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Get on the scene
19 Nov 2008 – 10:34 in tagged , , , , by Michael Daum
The community formerly known as TWiki.org has entered the home stretch to strip off its burdens of the past.
On November 18th, the community has voted for a new name for the project that recently forked off TWiki.org and which hit the front pages recently under the working title NextWiki. So welcome the new old player.

Happy birthday to Foswiki.

This is the start of a great new brand that is about to evolve at foswiki.org The tagline of the project is

The Free and Open Source Wiki

which obviously is reprocessing the trauma of the Hostile takeover of the Open Source Project TWiki but also targets at its best competitors in the market segment, which are not Open Source.

It remains to be seen if this new project will be able to catch up with the field, as it was dropping behind recently, according to the Magic Quadrant for Social Software, 2008. In this paper, Gartner categorizes TWiki as a niche player only whereas it was on par with Socialtext in the Magic Quadrant for Team Collaboration and Social Software, 2007. That might be the result of the long paralysis caused by the governace crisis over the recent years on the TWiki project, which finally culminated in the recent fork 3 weeks ago.

This paralysis obviously has been overcome as the new project Foswiki shows an impressive amount of activities by all members. Long-time contributors, that went on strike as the trademark issues on TWiki started to manifest, now show an outburst of activities, committing and impressive stream of updates and bugfixes to the new platform. Surely, a vast amount of work is related to rebranding the software by pinching the string "TWiki" out of every place.

The questionnaire on finding the new brand name for the project had an impressive 100 submissions spot on just within a few days. There was a prior survey among the community to find out about its likings for a new name that had even more submissions. Compare this with just a hand full of members that dared to voice up on the old TWiki project during all of its quarrels. That's over now and people obviously have fun again to volunteer.

There was already very positive feedback on the cheers-and-donate mailing list coming from outside. One of which says:

The new website is very appealing and the first impression is not "bitter" but "better", so keep that up! A big cheer for everyone involved in this initiative!!

Still, according to the criteria for a product to be listed on the Magic Quadrant study by Gartner, it seems quite probable that TWiki will drop out on 2009, as it lost its community which created the product before. Regarding its Open Source process, TWiki can be considered dead and with it goes its core engine. Foswiki, on the other side, now continues work on the engine with a lot of verve, but won't show up easily on a forthcoming 2009 Magic Quadrant as it still has to build up its new brand and user base. However, as most authors of extensions have moved to Foswiki and now maintain their work on the new platform, moving from TWiki to Foswiki is a natural choice to keep up with upstream updates and improvements.

TWIKI.NET, the new owner of TWiki.org, won't rest and just watch. They are actively working on interesting applications to address intranet needs build on top of the TWiki engine. The fact that this software can be used to build applications like that is great in its own and TWIKI.NET does score in that field as far as can be seen from outside. But of how much value are such applications in the long run, when the platform they are build on erodes? TWIKI.NET is funded by venture capital paying a bunch of developers in Asia and elsewhere. Time will show if that business plan pays off to cope with all the open road works that they have to face all alone now. Good luck from WikiRing.


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r2 – 19 Nov 2008 – 13:35:53 – Main.MichaelDaum
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