FOSS

Is an open license enough?

Does having an open license for a software project, have all the advantages negated if the development process is basically closed to the outside world?

Recently I have been trialling a new web based account/billing software. It is not a very mature project, but the features listed and performance so far have me believing that this is potentially a good solution. Also it is written in a language I am comfortable with (PHP), and it has an open license (GNU AGPL). Hence I may be able to contribute.

However, I have now encountered some issues. The project is under the control of a small company, and project communication is limited to a couple of mailing lists. I have tried direct communication, but the response was things are proceeding, and they are very busy.

The latest planned release date has now slipped twice. I understand software development, and this happens, but public communication has been minimal. Also there is no public source control. In most FOSS projects, a browse of commits will give a good indication of the health of the project, but this is not possible.

So we have a closed open source project. Some may raise the option of forking, but this is almost exclusively a bad result in the long run. So I will wait a little longer, and see how it goes?

Note: I have intentionally not named the software in question, as I still have hope for this project, and do not wish to tarnish the reputation unfairly.

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