Dec 27 2008

Some of you may know about the XWiki open source project but may not know about the XWiki SAS company (Note that "SAS" simply refers to a certain type of company in France) or if you do you may wonder what are the relationship between them.

History

A bit of history: Ludovic Dubost created the XWiki open source project in 2003 on SourceForge. In 2004 Ludovic also created a company named XPertNet for offering support and services around the XWiki software. I joined the XPertNet company in December 2006 and XPertNet was renamed in XWiki SAS in 2008.

Committers

As of December 2008 the XWiki SAS company has 30 employees (not all full time, about 25 FTE), out of which 15 are open source developers and 10 out of these 15 are committers on the XWiki open source project. Out of these 15 employees, 4 were recruited from the Google Summer of Code and several were recruited after being active committers on the open source project.

In total the open source project currently has about 12 active committers (about 70 in total since 2003). This means that the majority of committers are also employees of XWiki SAS. There are 2 reasons for this:

  • As you have probably understood, XWiki SAS has recruited most of the active committers over the years.
  • It's very hard for someone who's working on an open source project in his free time to work on an open source project sponsored by a company. The reason is that committers who are employees are working full time on the code and thus progressing quickly on it and it's hard for someone working 1 or 2 hours a day to play catch up. This is true for core development but it is fortunately not true for contributions in peripheral domains such as Macros, Code Snippets, Plugins or Applications. In these domains it's easy for anyone to contribute and we'd like to see even more growth in this area in the future.

Sponsoring

As mentioned above, XWiki SAS is paying 13 developers to develop for the open source project thus sponsoring a large portion of the project. In practice XWiki SAS reinvest more than 50% of its earnings in the growth of the XWiki open source project (the rest being spent on supporting the company): most of it in paying committers, in paying research developers (there are 2 currently) for French and European research projects and the rest in paying for the infrastructure and its support (xwiki.org, free XWiki farm, etc).

Update 20/02/2010: About a year ago XWiki SAS has published a Manifesto explaining its relationship with the open source project and highlighting its values.

Meritocracy

You may have noticed that not all XWiki open source developers from XWiki SAS are committers. This is because we've defined some meritocracy rules for participating to the XWiki open source project and we're strictly following them for anyone, be them from XWiki SAS or for external people interested in contributing. We're a real open source project and we're very clearly separating the company from the open source project.

More precisely our open source project rules are the Apache Software Foundation ones (from where I come from: I had been working in my free time on open source projects for 7 years before joining the XWiki project and later joining XWiki SAS).

We do this since we all believe strongly in real open source and we're passionate about it. We certainly don't want to do like several other companies who jump on the open source bandwagon just to use it as a marketing ploy.

Conclusion

All our developments are fully done in the open and we're proud of that. We believe this generates a strong and level-playing ecosystem where people don't fear to contribute for fear of their contributions being "ripped" by a company.

We'd be happy to answer any question you may have about the company.

Tags:
Created by Vincent Massol on 2008/12/26 17:25
Tags:
Created by Vincent Massol on 2008/12/26 17:25
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