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NeoOffice :: View topic - "OpenMac" foundation
"OpenMac" foundation
 
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Boukman
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2004 1:50 pm    Post subject: "OpenMac" foundation Reply with quote

This thread is designed to discuss the possibility of forming a non-profit foundation whose goal would be to promote the development and usage of open-source software on the Macintosh platform.

Right now, all suggestions are welcome as for how it will be set up.

OK, so I jumped right in and proposed a name (OpenMac foundation). All ideas are welcome at this stage.

Before going any further, I would like to know the opinions of Terry Teague, jakeOSX, Ed and Patrick about this idea since they are obviously the ones that involved themselves the most for the time being.
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sardisson
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2004 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This might be jumping the gun a little bit, or putting the cart before the horse, but....

In Jake's original intro to the foundation idea, he mentioned that NeoJ would be the first project the foundation would fund in his vision, and obviously my interest in the foundation comes primarily from NeoJ (although I like the idea of promoting/supporting OSS on the Mac in general)...but while focusing on supporting NeoJ and getting it to full Aqua goodness, we/the proposed foundation needs to be sure not to lose sight of the fact that the OOo Mac OS X work (currently only X11) is critical to the success of NeoJ. NeoJ depends not only on OOo for its continued existance (although presumably Patrick and Ed could continue Aquifying the 1.1 codeline forever; however, the point and return of that would diminish fairly quickly after a bit, i.e., release of 2.0 and the new file formats) but also for many of its critical bugfixes and pretty much all of its "core office application" improvements/new features.

And, as I understand it, no one has to get any milestone on the road to 2.0 to build for Mac OS X X11 yet. The two Erics seem to be working on it, but with not much luck yet (Sun-supported platforms have obviously been putting out regular milestone binaries for a while, but I don't know whether any of the non-Sun platforms have been able to build any milestones yet, either).

So while the foundation is presumably disbursing money to help Patrick and Ed add blue buttons and so forth to NeoJ, I think the proposed foundation should somehow (and I don't have a method yet) be contributing money to getting (and keeping) forthcoming OOo releases building on the Mac. As opposed to something "concrete" like fixing a specific bug or even something like "move NeoJ to Java 1.4.x" which has a foreseeable endpoint, it's difficult to make this constant and contiunally moving target a measurable task other than say, "$500 to the first person who gets OOo 2.0 to build on the Mac and posts all needed patches in IZ". And then again for 2.1 or 3.0 or whatever the next big code change is....

If my understanding of history is accurate, it took Ed, Dan, Patrick, et al. two years to get 1.0 building on the Mac (1.1 was out or almost out on other platforms by the Mac 1.0 release) and then it was another six months or a year before Kevin Hendricks got 1.1.x building. It doesn't look good for 2.0 and "we" can't keep this up, not if OOo/Mac or NeoJ is going to have a real future and be a real alternative.

So I believe the proposed foundation needs to do something to help ensure OOo stays buildable on the Mac and in a timeframe not too far behind the other platforms (as well as focusing on end-user-friendly stuff in NeoJ). A happy side effect of the foundation's committment to this might be that the "anti-NeoJ faction" that is part of the OOo community would lighten up a bit and maybe NeoJ, and ultimately the Mac end-user, would get better acceptance and "support" from OOo (access to the mirror network, perhaps?).

So, there are lots more details that need to be hashed out before we even get to this bit of accepting and prioritizing projects to support (legal steps for formation, structure, dues, etc.), but I wanted to say this now before I got too busy....

Smokey
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pluby
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2004 5:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sardisson wrote:
If my understanding of history is accurate, it took Ed, Dan, Patrick, et al. two years to get 1.0 building on the Mac (1.1 was out or almost out on other platforms by the Mac 1.0 release) and then it was another six months or a year before Kevin Hendricks got 1.1.x building. It doesn't look good for 2.0 and "we" can't keep this up, not if OOo/Mac or NeoJ is going to have a real future and be a real alternative.

So I believe the proposed foundation needs to do something to help ensure OOo stays buildable on the Mac and in a timeframe not too far behind the other platforms (as well as focusing on end-user-friendly stuff in NeoJ). A happy side effect of the foundation's committment to this might be that the "anti-NeoJ faction" that is part of the OOo community would lighten up a bit and maybe NeoJ, and ultimately the Mac end-user, would get better acceptance and "support" from OOo (access to the mirror network, perhaps?).


I don't want to discourage you but my experience is that keeping OOo X11 buildable on Mac every few weeks is a futile exercise.

Why? Because Sun controls the build process and they are focussed on getting Windows, Linux, and Solaris releases out. This means that integrating Mac patches usually does not happen. For example, my UTF8 file system patch for Mac has been sitting in Issuezilla for over a year now and my libdl patch (which I had to redo because they changed it without trying to recompile it) keeps getting dropped from each milestone build. Also, Sun's engineers are always changing APIs, build order, etc. that you end up repeating the same dreary work with every milestone build.

And don't believe it if they say that the build will get easier. The build process not changed (nor have the API changes decreased) since I was doing the Mac builds as a Sun employee back in 2000!

Realistically, I have found it much more sane to wait until Sun does a release. At that point, they create a branch and severely limit their changes to only bug fixes. At this point, you only have to go through the pain of getting OOo X11 to build once and success attempts are almost always going to be easier.

The good news is that given the above, all is not lost. A good chunk of the time (about 2 months) between Sun's OOo 1.1 release and Ed's OOo 1.1.2 Mac release was getting the OOo X11 installer developed by Ed and it only took me about a month of work to get OOo X11 to build and run on Mac (with no installer). The big lag between Ed's OOo 1.1.2 release and the first Neo/J Alpha release was that I had to implement the native complex text layout code. Fortunately, OOo 2.0 doesn't appear to have any of big native changes like OOo 1.1 had.

My plan for keeping Neo/J up as current as possible is to wait for the first or second OOo 2.0 release, get the X11 code to build and run on Jaguar, file all my patches in Issuezilla so that they don't get forgotten (but keep a copy of the patches in the Neo/J build, and then get the existing Neo/J custom code to compile and the Neo/J installer updated. Due to how I designed the Neo/J build process, the last step took me only about 3 days to do.

At that point, I can throw out a Neo/J alpha release that people can start testing. Assuming I am not working a consulting gig, I can probably get a Neo/J release out as fast or faster than the official OOo X11 release. Neo/J doesn't need an OOo X11 release, it just needs OOo X11 to be buildable.

I hope that this info helps.

Patrick
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pluby
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2004 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pluby wrote:
Realistically, I have found it much more sane to wait until Sun does a release. At that point, they create a branch and severely limit their changes to only bug fixes. At this point, you only have to go through the pain of getting OOo X11 to build once and success attempts are almost always going to be easier.


I forgot to mention where I got this idea. It was actually suggested by several of the OOo engineering managers when I was an employee at Sun. I kept insisting that the code should be buildable with every milestone and they kept telling that this was a futile exercise but, of course, I didn't listen. I only realized the wisdom of their advice after I transferred to another group in Sun.

Patrick[/i]
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Boukman
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2004 9:20 pm    Post subject: OpenMac foundation Reply with quote

sardisson wrote:
In Jake's original intro to the foundation idea, he mentioned that NeoJ would be the first project the foundation would fund in his vision, and obviously my interest in the foundation comes primarily from NeoJ (although I like the idea of promoting/supporting OSS on the Mac in general)...but while focusing on supporting NeoJ and getting it to full Aqua goodness, we/the proposed foundation needs to be sure not to lose sight of the fact that the OOo Mac OS X work (currently only X11) is critical to the success of NeoJ.


I believe this is why we are leaning towards a foundation instead of simply donating to Ed & Patrick directly. My opinion is that there is a lot of effort being put into those 2 parts (NeoJ and OOo) and we need to somehow give incentive to doing both. At a later date, I hope the foundation will have enough clout to start the "reunification" process of NeoJ with OOo, both philosophical and practical.

jakeOSX said something about a white paper that he wanted to write about this foundation, so I'm impatient to see it!
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sardisson
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2004 4:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

pluby wrote:
pluby wrote:
Realistically, I have found it much more sane to wait until Sun does a release. At that point, they create a branch and severely limit their changes to only bug fixes. At this point, you only have to go through the pain of getting OOo X11 to build once and success attempts are almost always going to be easier.


I forgot to mention where I got this idea. It was actually suggested by several of the OOo engineering managers when I was an employee at Sun. I kept insisting that the code should be buildable with every milestone and they kept telling that this was a futile exercise but, of course, I didn't listen. I only realized the wisdom of their advice after I transferred to another group in Sun.


You've mentioned all that before (perhaps more than once) and I'd forgotten it; sorry about that, Patrick. But then again it probably bears repeating. Smile

pluby wrote:
The good news is that given the above, all is not lost. A good chunk of the time (about 2 months) between Sun's OOo 1.1 release and Ed's OOo 1.1.2 Mac release was getting the OOo X11 installer developed by Ed and it only took me about a month of work to get OOo X11 to build and run on Mac (with no installer).


That makes me feel better, too; if it only takes a month after a new major release to get OOo Mac X11 buildable, that certainly qualifies for "in a timeframe not too far behind the other platforms," given the "chaotic" nature of OOo development, build structure, etc. I guess from an outsider's view, the fact that Eric and Eric have been working for some time on (the same, IIRC) milestone with no apparent succeess was profoundly disturbing. Ultimately I guess it says more about the state/nature of the OOo-Sun or porting-OOo relationship than anything else....

Smokey
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sardisson
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2004 4:47 am    Post subject: Re: OpenMac foundation Reply with quote

Boukman wrote:
jakeOSX said something about a white paper that he wanted to write about this foundation, so I'm impatient to see it!


As am I. I didn't really want to put the cart before the horse, but I'm going to become very busy soon and wanted to post those thoughts before I got too busy to do so. Having done so, I'm now content to wait for jake's whitepaper. Smile

Smokey
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jakeOSX
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2004 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sorry for the delay.

OpenMac Foundation, you know I like that. I was trying to think of a name, but didn't. so the white sheet just says "the foundation" everywhere.

anyways, i posted it here

http://hunter-unity.org/foundation.rtf

At the bottom is the Neo/J specific part of the sheet.

On Terry's gentle warning, I've been looking into non-profits in MD more carefully. I'll have to dig deeper, but I may need a few more people in MD before we could do this. The big questions is can we have meetings via phone con or chat room. Still looking into that.

anyway, thoughts and comments more than welcome. and before anyone pics on me, i was at work, so i used Word, not Neo...

-j

* why that site? well it is the only site of mine i can upload to at work. yes, i have too many sites. way too many.
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Boukman
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2004 9:49 pm    Post subject: Comments on the White Page Reply with quote

After reading Jake's white page regarding the foundation, here's my comments:

- I think Mac OS X should be dropped in favor of "Macintosh platform" since I believe that this foundation might be around even after OS X is long gone.

- It might just be me, but I liked the wording "To promote the development and usage of open-source applications on the Macintosh platform" better for the goal of the foundation.

- I thought at first that 100$ to become a member might be a little steep, but than I realized that it would naturally filter people who are not serious about the foundation.

- I think the donation part should also include end users, although I agree that a big effort will be made by the foundation to sollicitate funding from corporations and governments. It should be possible to make anonymous donations so that if someone or some corporation doesn't want to be publicly associated with it, it could enjoy this freedom. (Far out example: Apple gives a grant, but doesn't want Microsoft to know that it is funding a free office suite competitor)

- The mission part is pretty much right on, but I don't know if "mission" is the right term here. The promotion and training parts are also very good.

- It is my personal belief that once a category of software has become commoditized and that no new technology is likely to make it progress much further, a good free open-source alternative should exist. I don't know if anyone else think that creating a minimal set of open-source software used to do everyday tasks on the Macintosh platform should be stated as a mission of the foundation?

- The part about OOo, Neo and NeoJ puts too much focus on this application alone. I believe that eventually, the foundation will be about much more than that meta-project. It might eventually fund software that has nothing to do with office applications.

Finally, I checked to see if OpenMac.org and OpenMac.com are being used and they both seem to be "parking sites", that is the site is registered but not used to do anything useful.

I would also like to hear from Terry Teague since he seems to know a few things about setting up a foundation like the one we are contemplating.
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pluby
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2004 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I noticed that you listed several organizational/administrative issues in your whitepaper. This may or may not help, but from reading your whitepaper, many of your organizational/administrative issues sound like the same issues that the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) has already worked through.

They fund many projects, they have the concept of voting members, they have a distributed board of directors, and they are an official U.S. charity.

Check out the details of their organization structure at http://www.apache.org/foundation/faq.html. If you find their structure helpful, I can ask for more details from my friends who are ASF members.

Patrick
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OPENSTEP
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2004 11:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, so I haven't posted anything in any of the funding threads myself, but of course I am biased having done this for years w/o payola.

I think the approach of doing an "open" foundation that funds multiple projects with Neo/J as one of its starting ones is a good approach. I agree with Patrick's opinion that doing a non-profit solely for the point of Neo/J may actually prove to be more of a cost at this point in time then it is worth given the ongoing maintenance fees required of any non-profit organization.

I did in fact toy a year and a half ago with stopping my real employment and starting a "NeoOffice Foundation" full time, inspired by the then new founding of the Mozilla Foundation. I honestly was willing to make Neo/OOo OSX a full-time job and devote myself to developing, selling, and evangalizing it. Unfortunately, for a number of reasons, I did not. The biggest...

I am an entrepreneur and businessman at heart. Above all else, I desire money. Just look at my car Very Happy It's evident. As such, it's not worth pursuing any idea unless there's minimally the prospect for "break-even" money. Until I started analyzing the numbers, I didn't realize how "cheap" Office v.X was. It's an impossible proposition for a couple of individuals to compete with an entire company on price. I thought of anything I could...selling CDs, selling T-shirts, selling coffee mugs, what have you. I spent four months working the numbers until I was blue in the face. Given my well founded (I think) estimates of taking Neo/J or OOo fully native within a year timeframe, I could find no revenue stream that could reach the break-even money point.

I've managed to sell "dot-bomb" proformas in my day to angels, and I couldn't even come up with fantasy numbers that could justify my case. I could not envision a fully native suite within a year long time frame without the backing of a major corporate sponsor.

Not finding one and realizing the numbers didn't work, I never pursued a NeoOffice Foundation. I was unwilling to do a "half-ass" job and do it part time if it couldn't pay my bills. There are many brave enough to risk their standard of living completely on open source. Unfortunately, considering my rent and car payments, I am not (provided I want to keep my car). Unable to commit myself full-time to creating a non-profit, I abandoned the idea.

I'm not trying to be a downer or anything, but to get a successful non-profit off the ground is no different then starting your own company, IMHO. It takes a lot of dedication, a lot of capital or sweat-equity, some powerful friends, and a lot of luck. I couldn't amass those on my own, and I called every favor I had left when I tried. It wasn't in the cards.

But, by gosh, if we can get a good organization started I suspect it's something that eventually all Mac OS X users will know by name, even if they never know who's at the helm. I'm sure my friends won't help me now but perhaps I can still sell my soul to the devil yet... Evil or Very Mad

ed
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jakeOSX
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2004 12:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Comments on the White Page Reply with quote

Boukman wrote:

- The part about OOo, Neo and NeoJ puts too much focus on this application alone. I believe that eventually, the foundation will be about much more than that meta-project. It might eventually fund software that has nothing to do with office applications.


Sorry, I thought about dividing the two, but then thought most people wouldn't want to get two files. THe bottom was the layout on the first project, that being NeoOffice. Two reasons, one, that was the focus of the topic anyway, and two, to give an example of what the foundation would do.

Quote:

Finally, I checked to see if OpenMac.org and OpenMac.com are being used and they both seem to be "parking sites", that is the site is registered but not used to do anything useful.


did the same thing, tried lots of them, actually. as i would prefer the name and URL to match, i think that the name is still up in the air.

Reply to Ed:

I'm with ya man. I would not have time to run a Non-profit if i had to work for a living too. especially if i am gonna get a car cooler than yours. WHat would be ideal would be to prepare a plan of such for a foundation and figure out how to get a good donation to start off. I reckon $200K - $250K would be a good start, that should be able to get the foundation started, and fund NeoOffice for a year.

Which would give us one year to make it work.

it is scary. it is tricky and will be a lot A LOT of work. i dunno if it is a good idea for a rag-tag group (galactica style, even). but DAMN it would be cool.
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sardisson
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2004 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, I've been thinking about things to add to the wiki in advance of beta, and I thought a brief mention of the user group and foundation ideas on the "how can i contrib" page--something like "There have also been some discussions on starting a NeoOffice/J user group to support Neo/J and a foundation to further the development of Neo/J and open-source sw on the Mac generally. If you have ideas or experience, check out [respective trinity threads]."

That also got me thinking of another possible name for our proposed future foundation: Mac FOSS Foundation. It's another acronym and not as simple and clear as OpenMac, but macfoss.com/org/net are all available (as are other TLDs) as domain names. If we are at all inclined toward this name, perhaps we should go ahead and grab the domains so when the foundation does get going, we won't have to choose a more obscure name to find a matching domain name....
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sardisson
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PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2005 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just so it stays all in one place (this is the thread we link to in the wiki, for instance), Waldo elsewhere provided this link to an oreillynet article about how to start a non-profit (from the guys who did mozdev.org):

http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/policy/2005/04/28/nonprofits.html

One interesting point is that they say people might give you funny looks if you're named "WXYZ Foundation" and come looking for money, since Foundation means you have an endowment and are giving away money. The latter half definitely fits with Jake's vision, but I think we'll be hard-pressed to have an endowment anytime soon Confused

Anyway, a good read. Thanks, Waldo!

Smokey

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