Forum OpenACS Q&A: Re: Reuse in the large is an unsolved problem !?

Posted by Ciaran De Buitlear on
Just to put people in the picture here's - some reasons why we haven't worked from the OpenACS CVS and given more back to the community. Some of these have greater or smaller impact on us of course. Most of these problems may be “our own fault” and I’m certainly not trying to blame the community or it’s management but simply casting light on the situation.

1) Our company does lots of non OpenACS based work and so working from the OpenACS CVS wouldn't fit with our company's quality system.
2) Only a sub group of our company use OpenACS so the open source mindset is not as prevalent here as in other places. This means it can be difficult to explain time spent on this kind of thing (but I do my best  ).
3) We started out by taking the OpenACS code and changing packages in a fairly business area / client specific manner. This happened in a quite “organic” or chaotic manner initially. These changes would be more of a hindrance than a help to others who are not in the business area we occupy.
4) We provide a business area packaging of the OpenACS (in a similar way to .Lrn) which centers around the Petri net workflow and ticket tracker and as the Petri net workflow seemed dead in the water it seemed that our stuff would be of no use.
5) In competitive environment getting changes specified, cleared with our clients, coded, tested and released is pretty much all we have time for. I’m not sure how we could fit in a consultation process with the community. Part of this problem of course could lie with me as I’ve always found it hard to converse usefully via a bulletin board.
6) We also have some packages that we would prefer not to GPL for similar reasons to Frank’s.
7) We operate in the same type of space as Frank and have the same issues that things we’re doing are not interesting to the community (or so I’ve found).

Ok so on what we have done and would like to do:
1) We have contributed two packages to OpenACS. Templated letters and
2) ePDQ credit card payment integration
3) We have hired contractors from the community.
4) I encourage our developers to contribute to the forums as much as possible.
5) I believe we have features in our code base that would be useful to the OpenACS and others that would not but would like to figure out which ones would be of benefit to the community so that we release them. Here’s my post about this: . I’ve asked Christian Knopfel Eva to take this on and he should be in the office this week so expect to see more.