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Re: [nodejs] Re: node.js needs a new home


Isaac Schlueter Dec 3, 2013 11:35 PM
Posted in group: nodejs
Issac,

> We think it hurts Node.js adoption for it to be perceived to be owned by Joyent. 

That's a bold claim to make of the platform that is *still* growing faster in adoption than any platform in history.  Can you back it up with data?  Where SHOULD Node.js be adopted?  Please be specific.  Name a real company that is *not* using Node.js because Joyent owns it.  Because plenty of companies seem to have no problem adopting Node.

The reason it's "perceived" to be owned by Joyent is that it IS owned by Joyent, and most people are capable of perceiving such a thing, because they can read, and they know what "ownership" is.  If you disagree, then disagree.  Say "Joyent does not own Node.js", and make the case for it.  Stop with the weasel words, it's weak writing, and it's gross.


But since this isn't the first time it's come up, I'd like to suggest you actually follow through with this.

So what would be the first step to putting Node.js in a foundation?

Since Apache (the only foundation I'm aware of that does trademark protection) is off the table, would you suggest that we genericide the mark?  Personally, I think that's a bad idea, and I don't think I'm alone.  And what has Eclipse done to earn our trust?

** Obstacle 1: Convince Node.js community that genericide is preferable to trademark protection, and that Eclipse is preferable to Joyent.

Nontrivial, at least.

Let's say that we don't/can't do that, we'd have to create a new foundation.  That's not cheap.  Conservative estimates put it at around 1-2 million a year for legal, marketing, hiring a few developers to work on Node.js.

After all, you're claiming that the foundation is *better* than Joyent, so I'd assume that means that it does *more* than Joyent does for Node. Hiring TJ Fontaine, me, Emily Tanaka-Delgado, another dev, and some legal is a bare minimum, even if we do put it in Eclipse.  (Why would Joyent invest so much more than anyone else, in a product they don't own?)

** Obstacle 2: Come up with $1MM per year in recurring income.

It's easy to say "Big companies would pay."  So, which ones?  Do you have contacts there, with the authority to write checks?  Have you negotiated terms under which they'd do so? Are they any more agreeable to the Node.js community than Joyent, who's biggest sin is "doesn't do enough", and has a long reputation of behaving well in OSS communities?

Show me the money.

And this brings us to the biggest obstacle: the fact that Joyent actually DOES "own Node.js", and in fact, generates a LOT of their revenue from the reputation of being the cloud provider that is most highly focused on Node.js as a first-class citizen.  (Just ask the folks at Voxer, Walmart, etc.)  It would be a breach of fiduciary duty for them to just give it away to a foundation for no reason.  Unconscionable!

So, what's the pitch?  How is it in Joyent's interest to give away their cash cow?

** Obstacle 3: Sell Joyent on giving up Node.js.

Complaining isn't enough.  Show how it is in *Joyent's* financial interest to give it up.  Perhaps you could purchase it from them.  But with what money?  Do you know how much it would cost?  Do you have buyers lined up?


I'm not saying that these obstacles are insurmountable.  Nothing is impossible!  But I see a rather daunting and cash-intensive project, and no one with deep enough pockets who is motivated to pursue it.  What's in it for them?  Their logo on a website?  Why not just hire a core developer for much LESS money, and get involved that way, which is much more useful?

If anyone actually had that kind of motivation and access to capital, why wouldn't they just create a startup and get rich, instead?  Nonprofits are at least as challenging as startups, and in many ways more so.

It's very easy to complain about Joyent not doing some vague misunderstood thing called "put Node.js in a foundation".  But it has never made much sense to me, really.  The purpose of a foundation is to manage valuable assets.  If you already have a corporation doing that for you, and protecting the trademarks for you, what's the point?  What do YOU get out of it?

Until these questions are answered, the "put it in a foundation" spiel isn't something I can take seriously.



On Tue, Dec 3, 2013 at 10:24 PM, Mikeal Rogers <mikeal...@gmail.com> wrote:
Just a few things.

When you want to comment in regard to Bryan Cantrill's post on behalf of Joyent it doesn't make you sound more definitive to state your opinion as some sort of overwhelming consensus when it is not. I agreed with Bryan and have nothing to do with Joyent. Many others feel the same.

Saying this "hurts Joyent's credibility" is not a better way of saying "I disagree." Please stop, it makes you sound foolish.

Next thing: core doesn't matter. I love core, they do awesome stuff, but core as an influencer of the community overall matters roughly 4x less than it did a year ago. Next year it'll matter less. Being that it matters less why are wasting energy trying to migrate its ownership? The ecosystem is where all the value is, it is not owned by Joyent, it is owned by the contributors.

Next thing: if the actual people who committed regularly to core (there's only about 6 of them) felt that Joyent's involvement was a hinderance they'd fork, guaranteed. It's not actually that hard to just fork the project. In fact, it would be easier for the maintainers to fork than to migrate the ownership and trademark to a non-profit. The maintainers are not calling for that, so how about everyone else just stop.

This is only an attractive subject to rant about because you can put all of the responsibility for action on other people. If someone wants to come up with a half a million dollars in legal fees to start a non-profit and defend the trademark I'll start to care about what you have to say.

It's been a long week, this is an unfortunate and stupid distraction, let's stop.

-Mikeal


On Dec 3, 2013, at 9:56PM, Darren DeRidder <drder...@gmail.com> wrote:

To clarify, Brett, in reference to the first article, the "old timers" around here who followed this issue as it unfolded will probably realize it involves underlying friction between developers at two different companies coming to the surface. The response of Bryan C., publicly calling for the firing of a core node contributor, was alarming to say the least. It hurts Joyent's credibility when heavily invested users see that their top leadership would rather publicly shame a valuable contributor over a minor misunderstanding than deal with it in a productive way.

As Rick pointed out, a foundation in and of itself may not have helped in this particular instance, but the idea in general isn't naive, and might be inevitable. As others have pointed out, there is a reason why software foundations exist.

Going forward, the inter-company friction could increase... It should be pointed out that today Joyent announced their new professional services support for enterprise Node.JS users, a business model in direct competition with StrongLoop. Owning copyright and trade marks on the code and brand of Node.JS gives them an undeniable advantage, and although we haven't seen this being abused yet, naivety would be to assume it never would be.

Also, as others said, the perception that Joyent "owns" node is a concern for some larger potential users of the technology. I'm not affiliated with either Joyent or StrongLoop; I work for a very large international telecommunications company. It's a continual battle to get acceptance for new technology, and efforts to promote node in the enterprise will be hurt if open hostility is seen coming from it's "corporate stewards", regardless of the underlying issue. A foundation like Mozilla, Apache or Eclipse addresses  the perception issue and could also help ease concerns about Joyent's "trigger-happy" leadership. Other considerations for/against a foundation can be seen in the second link to Ryan's original announcement.

As for the foundations themselves, I agree that they seem dated and uncool and that Apache might not be the right choice. To be fair, PhoneGap / Cordova went with Apache, so it's not *all* gathering dust.

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