[OOTB-hive] Perception of Order of the Bee

Richard Esplin richard.esplin at alfresco.com
Thu Oct 16 18:37:55 BST 2014

Boriss' email about Summit prompted me to share a concern. I completely agree 
with Boriss' upbeat view of Summit and the role played by Order of the Bee. It 
was very positive.

I want to caution that we need to be careful to emphasize the cooperative 
relationship the Order of the Bee has with Alfresco Software.

Those who have read the list archives know that the goals of the Order of the 
Bee are very complimentary to the goals of Alfresco Software. The founding of 
the Order was motivated by concerns that Alfresco Software was moving away 
from its open source roots, and the organization of the Order prompted 
Alfresco management to examine that perception and to formalize the role open 
source plays in our current strategy. Alfresco leadership did not feel that 
they were moving away from open source, but they recognized that they had 
stopped emphasizing it as they focused on increasing the go-to-market 
capability of the company. Alfresco Software now intends to renew its 
investment in our open source and developer communities. This is an important 

However, I have heard a few Alfresco employees (not management) refer to the 
Order of the Bee as "a gun to the head of Alfresco threatening to fork if 
Alfresco doesn't meet their demands". This perception is not constructive as 
it undermines our cooperative relationship.

Alfresco management recognizes that the governance of Order of the Bee 
provides a useful assurance to our customers that Alfresco is truly an open 
source alternative for content management. We also recognize that no product 
will meet everyone's needs, and one of the strengths of open source is that 
people can fork at any time to meet their own objectives.

We also recognize that many of the goals of the Order of the Bee are around 
filling gaps where Alfresco should do a better job in nurturing our open source 
community. We are humbled to admit our deficiencies, but we are grateful for 
the help.

Likewise, Order of the Bee has previously discussed forking Community Edition 
and decided that is not part of the current mission. So long as Community 
Edition continues to be an innovative product, it seems like a waste of effort 
to divide the larger Alfresco community.

The perception that Order of the Bee is a group who is hostile to the business 
interests of Alfresco Software is rooted in misunderstandings and a lack of 
trust. That will take time to over come.

Likewise, I sense that there are many members of the Order of the Bee who do 
not trust Alfresco management. Though I might not always agree with the 
company's course, I feel that they have been transparent in setting a course, 
following it, and explaining when it changes. I am optimistic that open source 
is again an explicit part of our strategy. It will take time for the community 
to see the results of these efforts, and those who only want to see the 
problems will probably never be convinced. Our execution has always had gaps, 
but members of the Order of the Bee can help recognize the good things 
Alfresco Software is doing.

Having personally spoken with the leaders of both Alfresco Software and Order 
of the Bee, I see trust consistently growing. I recommend we be cautious to 
create an atmosphere that nurtures trust and collaboration. We need to be 
aware that some of our jokes undermine that trust, some of our efforts might be 
misunderstood, and we often need to overcome a negative preconception. We need 
to go to lengths to engage not just with Alfresco senior management, but with 
employees throughout the organization, as well as partners and customers.

Thank you for all of your efforts and enthusiasm.


Richard Esplin
Head of Community Relations
Tel: +1 801 855 0866
Mobile: +1 801 735 4220
Skype: esplinr

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