[Evangelism] Re: SPI vs Plone Foundation

Alexander Limi limi at plone.org
Sat Aug 23 08:47:37 UTC 2008

On Thu, 21 Aug 2008 15:01:41 -0700, Karl Horak  
<KEHORAK at sandia.gov> wrote:

> Ray replied, "Playing devil's advocate: Why isn't the Plone Foundation  
> just
> a waste of money duplicating overheads (bank fees, corporation filing  
> fees,
> ...) when Plone could be part of SPI? Is debian (SPI's largest project)
> really smaller than Plone?"
> I encourage someone from the Foundation who is in LinkedIn (Nate?) to
> respond to Ray.

As mentioned in a discussion on this in a different thread — it's not  
about "duplication of effort" or money spent or anything like that. It's  
about focus, and the people involved. Without a razor-sharp focus,  
foundations — especially those run by software developers — tend towards  
becoming very inefficient.

Plone has been blessed with a heck of a team on this front, superstars  
like Jon Stahl, Steve McMahon, Joel Burton, et al — people that are really  
good at the boring, but important work that goes into the Plone  
Foundation, and directs Plone forward while still letting it be mainly  
driven by the community itself.

It's part of the reason why we never wanted to be part of something like  
SPI. Apache was also considered for a while (they do similar things, look  
at their "incubator" process) — but none of them seemed like a good fit  
culturally. We're different, and I shamelessly believe that we have proven  
capable of running the Foundation in the original spirit of Plone. Getting  
some seed money to start with was a good thing too, we avoided a lot of  
the teething problems that foundations seem to go through on the financial  
side of things.

> Is Debian smaller than Plone?  My research shows attendance at a recent
> Debian conference to be ~250, which is considerably smaller than Plone
> conference attendance.  Does anyone else have any comparison points for  
> the size of the Debian community when compared with Plone?

Debian is somewhat notorious for its non-inclusive and hostile community.  
They are probably bigger as a community, but a lot of people jumped ship  
(community-wise) when a more inclusive version of their distro came along  
— Ubuntu. This is not a bad thing, it helps focus — it's just an  
observation from the outside.

(This is not meant as a criticism of Debian, I think they do great work,  
and I have a lot of respect for them — I just don't think they do a good  
job at community management. That's a purely speculative opinion too, I  
haven't really looked into exactly why they seem to have this problem, so  
I might be talking out of my proverbial *** :)

Alexander Limi · http://limi.net

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