Subject Re: Firebird HowTo
--- In IBDI@y..., Mark O'Donohue <mark.odonohue@l...> wrote:
> Hi Markus
> Verry impressive and well thought out article.
> Just a few quibbling points and a bit of discussion, Firebird
> from it's inception has had people from all walks of life, one
> of beauties of it is we dont really care, as contribution is
> important, your affiliations less so.

> In fact most of the main contributors to the current code base
> do not come from any specific organisation.
> What is Firebird? I agree that it encompasses a much more
> extensive community than just it's developers and in this sense
> it involves people in the IBDI and InterBase communities as well.
> As someone pointed out Firebird and InterBase are relatives, and
> a lot of our supports/ extented community seems to be addicted
> to other Borland technologies as well, so I see the larger
> Firebird community involvment as being fairly mixed, and as you
> point out not being particularly anti-Borland.

Exactly. However, for the sake of clear terminology, I wouldn't say
Firebird involves people in the IBDI and InterBase communities.

An OSS community, as I understand it, is identified by a common
source code repository. If somebody forks the code that's also a
split in the community. Therefore we have formally two communities,
Firebird and Interbase (in reality the latter doesn't seem to exist).
IBDI isn't a community, it's an organization.

I think a contributor doesn't work at the same time with Borland and
Firebird. Either he submits his code to Borland or to the Firebird
tree. The one who writes documentation will entitle it either
Firebird... Manual or InterBase... Manual and, by that choice of
title, express his sens of belonging to one community rather than to
the other. It's therefore a flaw in your terminology if you say that
Firebird involves people from InterBase.

Oh, I know what you mean. For example the one who makes an ODBC
driver that can be used for both InterBase and Firebird. Does he
belong to the Firebird community even if he calls his driver
InterBase something? Strictly speaking no. Choosing to call his piece
of software InterBase, he belongs to Borland, the oposite camp.

The only practical importance this has, is that I suggest to make
this distinction on the Firebird website, grouping Firebird official
documentation and "third partie" documentation etc.

> I suppose I see Firebird as fairly close and a strong overlapping
> with the IBDI community. Most of us in Firebird also work/have
> worked/continue to work with InterBase and although I see the
> products as different I don't necessarily see the membership of
> the communities as being so. The IBDI also shares the fact that
> it is a "not for profit" organisation.

See above.

> The comments on the Firebird trademark and Firebird Association"
> I think are very interesting and as we grow the association sounds
> like a good direction for us (I was punting on a "Firebird
> Foundation", mainly becuase of the name :-), but association sems
> to fit our picture fairly well).
> Are we a "meritocracy"? Currently I think it goes on who does the
> work gets the say. Perhaps we are following Riccardo Semmlers
> maverick example, or more likely it's becuase there is a lot of
> work to do and we're happy to have anyone who is willing to
> participate. Im not sure what *crasy that one comes out as but
> I'd like to know if there is a word to describe it.

You know, when you found the association, the articles can tell who
can become a member. I'd put something like "Persons who have
actively participated in the development over a certain time may
become member". That makes an admission for merit. In any case it's
(normally) the member assembly who decides to admit new members.
There's no right to join, so it's pretty safe.

> On the IBPhoenix, while I agree with what you say, I think that
> overall IBPhoenix has put in a lot to the FB/IB community as a
> whole, and not just Firebird without a lot currently in return.
> The documentation for instance was all their own work from personal
> archives, knowledge and contacts. Overall (not particulaly in
> your article) I think they deserve a bit more of a positive than
> they get, but it seems to get lost when people start to stack them
> up against opensource, against Borland and so on.
Yes, thanks for pointing this out, I know IBPhoenix has given a lot
and agree they should receive something in return.

Maybe I have a bit shot over the goal with my remarks concerning the
documentation. Well, I don't even really know what documentation
exists ;) But I still think that at least just the very basic
documentation, especially user manual etc. must be provided on the
Firebird site. A mere "Documentation" link on the Firebird site,
which directly takes to IBPhoenix, isn't enough. That makes Firebird
look incomplete IMHO. How about this: Basic documentation on the
Firebird site and a link to IBPhoenix for further documentation?

Concerning financial interests of IBPhoenix in the Firebird project,
there are of course different possibilities:

First, Firebird doesn't necessarily need to be non-profit. If the
developers agree, Ann could take control of the source tree and found
a Firebird Inc. and run a business, just like MySql does. Firebird
Inc. would hire people to work on the code and earn money from
selling CDs and Support. Of course the current developers of the
project would need to agree with this.

Second possibility: The association, once created, and if she has an
income (sponsoring, selling CDs,...) could pay some staff (e.g.
persons from IBPhoenix) for their work on the code. This staff
wouldn't get paied in its quality of association members (because the
association is non-profit), they'd rather have the status of
contractors or employees of the association. If things work a little
well, the association could maybe have a couple of full time
employees. At that moment there would be no IBPhoenix anymore and Ann
could make a living from being the president of the association and
coordination of Firebird development, for example.

Third possibility and the way I've so far seen IBPhoenix so far: An
independent consulting venture. At that moment what Firebird can give
is the "Support" section of the website. At the moment IBPhoenix
doesn't have any competition here, they can use the entire section of
the site to offer their services. But again: There must be a support
section on the site, not simply a link to IBPhoenix. It's ok if that
support section consists of 1 page with information, from where they
can link to IBPhoenix.

However, revenue from CD sales and thelike should in this case go to
the Association and not to IBPhoenix. Because that's the motivation
for people to buy the CDs: The not for profit nature of the

> I remember one person pointing out in a borland newsgroup that the
> "alternatve" non official sites (which I believe he was referring
> to interbase2000 and ibphoenix were more "interesting" I hope that
> remains so :-).
> And we need to trash the web page :-O, I hope you broke that gently
> to Pavel :-), since he has only recently change it to what it is
> today.
> Again Im sure he'll be taking your comments onboard and next
> metamorphasis we'll see what happens.

In my opinion the Firebird website is too important to just "wait and
see what happens". It must be up and running before Firebird 1.0 is