What happens when an a corporate tries to buy and exploit open source without the community? The likely hood is that it dies, Open source is the community. When Northrop Gumman bought Tucana it acquired the copyright to parts of the Kowari code base which was available under an MPL license. It then sent letters to some of the developers preventing them from releasing version 1.1 claiming it would damage their business. Presumably to avoid damages the key developers left, and the Community entered a log jam. The kowari-dev list makes interesting reading, especially the lack of messages since May 06. The last one being from from a lawyer. Unfortunately I suspect that the kowari-general list would have made interesting reading…. but thats disappeared with all the old messages.

So what did the developers do ?

The forked the code from before the disputed period, and re-did all the development since then in a clean-room. The also changed license to a OSL-v3 which is sticky to prevent code becoming closed source.

The community looks active, willing to help and friendly. When I asked could Sakai use Mulgara with the current Sakai license and still allow commercial affiliates to have closed source components, the answer was “thats what we intended, and let us know if you want help”

The full response is http://mulgara.org/pipermail/mulgara-dev/2006-October/000174.html

and the positive nature of the community is expressed in http://mulgara.org/pipermail/mulgara-dev/2006-October/000162.html

Kowari and Mulgara are both Oz Marsupials, Open source is the community and commercial is what pays the bills…. all is right in the world.