Ça fork chez #owncloud, ou les joies de l’open source...
Nothing is perfect, the company could have done a better job recognizing the achievements of the community. It sometimes has a tendency to control the work too closely and discus things internally. But overall, the balance was not too bad.Without sharing too much, there are some moral questions popping up for me. Who owns the community? Who owns ownCloud itself? And what matters more, short term money or long term responsibility and growth? Is ownCloud just another company or do we also have to answer to the hundreds of volunteers who contribute and make it what it is today?
These questions brought me to the very tough decisions: I have decided to leave my own company today. Yes, I handed in my resignation and will no longer work for ownCloud, Inc.
As announced 5 weeks ago I left ownCloud, Inc., The company that I co-founded. Not because I abandoned ownCloud or the idea behind it. Actually the opposite. I don’t want to go into details but there are a lot of things that could have been better at ownCloud Inc.
So I, and a most of the core technical people reached the point where we decided to reboot ownCloud in a better way.
So today we are forking ownCloud into a new open source project called Nextcloud and we are also founding a new company called Nextcloud GmbH to offer Nextcloud software and services for companies and bigger organizations.
Open source projects work best when they have a company behind them which aims to build a sustainable business around a symbiotic relationship with the community they are a part off. Make no mistake, I think it’s great if people (investors, founders) can cash out big. They take a risk, put in blood, sweat and tears. But venture capital often leads to short term thinking and chasing of quarterly numbers resulting in bad decisions. Money, time and effort is wasted and growth isn’t what it could be - and that’s pretty much a best case scenario.
Today’s announcement by our former colleague Frank Karlitschek, that he intends to launch a competitive product to ownCloud into the market using recently poached developers, has both surprised us and – admittedly – disappointed us. In the past, Frank has made a wealth of contributions to the development of the ownCloud Community Edition. With today’s announcement, he is no longer related to the ownCloud project and has started a competing community.Unfortunately, the announcement has consequences for ownCloud, Inc. based in Lexington, MA. Our main lenders in the US have cancelled our credit. Following American law, we are forced to close the doors of ownCloud, Inc. with immediate effect and terminate the contracts of 8 employees.