Quote from: flinx777 at Mar 27, 2013, 11:58 PM
If you're a MODX user, you need to read this post as it's very important to the future of MODX:
Am I understanding the posting correctly that the core MODX team is going to now focus on hosting? And hosting for multiple platforms that aren't even the speciality of the team?
Similar to other companies, we will be offering a service around MODX that helps assist users in their web development hosting needs. The "Core Team" is not going to "shift focus", but rather I will be working more on Cloud for the time being - which, to be frank, has been the case for the past 8 months now.
We will be offering installs of other products simply because most of our users already use
those other products. We have done surveys that show that a vast majority of the MODX userbase uses other systems, such as WP and Magento, for their needs. We are simply offering those products in order to help people with their web experience. The revenue gained from that will be used to help fund the modx infrastructure and development needs, which cost money.
Your reply is likely to be, why not just make MODX better so that WP and Magento (et al) aren't needed? While this sounds great in theory, as a core dev I can say this is not realistic at this time
. Why? Because the "Core Team" for the past 3 years has been Jason and I - two people. WP has a *huge* development team in its community, and hired by its foundation. (Not to mention the tons of contributions coming from Automattic.) MODX, in its history has had 435 - mostly small - non-core contributions total
(look it up on Git). WP will have more than that in one month. It's not simply realistic to say that MODX can "overtake" WP in the blogging arena. Now, can MODX make a small-level integration with the system to offer most of the features to do blogging well? Yes! I'd say I already did that in Articles. As for e-commerce; a robust e-commerce solution takes a ton
of time and effort to develop and maintain. It's simply not something we can do scale-ably with the size of our core team.
With any open source product, there has to be a balance between paid staff that manages and directs the product, ensures no code that is contrary to the product's vision gets in, and assists and manages the infrastructure pieces around the product. That's a full-time job, one that can't really be done by volunteers. Now, that said, a healthy OSS system will have a ton of contributors going through and contributing bug fixes (not just bug reports) and small feature additions, as well as participating in scrums and related projects, to assist the core team. While that is significantly picking up in the past 6 months, it has admittedly been slow over the past 3 years. Most of the work you see in MODX has been done by Jason and I. (See here for the proof in the graph
.) Every one of the top 10 Extras for MODX was made and maintained by Jason and I. That simply isn't scalable. MODX cannot rely alone on the "Core Team" for product development. There has to be far more community contribution to grow the product.
So, back to my point - In my opinion, MODX has two strong needs:
1) A solid revenue stream for core team salaries, infrastructure costs (these servers aint cheap!), and other services costs (such as all the cool stuff everyone gets for free around here).
2) A growing community base that contributes bug fixes, documentation, tutorials, meetups, press, and product feature additions (in line with project goals) on a consistent, large basis.
MODX Cloud (now SiphonLabs) is trying to achieve #1. Ryan and Jay will now be dedicated to trying to help achieve #2.
I respect the fact that MODX is open source and the team has been growing it over the years at no real cost to me personally. Technically it's free and I don't have a right to complain. The MODX core team has done an amazing job and MODX is a badass system. I just feel there's a lot that has kinda gone stale in development lately and I've wondered why more things haven't grown and been developed in the CMS. Now with this posting I get the feeling that MODX core development is going to be secondary to hosting and the growth of the CMS is going to suffer as a result.
The "Core Team" of MODX will continue to work on MODX. There will be a separate team, which I am leading, for development of Cloud at SiphonLabs. Jason will continue to manage the development of MODX the CMS, and will lead a hopefully community-driven core team that will be built up to support the product. So you don't have to worry there.
Secondly, and I'm going to be really honest here, over the past 4 years, there has simply not been enough of a revenue stream for MODX to fund even one core developer
on its own. In 2012, MODX made $8,800 on Partner fees, and $3,000 in donations, for a total of $11,300 in non-cloud revenue: not enough to even pay someone part-time. Cloud has been the only consistent revenue that MODX has made. (The partner programs, job listings, etc were barely drops in the bucket.) We've been living off of angel investor funds for the past two years, and now we have to become revenue-neutral to continue to pay our not-very-high salaries. Developing high-quality software costs money, simply put, which means we have to find a way to get that money to continue making it. I hate to be so frank, but that's the bare truth of it. MODX needs to find a consistent way to make money to continue funding its development, since most of its development is done by the "core team".
Again, MODX is not going anywhere. I haven't put 4 years of my life at over 60+ hours a week, all while trying to sustain a mortgage and family, for very little self-benefit, on this project and community to just let it die. And I can assure you, *everyone* at SiphonLabs has done the same and feels the same. We all love MODX and are trying to find a way to sustainably fund the project. So yes, let's all just have a beer and take it easy now.