may never come than to spend a few bucks to get something now.
And third, there is a huge sense of pride in this community that we can do anything with the Pick model, and yet that belief isn’t exercised. In other words, one of the strongest objections I get to some of my initiatives is “I can do that by myself”, but then people never do. Companies go without solutions for years because they know they can “do it themselves”, if only they can find the time to do so. The belief that someone is self-sufficient precludes interest in collaboration on someone else’s projects, even when people ultimately don’t create the solutions that they know they can create, and perhaps solutions that they need for immediate projects. Unfortunately the result is often that the Pick IT departments get replaced with expensive platforms where add-ons are the norm and internal development is used not to create components but to glue existing ones together.
Will asked about using a medium more suited for collaboration than the old software running PickWiki. I did migrate PickWiki.com into a prototype environment based on MediaWiki a couple years ago but lacked the time to complete a full migration effort. While still a wiki, MediaWiki is better suited for collaboration than the existing software – for example an issue tracker module can be integrated with the environment:
But for non-wiki CMS… Years ago Glen Batchelor maintained collaborative sites for this community. One was PickSource.com (now gone), based on the PHPNuke CMS. Another was MV Dev Central based on GForge (a personal SourceForge), and I worked with Glen extensively on that one. There were forums, issue trackers, and a project page for each project. It’s my impression that he was constantly frustrated that with the numerous projects hosted there that only a small number of people wanted to use free code, and few offered anything back – even much commentary. These sites died a lonely death.
Aside from community-supported sites, there are projects on SourceForge. Here’s another project that died a lonely death for reasons described above.
Ironically, this market isn’t even very good about following blogs. The few of us who do blog get such little traffic from the MV market that these sites are largely used more for personal catharsis than as central repositories for information. The resources are horribly under-used in a market where many people hunger for knowledge on some topics – “demand” just isn’t interested in “supply”.
The problem is not in where these projects are hosted, but in the mindset of the MV community. Anyone can post a project anywhere and point others to it, but “build it and hope that they will come” doesn’t work at all in this community. It’s the Who, not the Where problem that needs to be solved.