What happens when a corporation tries to restructure (or even power grab) an open source project? Miro found out the hard way, when they tried to reorganize the development of Mambo. The case could prove to be a warning for all open source projects that have associated corporations.
In San Francisco, the LinuxWorld 2005 Conference & Expo packaged both good and horrible news for the open source community that develops Mambo software, an extremely popular CMS (Content Management System) that web developers use as an easy interface to build websites. As for the good news, Mambo received the 2005 award for Best Open Source Solution.
However, the bad news from the conference is fragmenting the whole Mambo community. Miro International, the corporation backing Mambo, had formed a new entity to restructure the entire development effort. The new entity is a nonprofit organization, called the Mambo Foundation. The foundation had just been approved during the conference, and it was not what the core developers had expected. The development team saw it as a strike against their open source principles and involvement in Mambo. The community quickly splintered; the core developers took Mambo’s code and started their own CMS project apart from Miro. The new CMS, Joomla, is becoming a Mambo “counterculture.”
That LinuxWorld announcement was on August 10th. Now, a month later, the dust has started to settle and we can see how things are panning out. Let’s take a look at what the new Mambo Foundation means to the community and for open source corporations in general.