TWiki Watch

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Chronological notes


Tom Barton's Statement Oct 2008

  • Original Statement on
  • Tom Barton is saying that TWiki will be given a broader agenda. He asks "Is anyone thinking about how to create a framework and set of APIs to make it easy for arbitrary blog engines or social networking engines to attach into an enterprise collaboration framework? Is anyone thinking about how to standardize data about people, so that it can be shared between different collaboration apps? AD/LDAP approaches are all aimed at authentication and access control, not at capturing richer information about people. Is anyone thinking about how to augment the OpenSocial API to make it more relevant for enterprises and allow people to manage their social graphs between their consumer and enterprise lives, and implement clear privacy rules between the two?"
  • This seems to indicate a repositioning of TWiki (both dot org and dot net).

TWIKI.NET proprietary applications

The site (dead link) lists the following applications:
  • Sales Pipeline Tracker (SPT) for 5'995,00 US-Dollars
  • Datacenter Outage Tracker (DOT) with Nagios for 3'495,00 US-Dollar
  • Document Management System (DMS) for 4'995,00 US-Dollars

Not a lot of traffic at Google on NextWiki yet of course. But the headlines it has found are interesting:

2008/12/01: According to TWiki:Codev.TWikiOrgStatistics, "Monthly Topic Updates" fell from 6680 in 2008/10 to 3775 in 2008/11. That low a value hasn't been seen since 2004 (kind of like my stock portfolio lately).

TWikiWatchTWikiContributors provides a list of TWiki:Codev contributors which have created accounts here.

Whither TWiki?

Or should that be Wither TWiki? Some good questions from the community about where TWiki is going to go, and totally unsubstantiated speculation as to the answers. Please keep it polite and professional - this may be read by many people.

Was the TWIKI.NET move to enforce the new governance model a deliberate ploy to cleanse the community

of at least some of the more vocal members opposing the commercial interests of TWIKI.NET?
  • Speculation Who knows? I would guess the answer is "yes", but it would purely be a guess. On the other hand it may have been a genuine, if misguided, attempt to get the project moving again.
    -- CrawfordCurrie

Does anyone know what sort of resources are available to TWIKI.NET?

(both manpower and monetary) that would allow them to redesign the core of TWIKI to their own purposes? Surely they would need large investment in order to take on this challenge. Do they have the internal technical resources available? From what I see on the Support web of this would not seem to be the case.
  • Speculation I would guess that there are very few actual employees of TWIKI.NET, and they have used subcontractors to do the bulk of the technical work. In terms of resources available to them, that's anyone's guess. It's possible that by taking unilateral control of the TWiki project their investors are now satisfied enough to release new capital.

    In terms of the investment required; that's also hard to judge. As far as I can see the bulk of their investment to date has been on PR, with a proportion spent on the technical work for their "Certifiable TWiki" VM product. I would guess that technical effort was anywhere from 5 to 10 man years, though that is a wild guess (I have no knowledge of what they actually did).
    As for what they'd have to do next; well, as I see it they have several options.

    • Invest in high quality technical resources, similar to those working on Foswiki, to seed new community growth in TWiki,
    • Outsource the bulk of the technical work to a very competent external team,
    • Sit on TWiki, wait for Foswiki to release, then rebrand it as "TWiki" and carry on as before,
    • Something else I haven't thought of yet. Whichever route they follow, in the short term they will have to keep pace with Foswiki somehow, or they will lose all their existing users.
      -- CrawfordCurrie

Are there enough resources remaining within the TWiki community?

to take the hit of the fork but come out the other side? I mean the fact that TWiki is heavily documented, they could possisbly outsource some of the coding effort, and have almost full say on the design and future direction of the product
  • Speculation There do not appear to be any volunteer resources left working on TWiki. TWiki is not that complex a system, but there is a lot of it, and some of it is quite arcane. The learning curve for a new contributor is extremely steep, and in the past has depended heavily on training from within the community. All those trainers are now working on Foswiki, and not strongly motivated to help out TWiki. It is likely that Peter trusts his own ability to train new folks, however.
    -- CrawfordCurrie

I personally can see benefits for both sides of the fork

(hear me out smile ), Foswiki are now in a position to quickly innovate the concept at a much greater speed in the interest of the general public while TWIKI.NET are in a position where they can better meet existing client needs (i.e. customised TWiki) rather than having to think of the broader public requirements. TWIKI.NET had been delivering their "certified TWiki" product which was somewhat behind the later 4.2. releases. This reminds me somewhat of the Fedora/Redhat Enterprise versions that co-exist at present.
  • Speculation The model TWIKI.NET has chosen to pursue for the general public is based on Ubuntu, who started with Debian and grew a new community. What seems to have been missed is that fact that Mark Shuttleworth has apparently bottomless pockets, yet it has still taken several years to overhaul Debian. Perhaps TWIKI.NET has access to such deep pockets; if so, good luck to them. Perhaps TWIKI.NET can customise faster than the consultants working on Foswiki; however in the past they have turned to that group to get access to that kind of expertise, so I suspect they have a considerable hill to climb before they can provide that service to an adequate level.
    -- CrawfordCurrie

Will eventually be disbanded?

and integrated into TWIKI.NET? If so will the support for TWiki be also be brought inside the company (i.e. for corporate customers only?)
  • Speculation I would guess no, not any time soon. Despite their aggression towards the old community, the success of TWiki as a product still depends heavily on the fact that it is volunteer open source. The loss of the volunteer community may be addressed (see above) but for that to happen it is critical that there is a site.
    There doesn't seem to be any other route open to existing users than purchasing support, though most will be more than satisfied with the support they receive from Foswiki.
    -- CrawfordCurrie

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Topic revision: r28 - 24 Jun 2013, MichaelDaum
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