Jive Redux

Mike responded on his weblog and Matt Tucker from Jive sent me an email concerning my negative comments about Jive. Both enlightened me a bit about the situation. They didn't change my mind a whole lot, but at least I'm better educated.

Mike, for example, just plainly says I got it wrong... It's definitely been known to happen. ;-) I think I may have gotten caught by a saying that I'm always repeating, "Never attribute to malice what can be easily explained by incompetence." The guys at Cool Servlets/Jive Software made some mistakes early on and are still getting flak from guys like me who don't know the whole story. I can relate to that.

BUT I still have to say that in my opinion there hasn't been enough effort on the Jive guys' part to clear the whole issue up. And I'm definitely looking at this from a guy who wants free (as in beer) software not from some sort of religious OSS stance. I needed a forum on my site not too long ago and spent a good amount of time trying to find the freakin' source code for Jive after reading an article on Sun's site about it. I figured it was a LimeWire type thing where the code is available, but the main page is commercial. But after searching for quite a while, I finally got the idea that the project has been closed. And the free non-commercial license is an application process. (Compare this to something like OrionServer). But then AFTER I go through this effort, I keep seeing references on the web to Jive as an open source project. It's quite annoying. Do a search on Google for Jive and the third line down says "Jive Open Source Forum Project". Say what you want about the guys "not being evil" but this is a pretty big thing to overlook.

I never used the word "evil" by the way. I did say "malicious and purposeful bait and switch" which is what it looks like on first blush. But hey, I'm a fair guy. I'll give the guys at Jive an opportunity to show that they're not maliciously playing off the confusion between their old product and the new one. They're now aware of the fact that Google still lists them as OSS. In a month, if it STILL lists them like that because they haven't made a minimum of effort to change their site (Google will get rid of dead or erased pages rather quickly) then we'll know what the truth is. Maybe an email to Sun about this article would help too...

Personally I would have changed the name completely. They went from Cool Servlets to Jive Software, but they should have gone to something else completely to make sure there was no mistake. I'd still recommend it.

Here's the email from Matt. I don't think he'll mind me putting up here. Mike's right, he doesn't seem evil...


One of the Jive developers was reading through your blog, and I thought I'd send a note to do my best to set the record straight on the open source/developer source switch. :) First, we really don't like the fact that we're listed as Open Source in many places still. Jive has been developer source for a *long* time now and that's how we prefer to be known. Your point about the Coolservlets page is well taken, though -- we hadn't considered that search engines might spider sub-pages since we made all the front page (http://www.coolservlets.com/jive/) links point to Jive Software. Honestly, we made a few quick hacks to the CoolServlets site more than a year ago and haven't touched it since.

Second, we don't believe there was a bait and switch. Unfortunately, we couldn't make running a company based on open source code work. At the point we realized this, we cut a new code base and did development of Jive 2. We now have what we consider the next best thing to Open Source, which is developer source. This provides full access to the source code to our customers, and free licenses for non-profits and hobby sites. We used Caucho's Resin as a model for our developer source license (they too made the switch from open source to developer source). We love the fact that Atlassian (Jira) uses us as a model for developer source since we wish that all commercial software offered access to source code.

It's worth noting that Jive was never a typical open source project. The overwhelming majority of the code was written by myself or Bill Lynch and did not come from outside developers. The only other major contributor from the open source days (Bruce Ritchie) is now actually an employee of Jive Software.

You're entitled to negative opinions about the switch from open source to developer source. There were certainly others that were angry. However, the vast majority of Jive users saw it as an overwhelmingly positive move. The only alternative was no further development of the product by us. If you're interested in seeing the whole gory historical debate on the switch, you can find it at: http://www.coolservlets.com/pipermail/jive-dev/2001-June/date.html

However, I'd also invite you to look through our developer source license and to do a bit of exploration of our developer community to get an idea of what kind of company we are. I hope we don't come off as evil as we appear to be in your blog. :)

The release of Jbbs is totally acceptable, of course. However, we need to make the same request that we did of others that decided to continue on the with the 1.2.4 source, which is to not use the docs that came with the 1.2.4 package in your own software. The source code is Open Source but not the supporting materials. We only know of one other existing 1.2.4 derivative, which is Yazd (http://yazd.yasna.com). Perhaps you could get permission to use the docs from that project.

Best Regards,

I'll have to look at Yazd - I hadn't seeen it before. I also stripped out the docs this morning quickly before work... (I'm late!)


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