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 core developers assumed they would have a chance to be part of the board, but only Andrew Eddie was made a board member (though for some reason he was never told about this). Miro claims that only 2 of the 5 Board members are Miro employees, so Miro is not trying to use the board as a tool to take control. They also said being on the board will be so time consuming that it would require developers to leave the core team, but they never really gave any developers the choice.
On a quick side note, Miro invited Robert Castley back to be one of the board members. He accepted and stuck with the Mambo board, even after Joomla was formed. However, he soon re-reigned. Miro supporters say his reason for this was the ridicule and harassment from those who supported the developers, some calling him Miro's "Golden Boy." However, Joomla supporters disagree and point to the foundation using more of his time than he expected and not being originally informed of what the foundation was.
How Miro Angered the Core Developers
The developers felt isolated from the decision making process. This was an area they once had control, but it is now difficult for a developer to have any input. Becoming an "ordinary member" of the foundation carries a $10 fee. This $10 allows the person to have a voice in voting for who is on the Board of Regents. To be involved in decision making, they need to be in the upper levels of the Mambo Foundation. This can be accomplished two ways. First, they can be nominated and then approved by those on the board, or they can pay the Mambo Foundation $1,000.
Miro claims that the $1,000 fee is for those who have a commercial interest in directing Mambo to suit a need, and that developers need to pay nothing to work on their own free plug ins. However, this does not satisfy many in the community. They demand a voice over the architecture they use. They want to be the ones to gauge what is most feasible and beneficial from a developerís perspective, and allow everyone to contribute to the process. This is why the core developers were concerned that this was a departure from open source philosophy.
Contributors who code, write documentation, and help in other ways can become "active members" for free. But because it is financially free does not make it openly free. To become an active member, a person must go through an application process and be approved by the Board of Regents. This removes power from the lead developer, who should be able to appoint community developers that have proven their ability to work on the project. Existing members of the community also have to go through the approval process, possibly being judged by people who do not know Mambo and the community as well as they do.
Finally, the developers expected Miro to hand over all Mambo copyrights to the foundation, but that didnít happen. The original agreement of the MSC declared that the intellectual property would be fully transferred. However, when the development team asked to see Miro's letter of intent to transfer the copyrights, the response they received was vaguely, "Don't you trust us?" Miro executives became suspicious that the developers wanted to take control of the copyright and revised their plan; they are granting the foundation an irrevocable license to the copyrights instead of giving them up. It's not clear what made them believe the developers were trying to do take this material or how they could accomplish it under the terms of the MSC's foundation documents.