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Howdy pardner...

I'd like to welcome you to this here page o'mine, which has been whipped up in no time flat to give some support and outside discussion to the presently stunned Mambo open source project and community.

Why you say? What the heck is this all about? Well pilgrim, you've found yer way to just the place ya'll need to be to get those queries answered. Sure 'nuff this here place is where we can maybe have a chuckle over what's been goin' down of late, maybe even open some eyes to where this all could be headed.

So kick back in front o' the fire and we'll spin some yarns about what could be the biggest showdown Mambo has ever seen in the ol' west

Thankye kindly fer visitin',

The Lone Mamber

Monday, August 15, 2005

This is not my beautiful house!

So how could such a successful project have come to such a quandary?

Well, this is a long and twisted tale, my friends, and one that sure enough I'll make soup out of. If you bear with me, I'll do my best to explain it as I see it.

You see, the origins of Mambo could be said to be somewhat muddied. Way back in 2000 a small web app company in the antipodes, Miro Construct (I know, it's an odd name), created their own CMS in the boom time of such contraptions.

Mambo Site Server, the great grandaddy of the Mambo we all know and love, created commercially. Yes, that's right, it wasn't born into open source, it grew into it.

Hey, looky what they had before that new fangled "mamboflower"!

Apparently, this company decided that the best way to test their new commercial enterprise was to release it onto the open source community. That's what I said, they originally changed the license to open source solely to garner a group of testers for their product...

What follows is a wierd and wonky journey through a partnership between out and out capitalist cafe culture varmits and a small team of hardworking open source developers.

But don't take my word for it, let's see what the ring leader of these shenanigans has to say about the history of Mambo, the following are the words of Peter Lamont in this thread on the Mambo forums.

[1] Miro develops Mambo and uses it to build websites in 2000.
[2] Miro releases Mambo (MOS) when it is in version 3 under the GNU GPL as open source in April 2001.
[3] From April 2001 to mid 2002, Miro is the only developer of MOS and contributes bug-fixes and security patches.
[4] During 2001 Miro continues to develop the commercial iteration of Mambo.
[5] Miro calls the next commercial version of Mambo "Mambo 2002" and releases it in January 2002. Mambo 2002 and MOS still very similar.
[6] Miro is contacted by Robert Castley who is eventually appointed as project director mid 2002
[7] Robert takes over development of version 3 of MOS and progresses it to version 4 beta.
[8] Early April 2003 Andrew Eddie joins dev team
[9] End April 2003 Robert resigns from position due to day-job pressure.
[10] Early May 2003 Miro announces it will withdraw the Mambo code for bug fixing and security patches and assigns two internal programmers. Miro also announces that due to the public abusing Mambo's copyright and ignoring the GPL under which it was licensed, it will seek to find an alterative open source license which is clearer in its intent. Under pressure from the community, Miro completes its work quickly and forgoes any further review of the license in order to get the Mambo project running again.
[11] Miro convinces Robert to resume his role which he accepts.
[12] MOS 4.5 started shortly after, sweeping architectural and schema
changes made by Andrew Eddie at this time
[13] Miro starts work re-writing a CMS which extends and refines the ideas of Mambo 2002 and calls it Mambo CMS. Mambo CMS and MOS are entirely different at this point.
[14] Miro releases Mambo CMS in August 2003.
The claim by Miro is that Mambo Open Source and their commercial Mambo have never shared any code. Doncha think this is highly unlikely, considering?

Interestingly, Mambo Open Source was withdrawn completely by Miro in 2003, just before the release of their latest incantation of the commercial variant. Here's what the man with the plan has to say about that, in the same thread:

"As the owner of Mambo it was our prerogative to re-issue and re-license the software as we saw fit. Users we distributed the software to on the other hand, may not, and that it what you mistakenly refer to. Evidence of this abounds in the open source community where refinements are made to better relect the needs of the project. During the time the code was being cleaned up, we could not find a license that was in the spirit of open source software yet more clearly worded. In the end we released it back under the GPL which was, as tonyskyday mentioned, exactly what we said we would so."
At this point, even though there had been contributors to Mambo Open Source from outside Miro, Mr. Lamont was still under the impression the license was there to do with what he liked. Under the law of open source GPL, this is plainly not the case. The snake!

He further shows his true colours with this statement, again in the same thread:

"Actually the issue of which license was utimately chosen came down to time and experience in these matters. We deferred to the GPL once again because of the very issues of contributed code.

Anyone who remembers that time will also recall the enormous criticism we faced when we withdrew the code to be reworked. We did not have the luxury of time to instruct our legal counsel to review all available licenses or to develop our own and get approval. We were under the pump to get the work done and get the code back out there as quickly as possible to avoid the project splitting. In the end we chose the GPL as the safest option."
So it would seem that the high and mighty open source ideals that Miro claims, the true reason Mambo is now GPL and not some other crazy license, is because it was the safest option...

The plot thickens...