Posted: 29 Jan 2003 04:13 PM
In January 2002 I downloaded the IBS Portal source code ( VS-VB version ) and set
about making the enhancements I felt were necessary to build a truly useful portal
application. Over the next 12 months I proceeded to make code modifications which
I believe are substantive enough to be considered a near rewrite. In December 2002
I decided it was time to promote the enhanced code base to the next level. I considered
packaging the application as a product but after I read the EULA for the IBS Portal,
I concluded that since the IBS Workshop was a "derivative" product, I could not
"sell, rent, or lease the SOFTWARE PRODUCT" as a new entity. Perhaps this interpretation
of the EULA was incorrect; however, it formed the basis of my decision going forward.
From my first experiences with IBS, it did not take long to realize the similarities
between the IBS Portal and its cousin PHPNuke. PHPNuke is a Free Software web portal
system written in PHP and released under the GNU/GPL license. PHPNuke has enjoyed
considerable success as an open source project as it leverages the economical PHP/MySQL/Apache/Linux
Coming from a Microsoft background, the concept of "open source" was a foreign concept
to me. Microsoft has many "reference implementations" ( the original IBS Portal
falls into this category ) which include full source code. However, they are always
static in nature and are never a complete product as they are generally meant to
simply demonstrate a particular technology. However, in contrast to most of the
MS reference implementations I had seen in the past, the IBS Portal had some tremendous
potential for extensibility and scalability.
The more I thought about the open source paradigm, the more I realized that it fit
my ultimate goal for my IBS Portal application. The base IBS framework should handle
the general administrative needs of any web application. And I believe the true
commercial opportunity is in the areas of domain-specific functionality. So finally,
on Christmas Eve in the spirit of giving, I released the IBS Workshop as an open
In the past month there has been incredible interest in this project. Over 1000
downloads, hundreds of emails, and numerous threads posted in the ASP.NET Forums.
I am very pleased that the project has been so well received but it has also resulted
in some issues which I would like to share with the community.
- The code was released with no warranty or support. Yet I have still received hundreds
of emails with questions related to the IBS Workshop implementation/architecture
( this may improve with each release as well as the new dedicated Forum ASP.NET
has promised ).
- Managing source code releases has its challenges. If people modify the core IBS
Workshop source code then the upgrade process is very complicated. The general idea
is to have the community submit enhancement suggestions so that they could be incorporated
into the base code and everyone benefits ( I am already working with a couple developers
on some very powerful enhancements )
- Many anonymous users have registered with bogus information in order to download
the code causing administration headaches ( I have a new User Registration option
I have called "verified" which should prevent this ).
The bottom line is open source projects must still have a viable revenue model to
survive ( ie. PHP-Nuke is financially supported by MandrakeSoft the folks that made
Mandrake Linux ).
Given the fact that the code is free for download, there must be some other revenue
stream to sustain the non-profit entity. I do not wish to lose the momentum this
project has gained but I am finding it difficult to dedicate the non-billable time
required. I definitely wish to keep the IBS Workshop as an open source initiative
as I think the .NET developer community will realize huge benefits. I am open to
any and all suggestions from the community...
Perpetual Motion Interactive Systems Inc.
Thank you ASP.NET!
Posted: 29 Jan 2003 04:11 PM
This new forum is dedicated to the IBuySpy Workshop [http://126.96.36.199/ibuyspyworkshop/]
application, a multi-portal open source code implementation of the IBuySpy Portal.
Perpetual Motion Interactive Systems Inc.