This declaration of values and viewpoints on Open Source Software development and business requirements shall reflect our common understanding as a team in a complex world of personal preferences and common requirements to function increasingly healthy, happily and pleasantly together.
Past separations of "Open Source" AGAINST "Business" or the split
of topics and cultures have caused turmoil between colleagues and
misunderstandings to a level, that we feel it is time to address.
Since the concepts of Open Source and Free Software were formalized in the 80s and 90s of the last century, they have been constantly confusing people from other industries and from outside the software business.
Either the fear of "Why should someone pay for freely available software?" or the expectation that someone will copy and steal the openly accessible product have triggered misperception of the Open Source method and by that caused ultimateley a basic "marketing problem" for many Open Source businesses.
We think that Open Source can be a very attractive method to develop
excellent software products. We also think, that choosing this method
does not automatically make our (or any) product better.
Open Source for product development has to be carefully planned out, sensitively managed by all developers and team members and finally be constantly adjusted to the fast paced evolvement of development best practices and technologies.
It also involves a fundamental understanding of software licensing and avoiding the pitfalls of miscommunication in a very complex group of people with very different backgrounds and interests.
Some developers just want to improve the world or are drawn into solving complex problems for the fun of it. Some want fame. Some want to use their code as "self marketing" to make more money.
We are OK with this. We will try to understand and help each other with these goals and if we do not like them, we will try to find a compromise. Actively.
a) Our code and ideas are visible to the world. It has an exemplatory
and educational meaning as well as a "marketing meaning" for us as a group.
We have to be more meticulous and strict in our way of development than in closed code environments, because others might copy us and bad code or bad coding style might be copied by others and worsen certain technologies, that should improve the daily life of thousands.
In those aspects: We are taking the hard way to develop a product by choice and we are aware of it. We value the fact, that our product shall improve the life of users - however small the improvement is on the scale of things.
b) As a development method above the daily processes (Agile, SCRUM, XP, etc.) it
is selected by us to support the users of the product. It inherently and
actively asks the users out there to give feedback and critize our product.
This has to be understood, valued and accepted by the whole company or the concept of Open Source does not work in business.
Feedback and ideas of users also have to be managed and evaluated in a structured process.
Simply put: "Business" means to make more money that we spend in an entity
we are calling "our company". In the modern software world, solid business growth
is achieved by selling licenses and services around the software product to
users, who need the software for specific problems and therefor are willing
to pay for it.
Accepting and dealing with this monetary aspect for a company and as a group of people with very different goals, values and opinions is our core challenge.
By upholding and expanding the Open Source method in our product development we have to carefully decide on each module, each hour of service and each request from the outside of our company:
Is this part strengthening our core product and helping us to thrive as a company or is it following the natural desire of other business entities to earn more than they spend (on us)?
Growth for us means primarily to reach more users with our work and to sustain
this growth with solid internal structures and methods. Financing this growth
with money is only (however important) means for this purpose.
We believe our products are and continously will be useful and crucial to many users, companies and institutions. So, whenever users want or need our software for business purposes, we believe, we can and should be rewarded for the product and services around it. These rewards do not necessarily need to be money, but in order to continue to produce better software, we will continue to put prices on certain parts of our doing and production and come up with new commercial aspects of our work under Open Source rules.
Deskfiler is a product of:
Contact: Ralf Schwoebel
VAT ID: DE301805620
Commercially registered in Frankfurt/M., Germany under HR-B: 102875