Dear XWiki community,
I’m writing to you, not as a XWiki committer, but with my XWiki SAS CTO hat. As you may know, there’s a company named XWiki SAS, created by Ludovic Dubost (the original creator of the XWiki software) who sponsors employees to work on developing the open source XWiki project. If you’re interested to read more about the relationship between XWiki SAS (the company) and XWiki (the open source project) please check this FAQ entry: http://bit.ly/2jWBtiJ
For over 12 years, the XWiki SAS company has been committed to developing everything not only as open source but also as free. That’s why we have today a great free and open source XWiki product. The idea was for XWiki SAS to sponsor this work by having some users knock at our door and pay for some of our services: sponsoring of features, custom development and integration, support contracts, training and hosting.
Today, we are concerned because not enough users play the game and not enough users contribute something back (whether it’s code or by buying something from XWiki SAS). It’s becoming harder and harder for XWiki SAS to continue sponsoring the development of the software to a sizeable level. XWiki SAS operates on a very low budget and everything it earns is ultimately put back in the development of the XWiki software.
So we need to find new revenue streams. One direction we’ve started about a year ago, was to launch XWiki Cloud (http://www.xwiki.com/en/products/try-xwiki-cloud). While it’s growing, the pricing is very aggressive and the overall numbers are still low. We’ve also started developing 2 paying apps that you can see on https://store.xwiki.com/. We’ve been proposing them for about 6 months now to gauge interest (under a fixed price but in the future we’d like the price to be based on users/usage since we believe it’s more fair). The results are quite low too so far.
However we believe that one way for XWiki SAS to continue sponsoring the development of the XWiki software lies in transforming even more the XWiki Store into a paying store and reinject the revenues into the software.
We’d like to take the extensions developed by XWiki SAS that we had put on extensions.xwiki.org and make them paying apps, by moving them to store.xwiki.com. One idea is to do that by forking them so that if the community wants to continue contributing to the free version they can still do that. However, the XWiki SAS employees who would work on those extensions in the future would contribute to the paying version, which will be both supported and getting better and better over time.
Now XWiki SAS is still strongly committed to open source (http://www.xwiki.com/en/company/manifesto) and we would like to try one thing: continue to put those paying apps under an open source license (but don’t provide the binaries, which would require a license to work). The idea is that technical-enough members of the community could still build them from sources if they know how to do this (but please play the game and buy some license to help the project develop!) while companies who don’t normally contribute would pay for the license, and thus contribute to the XWiki project and open source in general.
You may wonder which extensions are concerned. Those are a sizeable number of Recommended extensions from extensions.xwiki.org that are not bundled by default in XWiki Standard (the exact list is not defined yet and it would happen over time - Some candidates: Diagram Apps, Office365, Google Apps, Admin Tools, File Manager, Forum, Flash Messages, XPoll, Ideas, Meeting). We’re very committed to keeping XWiki Standard free and open source.
In addition we’re thinking about giving free licenses of the paying apps to open source projects, non-commercial projects and to contributors of those extensions (past and future). Note that those free licenses would not include support.
Before going ahead with this, I wanted to reach out to you and listen to your opinions about it. Some of you have been in this community for a very long time and we certainly don’t want to alienate anyone.
Let me know what you think.
Thank you very much
XWiki SAS CTO