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.
The trouble seems to have started with Miro taking their own spin on the MSC's agreement. Of course, the Core Development Team was not informed that anything had been changed or added, so they did not find out until LinuxWorld Expo. Brian Teeman explained to me his reaction to the situation:
Foundation documents were drawn up with the full agreement of the entire MSC as the result of a two day long meeting held at Miro's offices in Australia. As far as Andrew Eddie and myself were aware, it was these foundation documents, drawn up by a highly respected IP lawyer, that were registered with the Victoria State in Australia. Every time we checked on the progress of this application for the creation of a non-profit foundation, we were informed that it was working its way through the legal process. During the San Francisco LinuxWorld Expo, the Victoria State website showed that the Foundation's application for incorporation had been approved. I brought this to the attention of the rest of the MSC with an announcement of joy that the application was successful. The following day the Mambo Development team received the news from Mr. Lamont that the actual foundation that had been created was not the one that the MSC had approved.
The Letter to the Community
On August 17th, the entire Core Development Team responded to Miro’s creation of the Mambo Foundation. They felt as if Miro had undermined their agreement and had omitted from the process of shaping the governing organization, and they saw the foundation as opposing fundamental open source principles. Every one of them resigned, and they signed a letter to the Mambo community explaining why. This is the second half of it:
We believe the future of Mambo should be controlled by the demands of its users and the abilities of its developers. The Mambo Foundation is designed to grant that control to Miro, a design that makes cooperation between the Foundation and the community impossible.
The Mambo Foundation was formed without regard to the concerns of the core development teams. We, the community, have no voice in its government or the future direction of Mambo. The Mambo Steering Committee made up of development team and Miro representatives authorized incorporation of the Foundation and should form the first Board. Miro CEO Peter Lamont has taken it upon himself to incorporate the Foundation and appoint the Board without consulting the two development team representatives, Andrew Eddie and Brian Teeman.
Although Mr. Lamont through the MSC promised to transfer the Mambo copyright to the Foundation, Miro now refuses to do so.
What we will do: We will continue to develop and improve a version of this award-winning software project currently released under the GNU General Public License. We wish Miro and the Mambo Foundation well and regret that we are not able to work with them. (source)
It seems that the major problem for the developers was that the MSC's agreement was not stricktly followed in how the foundation was formed, and they felt Miro was pulling control of the project away.