inadmissible

Share your information… But be prepared to have it censored if you are not a partner

May 22nd, 2009

Recently I decided to add a one-sentence informational message to the contribution pages and project pages of many of the eZ Publish extensions I wrote in the past, that are still in use and which I’m willing to further maintain and improve.

Paid maintenance and support are available, contact kristof.coomans@telenet.be for conditions and pricing.

My goal was to let people know that there is more available than just the free (GPL-licensed) code which comes without any guarantees. Getting some small money out of support and guaranteed maintenance versions that are compatible with new eZ Publish versions, would give me eventually a bigger margin to contribute more free code and improve what exists already.

However, eZ Systems decided against this. I received a mail from them to notice that my message would be removed, because the community is not a place for commercial messages. I do not agree with their decision though, as I think it’s just about sharing information (I did not fill the whole description field with commercial/marking “blablabla” talk). Sharing this kind of information is probably a privilege for eZ Systems partners only. Isn’t everybody who contributes a partner in some sense, even if you don’t contribute fees?

I say bye to eZ Projects, since I do not want my extensions’ description to be censored this way. Bye to the ez.no contribution section as well, which was supposed to be closed actually already for a long time in favor of eZ Projects.

I’m really wondering how long it will take until I turn my back to all other things that contain “eZ” in their name.

Entry Filed under: eZ Publish

22 Comments Add your own

  • 1. kracker  |  May 22nd, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    I am sorry you were censored. I think eZ Systems is wrong. I’ve seen such messages on other projects ez.no projects and contributions before.

    //kracker

  • 2. Zak Greant  |  May 22nd, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    We’ve both worked with the generally nice people at eZ Systems for years and know that sometimes decisions are not always thought through.

    I believe eZ’s position on this is not well thought out. Contributors – regardless of their partnership status – need to earn money as well.

    As for your position, you can add a notice about there being optional warranties and support to your licensing notice for your source code.

    Drop me a note if you want to discuss good ways to do this.

  • 3. Paul Wilson  |  May 25th, 2009 at 8:13 am

    Hi Kristof,

    Perhaps there is another way to handle this situation – by engaging eZ Publish at Board level to discuss options and hopefully find an approach that works well for everyone.

    A strong community ecosystem is central to the future of eZ Systems. I think this can be taken as a given. Achieving this means finding ways for people to best gain and contribute value through their participation in the community. In effect, you’re looking for another way to offer and gain value via your participation in the eZ community. Entirely reasonable.

    Surely the vast quantity, quality, and variety of contributions you have made to the community places you in the top handful of all-time contributors to eZ Publish’s success and growth. It would be hard to place an appropriate value on this work – not just because of what you’ve written or what your contributions do, but because of what they enable other people to do with eZ Publish. I’m thinking of the “standing on the shoulders of giants” idea here. I’d hope that eZ Systems and the eZ Community would go well out of their way to make sure you gain benefits from your efforts, and that you’re encouraged to keep up the good work.

    I agree with Zak – that eZ Systems (and the eZ community!) would benefit from having some way for contributors to earn money too. For my part, I have some extensions and documentation that would probably be very useful to the community, but I have to spend my time pursing paying customers rather than turning my work into eZ community contributions or services.

    If you’re interested, I’d be happy to work with you on a proposal to eZ Systems on a productive way forward.

    Best regards

    - Paul

    (PS: Even though I’ve not emailed you to say as much, there’s been many times I’ve found myself saying a big “Thank you Kristof!” when reading one of your posts or discovering another one your contributions.)

  • 4. Bruce Morrison  |  May 25th, 2009 at 8:20 am

    Hi Kristof

    Sorry to hear this, especially given the massive contribution you have made to the eZ community over many years. It would seem that individuals like you are more likely to contribute extensions than some of the larger partners and your absence from the community would be a great loss. Hope that something can be sorted.

    cheers
    Bruce

  • 5. Tony Wood  |  May 25th, 2009 at 9:01 am

    Kristof, I agree with Zak, service and support is one solid business model for contributions, partner or otherwise.

    Please keep us updated.

    Tony

  • 6. Andreas Kaiser  |  May 25th, 2009 at 9:11 am

    Can’t say more than the others.

    Working for a small eZ Partner I really can’t understand why such a situation can happen. If we take Joomla as an example – not sure if it’s the best ;) – there are a lot of commercial extensions or commercial support.

    Perhaps the solution is to find a model where eZ System existence and commercial future is compatible with commercial support by the extension coders.

    Fast idea: eZ could have for some extensions a form for commercial support information and take a symbolic fee (because of hosting and promotion). From clients view the support is from the extension coder but also from eZ System, and I think both parties would win…

  • 7. Bertrand Maugain  |  May 26th, 2009 at 9:20 am

    Hi Kristof,

    I am back from some days off and i would like to react on this (sorry for the long comment). This is not in any way censoring your voice.
    I would like as well to rebound on this to explain how both Community and Commercial aspects coexists in the ez ecosystem.

    1) No confusion in the ecosystem
    We should never forget that eZ has an Enterprise Open Source business model, in other words Open Source with a Vendor. This model which makes eZ different and brings benefits from “both worlds” also means that the business model needs to be clear :
    - eZ provides support & maintenance, and core expertise
    - partner provide all implementation, design, hosting; in other words deliver projects
    It is however key to let the community develop and discuss around eZ Publish and contributions. We need to keep the community activities community oriented and I can tell you that we told many partners not to be too commercial in the community. I hope you see that there is nothing personal here.

    This has been a rule we are following for years and i thought you were part on the ones happy about that.

    It is a matter of keeping the community a community place and not a big advertisement market. This is a consequence of our dual model.
    We believe it is best for all people to keep it this way :
    - developers know that they can “trust” the forums, blogs, contribution section in terms of content
    - customers who need commercial help know where to go if they need it.

    2) Value to our partner ecosystem
    The professional part of our ecosystem, our partner network, is incredibly important since they deliver projects and solutions based on eZ technology. It makes a lot of sense to provide value to them since they are the heart of all eZ Publish projects. While we should look at making it easier for people to contact the creators of contributions ( and we are building a new community portal those days), it is important for eZ to provide commercial requests to our partners.

    On this topic, you’re blog post tend to raise the fact that eZ would be censoring community in order to have more partner fees. Again here, i am very surprised, as this is not true : entering the base partnership level (Bronze) is something cheap and with almost no engagement at all ! We have a VERY open partner program that quickly enable people / companies to commercialize officially their eZ Publish work. I would love to talk to you about how you could provide consulting services in the eZ ecosystem. It makes a lot of sense especially for someone like you with high level eZ skills. The Certified extensions model is also interesting for extension developers.

    3) New community portal
    We are working at the moment on a new community site that hopefully will make it easier to contribute, to comment, to react. It should also be easier to get in touch with the creators of contributions or certified developers. However, and again it has nothing to do about censor, non commercial guidelines will still exist. It has to be this way.

    I hope you understand this and why this is beneficial to most people in the community. Please continue to share your extensions on projects.ez.no, let us know the ones you mean should be certified, and let us know what kind of consulting services you could provide. This is the core of the model !

  • 8. Roland Benedetti  |  May 26th, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    Hi Kristof,

    I’ll try to be shorter than Bertrand and will give you my personal opinion here. So this is my voice and not eZ Systems voice.

    I don’t think it is about “censoring” but about a rule that is applied by eZ Systems from long ago and for everyone in the same way. There is good and bad about it and about the way it is applied, but i think however that adapting it should be done for all in an equal way. May be a topic to discuss to a next community meeting with eZ Systems and other community members ? At least to discuss with eZ.

    Now for you and your readers, i just want to raise the fact that this can not be about business or fees that eZ Systems behaved this way ! Bronze entry level partnership cost almost nothing and certified extension model is also not very costly and eZ is encouraging people to develop their own business around eZ with their own extensions. So i think you are looking in the wrong direction here.

    As Zak says, eZ is made of generally nice people. So does the community. In the end, all this is a question of point of view and is very subjective. I don’t think we should enter into emotionnal debates on this topic but may be i miss something. I can only share with you the fact that i think it would very sad and bad for the community and eZ Systems as part of it, if we were not able all to collaborate and develop our businesses, wether we are very small business, big business or others, there is room for much more than we are ! I hope you will find a way to do it, you have very strong assets for that.

  • 9. Kristof  |  May 26th, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    @Bertrand, @Roland

    I can give you several examples of contribution pages on ez.no where there are similar messages, even some extensions with a proprietary license. How do those entries fit in the “spirit” that you are explaining me?. Given that the contributions I am talking about are mostly from long-time eZ partners made me assume that eZ Systems accepts this from their partners and not from others. You can proof my wrong by removing any “commercial minded” information from those contributions as well.

    If there are such rules or guidelines as you both mention, is this mentioned anywhere on ez.no/developer/contribs or projects.ez.no? I only know about forum guidelines, and those I fully agree with.

    Anyhow, I do feel that there should be some margin for ANYONE to put such information on THEIR contribution page. It’s not that extension contributors are spamming the forums with hardly on-topic pointers to their commercial business. If this information sticks on the extension page, IMHO it can not be categorized as a regular “advertisement”. If I would want to have real advertisements, I’d buy adds on my favorite search engine.

    Given the many reactions here and also by mail sent to me privately, from both eZ partners and non-eZ partners, I believe it might be a good idea to rethink your current strategy.

  • 10. Bertrand Maugain  |  May 26th, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    Hi Kristof,

    You are right, there are several places where we have not seen that commercial side of things. I got several links today :-) You are also popular in the community and your extensions are followed carefully which makes it simple for people like me to see that. Popularity is not always a good thing :-) More seriously, we will look into those.

    Yes, we are rethinking this through the new portal that is under development. As I told ( in my previous post), we should enable more interaction between community members. But I still think (as you see, I am open to rethink that) that interaction does not necessarily mean promoting commercial services publicly. We will add guidelines as you propose on this new site.

    I think this discussion is interesting and confirms that our community wants to contribute and interact more. There will be a dedicated session for that in Paris ( on Friday 26th) in the Developer track and even some extra sessions in the afternoon. I hope that many community members will come to bring their feedback in this new phase and discuss the new development & contribution processes.

    To finish : Kristof, please keep on contributing ! :)

  • 11. Bruce Morrison  |  May 27th, 2009 at 4:18 am

    @Bertrand
    I’m quite interested in this discussion as I’m in a similar boat to Kristof, having a number of extensions that I have contributed and are often asked for support or features. Having the option of “advertising” paid support would help these compete with other paid work I do.

    A couple of questions about your comments:

    1) Partner Membership
    Are you implying that if Kristof was a Partner then the comment he added would have been permitted? In saying we told many partners not to be too commercial in the community”, you seem to imply that there is some leeway for partners.

    2) Value to our partner ecosystem
    When you talk about “community” do you mean just partners or does that include non partners as well?
    Is there a place for non-partners in the eZ publish community?
    It seems that partner model doesn’t cater for individual freelancers/consultants

    Do you agree that the statement that Kristof placed on the eZ site was pretty much pointing out the obvious anyway? Is it the words “Paid” & “pricing” that is being objected to? If they were dropped would it be permitted?

    “it is important for eZ to provide commercial requests to our partners” – you seem to be implying that it’s OK for partners to use a contribution provided by Kristof (without cost) but not OK for him as a non-partner to gain commercially from it.

    Even if he was an individual he would likely be at the end of that commercial request queue as leads are offered to higher level members first?*

    3) New community portal
    Are there any details on this?
    Have I missed the community consultation?
    Do you see any irony in saying that a community portal is in the works but not having engaged the community as to it’s form?

    I think we’d all agree that the the eZ community is a better place with Kristof involved, it’s also a better place with better quality contributions. Permitting Kirstof’s “advertisement” helps achieve both, the current responses seems to be a statement of facts and not offer any compromise.

    Is there some message that eZ would be happy with?

    *Please correct any misconceptions I have about the partner program.

  • 12. Bertrand Maugain  |  May 27th, 2009 at 10:59 am

    Hi Bruce,

    I agree this is an interesting topic and key for the success of all of us. I’ll try to make it as short as possible !

    1) No, it has nothing to do at all with Partners or non partners.

    2) The Community is definitely for all : partners, non partners, customers, freelance developers, curious folks !
    We want also to be clear that there is no problem for people to make business around eZ without being a partner, this is part of the game. However if you want to benefit from all the value and effort we are doing on the business side of the Entreprise Open Source business model (like bringing customers requests, assisting in sales and marketing ..), i would strongly recommend to join the partner network.

    Regarding Support and Maintenance of custom extensions you might have developed, we offer a a framework for Certified Extensions. The Certified Extensions model is not only for partners but for any company who can commit on professionally supporting and maintaining their extension and who can support the small cost of certifying them. You still can go for a DIY approach as well.

    3) You are right on the fact that community should and must be involved. The work done, already discussed with a few ones, is a first step. Unfortunatelly, we still don’t have huge ressources to spend here, so we wanted to launch the concrete first steps of this project instead of talking and promising things we would not be sure to deliver. Now, YES we want to involve you. Hopefully we can publish something in the forums (and I should be able to do that before the conference), but also we would like very much to have a focus group at the eZ Conference to share the status and see how to take it to the next step with all. I hope you will participate.

    All community members have a real role to play by sharing code, getting info from others and contribute and should find value in this, wether there are partners or not. We strongly believe in this and hope you understand it a bit better now.

  • 13. Kristof Coomans  |  May 27th, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    After having read through all replies, I feel my core questions remain unanswered.

    What will happen with the “commercial” messages of others in the community that were always overlooked? Will they be removed in 1-3 days, just like mine? Or will eZ Systems take another approach? Is there or will there be a way to mention the additional paid services related to any of the free (GPL-ed) contributions under my copyright that are available on ez.no or eZ Projects, without having to pay for it in whatever form (certify the extension, partner program) to eZ Systems?

    To go a bit further on the topic of “certified extensions”, why is it so difficult to find any information about this on ez.no? I can not find anything about the process of certification and the costs involved. I bet they can only be found in the partner-only section of ez.no?

  • 14. Bertrand Maugain  |  May 27th, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    Hi Kristof,

    We will look into the links we got from other people and handle it in the same reactive way as we have done for you.

    The Certified Extension process will be described better with the new Product Management team in place.

    I will not guarantee any deadline here since we are all dedicated to the eZ Conference. I repeat my proposition : let us talk together here and I invite you to talk to Roland too.

    Thanks,

    Bertrand

  • 15. Independent observer  |  May 27th, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    Hello,

    I wouldn’t loose any sleep over this.

    It’s obvious that the answers are vague and confusing. Arrogant corporate evasion tactics.

    As always, it is all about making money. This is how the world works. Don’t be fooled by marketing / hype / nonsense spiced with freedom, open source, sharing, worthless awards, lies, promises, imaginary motivation / enthusiasm and what not.

    Instead, take a break and ask yourself the following:

    1. How much is YOUR time and YOUR life worth?

    2. Is it wise spending your energy making money for someone else?

    Think about it…

  • 16. Roland Benedetti  |  May 27th, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    Hi Kristof,

    On the 1st part, as he told you, Bertrand is on it and will contact you or update you on this blog about that. I agre there is no reason to have different treatments in the community, but also, you raise that we might need some improvements regarding the guidelines themselves so it might be not all achieved in one step neither in one post comment on this blog. Please feel free to call him or talk with him as well directly !

    On the second part, i can answer. The certified extension section on ez.no is targeted to customers and not providers. It is a page where customers can find information about the available extensions in the ecosystem. You are right in the assessment that there is not a lot of information on ez.no for potential providers like yo who wants to certify and distribute their extension. So far it is more handled offline, in a one to one relation. Regarding your bet on the partner section, it is true that there is a bit more information on the partner section, but still the main information and the main process is always handled offline, in a direct real human relation with an eZ Systems rep. if you are interested, just call someone at eZ, and discuss the opportunity !

    Hopefully, the certified extension might turn into a bigger business and we might have tools and routines much more automated to run a marketplace of certified extensions, but at this step, it is not that big, that is the main reason for not having all online on ez.no for providers like you !

    Cheers
    Roland

  • 17. zurgutt  |  May 27th, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    Regardless of who is right, which cannot be clearly determined, the way eZS currently approaches it is unacceptable and will hurt their good reputation.

    Discussion first, deletions later.

    Make the right decision fast, before its too late.

  • 18. Another observer  |  May 27th, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    Hello,

    I wouldn’t loose any sleep over this.

    Classic evasion scenario with vague and confusing answers.

    It is all about making money. This is how the world works. Don’t buy into marketing / hype / nonsense spiced with freedom, open source, sharing, community, newsletters, awards, motivation, enthusiasm, promises and what not.

    Instead, ask yourself:

    1. How much is YOUR time and YOUR life worth?

    2. Is it wise spending your energy making money for someone else?

    Think about it…

    Bonus question: How come dumb people have a huge flat and a brand new BMW? (they exploit clever people)

  • 19. Bertrand Maugain  |  May 27th, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    Krsitof,

    I have talked to several community members / partners in the last hours and all of them were ok with the following process :
    - they will moderate their commercial mentions on projects.ez.no until the conference
    - we will discuss and define new routines there.

    This is for me the conclusion : our guidelines are not clear enough but the community should remain an open place driven by the community. Let us make things happen in Paris and after.

    I also want to apologize if you took things personal Kristof. Not meant at all. I was simply trying to be a bit consistent with what was told to other people in the past. It seems it was not necessary and we would have discussed at the conference anyway. Sorry for the mess.

    Cheers,

    Bertrand

  • 20. zurgutt  |  May 28th, 2009 at 9:32 am

    Actually my advice was that you apologize for being too quick with deletions and quit the matter until it is publicly discussed. Not going to moderate anything until then :)

  • 21. Luc  |  September 14th, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    I can say that one important factor in getting OSS such as eZ accepted in commercial projects is the general availability of skilled resources. A project manager likes to know that he/she can pick up the phone or send an e-mail to get help with an issue, from multiple sources. So, I would say that so long as there is a limit on the size, commercial notices such as that one should be welcomed. A 100% ban may be counter-productive. Something like a single-line signature link to a centrally stored business contact card would be helpful to everyone and would not pollute the rest of the content.

  • 22. Nicolas Pastorino  |  March 31st, 2010 at 10:44 am

    Here are concrete solutions proposed.
    Time for your action :
    http://bit.ly/a3zEqp

    Nicolas Pastorino
    eZ Community Manager

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