Monday, November 9, 2009

WSO2 practicing open development further

From the time we started WSO2, Paul and I have both been completely certain that we always wanted to be a truly open company. That is, not a proprietary/closed company which simply releases software under an open source license, but rather a company which is more like an open source project in terms of how it does its technical work. The reason for this is because we believe that being open will bring more people to participate in our work which will eventually help us do better than our less-open competitors. Nope, we are not about to share how we do are doing business :-).

That of course comes from our Apache legacy of having started so many different projects and watching many of them succeed beyond our wildest dreams. Apache SOAP, Apache Axis, Apache Axis2, Apache Synapse, Apache WSIF are some of the examples.

We of course started the WSO2 Oxygen Tank ( for exactly that purpose. ALL of our code is there and we had a ton of different mailing lists for all the different projects.

That’s where the problems first started – by having separate mailing lists for each project/product, it became cumbersome for us to keep track of all the lists and to participate properly in all of them. Also, as we moved towards unifying our products around a single framework (as we’ve now done with WSO2 Carbon), the separate lists meant that every conversation had to be cc’ed to multiple lists – very annoying when you’re on the receiving end via multiple lists.

The other part of the problem was that we also had to have some internal communication mechanism to discuss customer issues. So we set up an internal list called architecture@ which was meant to be ONLY for customer issues – stuff that we couldn’t discuss publicly because they involved specific customer issues. However, due to a variety of reasons, over time the architecture@ list became the place where we ended up discussing many of the core issues that we went through when making the transition to Carbon.

Not any more!

We have recently done a MAJOR re-org of all the lists and also done a major cleanup of all internal lists. Now on we have:

  • 3 –dev lists: carbon-dev, wsf-dev and commons-dev. Carbon-dev is for all discussion related to all Carbon core stuff and every product built with it (ESB, WSAS, BAM etc.). WSF-dev is for discussion related to Web service frameworks – the low level stuff that provides WS-* functionality for Carbon. Commons-dev is to discuss all “other” projects in OxygenTank; stuff that’s common to various bits but not strictly a Carbon product or a WSF product.
  • Corresponding –issues and –svn lists: to separate user discussions, JIRA notifications and SVN notifications, respectively.
  • Per product –user lists and of course forums.
  • New public list which is used for all architecture discussions. If you’re more of a high level person then that’s the most interesting list to participate in to understand what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, how we’re doing it and of course to be part of the process of deciding what/when/how we do it. Competitors are welcome, especially those that want to de-cloak ;-).

Internally, the architecture@ list is gone for good! Instead, we now have a support-dev list to discuss customer issues and ONLY customer issues. In addition, we have a strategy@ list to discuss how we plan to take over the world (;-)) and a few other lists which will become apparent soon! However, if the discussion is related to any architectural matters related to any of our products, it WILL happen on architecture@.

Want to be part of our [extended] family? Come join us on See:

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