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FoundationDB and Open Source Foundations

Just like any other day, I saw a funny tweet across my timeline this morning:

Not sure if you heard the news, but FoundationDB was a company with a decent amount of open source projects around a NoSQL database. They recently were bought by a much larger company and decided to close down the project, including removing the source and binaries from distribution channels.

I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but open source foundations are really useful. As a consumer, it helps you ensure that there is an independent governance structure in place along with fair ownership of the code (usually the foundation). This means that code won’t disappear overnight since an independent entity owns it, along with the broader community. From a producer point of view, you can build diversity in ownership and committers which will help you in the long run in building a sustainable open source community.

Oh well, c’est la vie.

Quick update and nice set of genuine tweets from the CouchDB folks who saw the benefits of having the code exist at an open source foundation:

  • John Hugg

    But it wasn’t an open source system, just some peripheral bits that depended on a closed core were open.

    Maybe people were using the open SQL parser. Even in that case, it’s not like the code is *gone*, it just needs to be cloned from someones repo into a public repo. That will probably happen. At least I hope so.

  • Yes, you’re correct and I updated my wording to be a bit less confusing, thank you.

    It still doesn’t change the fact that their actions were poor in regards to their customers and wider community. It should serve as a lesson in the technology stacks you choose to adopt, amongst favoring truly open and mature solutions. I read this today which I thought was timely: