Seems to me DH is doing the user base a dis-service by still offering dotProject. It hasn’t been updated in years (according to the website). There hasn’t been a single request for info here in a year or so. The web2Project app, a spinoff from dotProject, has had a few updates within the last year, but even there it looks like developers have largely lost interest.
As much as I like the OpenVBX software, I’d have to say the same about that one. It’s simply not maintained and it’s becoming tougher to get answers about basic usage. There’s almost no one still looking at the source anymore and most of the plugins are not maintained.
I wonder how many other apps are in this condition.
This sort of thing simply happens to FOSS projects. Some one individual gets a brilliant idea and spends every free moment to create excellent software in a fit of passion that only another developer could appreciate. They convey their passion to others and with any luck a Team developers. With luck, the software gets a lot of updates over time, the issue tracker is packed with open and closed enhancement requests as users become enamored and dependent on the software. But over time developers find other things to occupy their free time. They grow weary of the abuse of angry and demanding users who contribute nothing. They have families, jobs, and other things to do. The projects lose developers and eventually go stale. New developers aren’t interested in old software written by someone else - they have their own new and brilliant dreams to pursue. The user community is left with thousands of dead and under-maintained FOSS packages, killed off sometimes by over-popularity and people who don’t “get” the thing about Liberty versus Beer.
With all of the PHP developers in the world, and the popularity of the LAMP stack, you’d think this sort of thing wouldn’t happen. There would seem to be an endless supply of people to keep these popular packages alive. But the lack of stability of a “quid pro quo” model in the FOSS model has created this inherently volatile situation. More plainly stated, developers simply aren’t motivated to fix code for someone else’s benefit, especially when almost everyone expects their software to be “free” as in Beer.
We see this same thing happening with FOSS components as well as main projects. Drupal is hugely popular, but with every release we find modules that no longer work, and no one wants to maintain them. Part of the unspoken agreement that people make when they get a shared host and load it with FOSS, is that the software cannot be guaranteed to have the same features from one year to the next. You will upgrade, modules will break, you may never get them working again, you will have to decide to let some of those modules go and to adopt new ones which have a similar life cycle. The alternative of course is to compensate developers to help maintain software that you find of value. But really, how many people do this? Rather than paying someone to fix FOSS, most people would rather dump a module, and like a locust just move on to the next one. This is the “free Beer” issue playing out.
Well, how many of the One-Click packages have followed this pattern? I don’t know. Anyone? Is it now a dis-service to saddle DH users with software that has no future, something that they will come to regret later - and perhaps blame their host for the time lost? How many DH users realize that they’re installing a dead package when they do it? How many site managers are savvy enough to realize a package is dead and not use it? … Can DH see that reflected in decreasing popularity of specific One-Click installs?
Is it time for DH to review these packages? Stop offering new downloads for dead apps? Encourage users to start looking elsewhere? Start looking for alternatives?
Or might DH consider becoming the savior of the FOSS world, taking in these orphan packages, compensating developers for their time, making a real business out of getting people to understand the model, and getting them to pay for keeping their software of choice alive?
Is it time for me to shut up? Yeah, I can answer That one.
Thanks for your time.