We used to run an IRC channel at Ontopia since … basically since forever, as a quick and easy place for customers and partners to get hold of us and ask questions. This was, however, on a server we ran, and protected by a password. We have now moved onto the open network run by Freenode. So please log into irc.freenode.net and join us on the channel #ontopia!
The kickoff meeting for the open source project was a success with more than 20 participants from Norway, Japan, Belgium, the Netherlands, the US, and Germany. We also had a fair amount of interest from the Norwegian press, which has resulted in one article already, and probably more will follow.
There was extensive discussion at the meeting, and so the discussion actually lasted for four hours, covering a number of different issues. This post is an attempt to summarize the points made, but if anything has been left out please use the comments to remind us so that we don’t lose any of the input. The slides from the meeting can be found here.
This issue was discussed extensively, and there seemed to be a rough consensus that having a single owner of the codebase would be better than the usual “distributed ownership” model. Bouvet agreed to get a better estimate of the likely cost of setting up a foundation in Norway, and a number of participants offered to check what the prices would be in their home countries. It was agreed that Bouvet would start raising funds from the community to cover the costs, and that a foundation would only be set up if sufficient funds could be gathered.
Bouvet would also investigate what it would take to get Ontopia accepted into the Apache Foundation and to seriously consider this route as an alternative.
This was also discussed in depth, and in the end it was agreed that the Apache 2.0 License seemed the best fit. The GPL license was explicitly rejected, since it would cause serious difficulties for some Ontopia customers.
There was general agreement that the project would need a web site to promote itself, and that ontopia.net was the natural site for this, since the hosting alternatives studied so far provide rather poor site capabilities.
It was also agreed that the actual developer infrastructure would be better hosted elsewhere. Various alternatives had already been studied by Bouvet, with Google Code as the main contender. Some attendees were skeptical to this proposal, and others proposed Launchpad and Gitorious as alternatives. The conclusion was that Bouvet would study the new proposals, and that the decision would be made later, but that it would need to be made very soon to meet the July 1st deadline.
One participant proposed setting up something a la MuleForge to make it easier to contribute new modules to the project.
It was also noted that if the project is accepted by the Apache Software Foundation the necessary infrastructure will be provided by the ASF.
The news that Bouvet is investigating integrations with the Liferay and Alfresco CMSs were very positively received. One attending company revealed that they were also working on an integration with Liferay.
Some participants wanted to see a roadmap for further development, but it was agreed that it would be better for the community to develop one than for Bouvet to simply announce one. Discussion of this was therefore deferred to the mailing list.
Reactions to Bouvet continuing to provide support were generally positive, and there was a general expectation that others would also be likely to want to provide support and other services around the product. A number of participants wanted to see certification of support providers, and while there was general agreement that this would be a good thing, no practical solution was found, and so the issue was put aside for the time being.
The proposal for project governance in the slides was accepted without much discussion. One participant brought up the possibility of using the benevolent dictator model, but this foundered on the lack of an obvious candidate for the post.
One participant emphasized the importance of having a mission statement for the project to help the community agree on a common direction. There was general agreement that settling on a mission statement was best done via the mailing list.
Bouvet promised to set up a forum where discussions could be continued after the meeting, and have now done so at Google Groups.
Finally, after about four hours, the meeting was adjourned, and participants moved next door for some beer in the sunshine.
That’s all! If you have any feedback, questions, or whatever, please post it in the comments or to the mailing list.
This is the blog of the Ontopia project, where we will be posting news relevant to the project. Exactly how we will use the blog is not yet clear, but expect to see news of new releases and other significant developments posted here.