TWiki was born as a collaborative project 14 years ago. The TWiki project changed the workplace for many people in a fundamental way, bringing more transparency, accountability and flexibility to the workplace. In the last release meeting we briefly discussed the idea of creating a foundation for the open source TWiki project. I believe it is time to initiate a foundation so that we can get broader participation by the community.
I would also like to share some related news with the TWiki community: After long consideration I decided to leave Twiki Inc, the company. I enjoyed tremendously working with very dedicated and professional folks. So it is hard to depart from a company I co-founded 5 years ago. I am leaving the company for two reasons: Family and TWiki.org community. I'd like to be able to better take care for my family. In the interim I will do consulting, and I am looking for a new opportunity that matches my skill set.
I also want to be able to focus more on the TWiki.org community, which I believe I am now in a much better position to serve. Over the last three years I have been trying very hard to increase the open source community. We had some success, but too little in my opinion. I see several reasons for this. In October 2008 we relaunched the TWiki.org project with an Ubuntu style governance model. This brought more focus to the project (some contributors who disagreed departed), and brought professionalism to the community. The rock solid releases we had since then attest that this model works. This governance model also meant that one company is supporting and nurturing the community. Unfortunately the company was never in the position to substantially support the community, and there was a perception that "the community is taken care of" resulting in other companies not to get involved, which was an unfavorable position for the community to be in. I see this as the biggest reason for missing out on more community engagement. I'd like to tweak our processes to make TWiki.org an attractive place for geeks, consultants and companies using TWiki to contribute on a regular basis.
What if we establish a structure where companies can easily support the project, either monetary or with geek power? Think Eclipse model. What if we establish a structure where consultants are incentivized to contribute because they can make money doing so? Think certification program.
Which brings me back to the TWiki foundation question. If we create a foundation or join an existing foundation we can define a structure where TWiki.org becomes an attractive place to hang out and engage. This is an opportunity to strengthen the community.
Opinions? I invite you to participate and discuss this in our upcoming TWiki Jerusalem Release Meeting on 2012-03-02, which is this Thursday or Friday depending on your time zone.