[OOTB-hive] Perception of Order of the Bee

Richard Esplin richard.esplin at alfresco.com
Thu Oct 16 19:43:03 BST 2014

I appreciate the response Oksana.

I have discussed Honeycomb with a lot of Alfresco leadership, including Thomas 
De Meo. Everyone thinks it is a great idea.

I really like the rest of the mission statement.

Even with this change to the mission statement, I think we need to be careful 
about how the Order is perceived. A strong collaboration between the Order and 
Alfresco Software is in everyone's best interests.



On Thursday, October 16, 2014 22:18:23 Oksana Kurysheva wrote:
> Hello Richard,
> This statement caused many disputes between members of the Order. Finally we
> published it in September, you are right. It was a time of difficult
> disputes in the Order. In any case we discussed only today with Boriss that
> we should update our mission on the website because it should comply our
> by-laws. Please do not worry, we are going to remove this statement in the
> nearest days after we agree on the new text. As we discussed before, we are
> going to provide packages that will include Alfresco Community + some
> add-ons + custom install scripts. It is a goal of the DISTRO committee. But
> we are not going to fork Alfresco or to provide any services to your
> customers as the Order.
> Best regards,
> Oksana
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Richard Esplin" <richard.esplin at alfresco.com>
> To: ootb-hive at xtreamlab.net
> Sent: Thursday, October 16, 2014 10:03:16 PM
> Subject: Re: [OOTB-hive] Perception of Order of the Bee
> Sending this email resulted in my being directed to the current mission of
> Order of the Bee as stated on the web site. Clause 4 of the mission
> currently states "we may be forced to fork if Alfresco Software takes an
> action contrary to the idea of open source". I'm not sure how I missed the
> conversation about the detailed mission statement, but it was added to the
> web site in early September while I was heads-down with Summit.
> I can see why Alfresco employees who read this message take it as a threat.
> It was pointed out to me by Alfresco employees who feel uncomfortable being
> affiliated with Order of the Bee due to this clause. Based on the list
> archives, it is not just employees of Alfresco who don't want to be
> associated with a movement to fork the Alfresco community.
> And based on the list archives, I don't think anyone in the Order is
> seriously considering a fork at this time.
> The Order of the Bee mission is to "guarantee the existence of Alfresco
> Community Edition as a free/libre open source solution for document
> management." We all agree on this. And we all recognize that a fork would be
> one way to fulfill that guarantee. I think explicitly calling that out in
> the mission creates an antagonistic impression that is not in the best
> interests of the Order.
> I suggest that clause be removed from the mission statement.
> Thanks,
> Richard
> On Thursday, October 16, 2014 11:37:55 Richard Esplin wrote:
> > 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 result.
> > 
> > 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
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