[OOTB-hive] Perception of Order of the Bee

Richard Esplin richard.esplin at alfresco.com
Thu Oct 16 19:50:53 BST 2014

Thank you for sharing your thoughts Tahir.

I'm glad to see that you share my impression of the progress we are making.

But I need to disagree with the idea that the Order of the Bee needs to put 
pressure on Alfresco. As I frequently remind members of the Alfresco team: 
open source is about giving people the ability to do what is best for them, 
not about coercing other parties into meeting our needs.

The Order's influence is maximized when members do great things that benefit the 
community. Alfresco Software has recognized those contributions, and is 
motivated to act in a way that encourages more contributions. This is a very 
positive influence.

Individual members of the Order can further encourage specific action by 
engaging on an individual basis with employees of Alfresco. But it is hard for 
the Order as an entity to advocate for change in Alfresco without losing its 

I think when we discuss "pressuring" another group, the conversation moves 
from being collaborative to being adversarial.



On Thursday, October 16, 2014 20:36:23 Tahir Malik wrote:
> Ho Richard,
> Sure at the time writing it, it was good. There were even times I thought
> about what to do when Alfresco only goes Enterprise only and the only
> result that came up was forking.
> Now after meeting the Alfresco board (spoke to Brian in specific) I've got a
> good feeling that we'll get there where both the parties will benefit of
> each other.
> So I personally don't need the fork statement written in the lines, but you
> write these things for good and worse. So in worse case this might happen.
> And about the gun to the head thing. I'm not sure if forking is the right
> statement, but we need something to put some pressure on Alfresco.
> Met vriendelijke groet,
> Tahir Shazad Malik
> Contezza
> -----Original Message-----
> From: "Oksana Kurysheva" <okurysheva at itdhq.com>
> Sent: ‎16/‎10/‎2014 20:18
> To: "Richard Esplin" <richard.esplin at alfresco.com>
> Cc: "ootb-hive at xtreamlab.net" <ootb-hive at xtreamlab.net>
> Subject: Re: [OOTB-hive] Perception of Order of the Bee
> 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
> 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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