Published September 20th, 2005

Jono Bacon has an interesting post on O’Reilly called ‘Opening the potential of’ (Via Colm).

I was going to write a huge post on why he is right and wrong on many points, but I am way too tired and lazy. The basic point is that OpenOffice isn’t unique, even though he tries to assert it since the code base is soooo huge.

The reality is that many major open source projects shifted to longer development cycles, and are learning that its bad (FreeBSD and Apache HTTPD come to mind).

FreeBSD has learned their lesson, and are back on track for 6-8 month release cycles with 6.xx. Long releases do more than increase the feedback cycle, but they discourage new developers. New developers like to see users using their stuff. It is a gratification thing. Every open source project needs a constant flow of new developers. Projects that have a hard time getting new developers… die.

Apache HTTPD is re-learning this lesson. The 2.1.xx branch has been around for years, never being released to users. Lucky for you, 2.1.7-beta is available now. I hope to get apache into a 6-12 month stable/dev cycle. I think that this type of cycle will increase user feedback, and more importantly encourage new developers to get involved.

Written by Paul Querna, CTO @ ScaleFT. @pquerna