Free as in censorship

I am very sorry things have come thusfar.. Having done some 60 projects with the SeeBeyond and Sun toolsets during the last 10 years, I would have preferred a brighter future.
It is clear that Oracle is merely hosting OpenESB and isn't in the business of investing valuable resources into maturing a promising toolset. On the other hand, Oracle hasn't shown any malice towards OpenESB and related initiatives despite many people feeling the need to alarm us on pending shutdowns of hosting facilities, which, when checked are up and running as usual. But it also doesn't seem to add much to realizing the potential of OpenESB, Mural, IEP and related technologies like OpenPTK, Keychain, OpenDI, Sailfin, OpenMQ.
Although there appear to be quite some developers and US based companies working along with Oracle on OpenESB. So, this is a rather fuzzy kind of situation which I would love to get more input on.
Something's got to give however..
Just forking or re-hosting this under the fire of argumentation using some very eloquent rethorical soundbytes of several previously unkown community members is not only ethically challengeable but also fatal to the community at it's current stage. I realize that, if such is ones purpose, one needs to move quickly now, because the merger of Sun (and its many high potential projects) into Oracle is finalizing day by day, surprising us with announcements we are not supposed to expect from an Oracle. But we're playing with impressions here, just like answering emails with non-sequiturs will gradually over time makes one think that the one answering has been giving valuable advices, while all they really did was stand close to a question often enough. Such are the intruiging workings on e.g. the "confirmation bias", one of human's many irrational mechanisms of reasoning.
Now, why do I think it is fatal, is related to Monty's struggles at the EU in trying to obtain the name MySQL again.. the goodwill, the reputation, all the traffic and associated support and maintenance income. Let's leave it in the middle if he 'deserves' this after having received part of a $ payment (which wasn't paid in Sun stocks..), maybe it was right, maybe it was wrong, but he doesn't seem to be getting MariaDb off the ground in the similar way as with MySQL, nor is there a flight of disappointed customers moving his way. But we have seen this with other Open Source projects in the past, as well as the recent ones where finally the plug was being pulled after a major investment. If the owners of the intellectual property, the actual developers mindshare, have for the most part left the community move along and if the remainders choose to detach OpenESB from its originators.. how much of an investment is it going to take to revatilize it all. Enthusiasm is one thing, budget and scale are another.
And that leads me to think the proposed actions, despite its almost theatrical build-up during previous months, is simply hitting a law of nature.. which I would like to ask here. Are the benefits of Open Source Software dependent on the size of the community as well as the complexity of the software?
I can't escape the impression the benefits as listed on http://open-source.gbdirect.co.uk/migration/benefit.html are not realizable if the community isn't large and/or active enough. In fact, I think it's at a certain size and level of activity, the benefits implode and instead of the self-filtering assumption of "Open Source" we encounter a level of inbreeding which also involves effective lock-in for the end-customer. No vendor lock-in, but lock-in by ones solution provider.. as geo-political boundaries, the level of complexity, methodologies like SCRUM lead, along with recession induced cheap projects, effectively lead to implementations where only the original provider has any proficiency in maintaining it. Is this the goal of Open Source ? I very much doubt it so.

If I look at the number of people in the "OpenESB Users" on nabble.. there are actually some 1136 users. Of course some accounts are counted double. LinkedIn shows several groups, "JCAPS (Formerly SeeBeyond)" with 438 members, "Open ESB Community" with 573 and "Java CAPS" with 578.. So let's take the average and say there are some 681 users..
Now, only about 5% of these users were present in Brussels, and a percentage of these 5% are now positioning themselves "in the best interest of THE community" whereas the number of names indicates this only to be about 1% of the community.

The OpenESB Governance model has been set up in quite a meritocratic way, ".. projects within the OpenESB community have a very flat, lightweight governance structure. Decisions are made in public discussion on public mailing lists. There are few formal roles -- an individual's word carries weight in accordance with their contribution to the project. Decisions are preferably made by consensus, rather than voting--most decisions are of interest only to members of the community who will be affected by it. The combination of public mailing lists and consensus ensures that any person who could be affected by a decision both finds out about it, and has a voice in the discussion." - https://open-esb.dev.java.net/Governance.html
Yet if we look at the names listed and try to match with the top 20 posters according to Nabble.. as if this is a measure of proficiency of contribution, but that's another matter, we are left with 2 persons, both providing support to other mailers to the extend of their experience and capabilities. One of which clearly doesn't agree with the course of events. So, we have 0.15 % of the contributive users present at the summit, and taking the lead in speaking in name of THE community..

But if I read http://blogs.computerworlduk.com/simon-says/2010/10/rehost-and-carry-on/index.htm or http://www.forgerock.com/openesb-faq.html then we seem to be talking about the same community? I mean, this OpenESB community, not even the larger SeeBeyond-l on IT Toolbox or STC-User on Yahoogroups.
And why this course of actions? To whose benefit? The source is available.. one can automate a download every night to ensure always having the latest bits and pieces for the event that some *actually* happens. And if one looks deeper into the agreements.. the arrangements are similar to MySQL, or more adequate MySQL AB.. which was about Open Source, in some way, but also a slick company with a lean and agile business model which kept most development inhouse. Just like Sun did, and why this whole community has so much trouble in switching roles from relative passive user to active contributor. Maybe that is going to happen, maybe not, but with tearing down a struggling community I don't think anyone is done a favour, not the companies that built Binding Components, not the original developers of the core features, not the original mindshare and lessons-learned from SeeBeyond which significantly helped in shaping these products.
May it is meant well, but "Hell is paved with good intentions", and are we, the remaining 99% of THE community that blind that we do not notice ?

I would like to take a closer look at something.. Open Source is about "Free as in Freedom", it is about Liberty and not about Gratis, however the latter seems to prevail. Freedom actually has two sides, which have been proposed in the 1960's by philosopher Isaiah Berlin, positive and negative liberty. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/liberty-positive-negative/
Negative liberty is the absence of obstacles, barriers or constraints. One has negative liberty to the extent that actions are available to one in this negative sense. Positive liberty is the possibility of acting — or the fact of acting — in such a way as to take control of one's life and realize one's fundamental purposes.

I think it is pretty clear, that what we have been experiencing is a display of 'negative liberty'. And I think Open Source Software is about 'postive liberty'.
As it happens, for gathering some seed capital today I was giving a presentation on the workings of propagation of emotional credentials within social networks, how this works, grows, and proven. This involves goodwill, reputation, adherence to promises, resolution of ambiguity and most importanly trust. Trust is very eery, and important.. and as a last note I like to share the definition used; "The attitude of expecting good performance from another party, whether in terms of loyalty, goodwill, truth, or promises. The importance of trust as a kind of invisible glue that binds society together is most visible when it is lost. Trust involves an element of risk, and epistemologists can have trouble categorizing it as rational, since it works best in advance, for example to motivate performance on occasions when defection may be to the advantage of the person trusted. Economically trust is precious, enabling parties to bypass the costly precautions and safeguards needed in transactions with parties whom one does not trust. Trustworthiness is a virtue, subsuming varieties such as truthfulness and fidelity."

Although Oracle representatives haven't been as involved as I would like them to be, they have only been disappointing. But I kind of got used to that after 2005 already.. But what I am seeing with the summit.. this has me loose trust in this community, if it can be hijacked that easily.
If anything, as I responded already I would like to see Oracle explore a co-sourcing and gradual merger of OpenESB with OW2 Petals, which is likely the only road ahead for a revival. OW2 appears to be morphing in quite a haven for Open Source initiatives seeking less politics but global opportunities. Any other course of events is just about postponing the start date on maintenance contracts for unsupported and dying software solutions. I have no vested interest in any direction whatsoever. This is just my personal opion, and when decisions influence other people's life I prefer dealing with facts, not just impressions, so I invite anyone as a souvereign individual to speak up.

As the American writer Oliver Wendell Holmes accurately observed;
The hydrostatic paradox of controversy. Don't you know what that means? Well, I will tell you.
You know that, if you had a bent tube, one arm of which was of the size of a pipe-stem, and the other big enough to hold the ocean, water would stand at the same height in one as in the other.
Controversy equalizes fools and wise men in the same way.
And the fools know it.

Take care,
Paul Peters
Fluxology SA

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