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30 October 2008, 10:56 vs. NextWiki: open source developers go their own way

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On Monday the Twiki community decisively quit the project and reformed under the working title NextWiki. This step was prompted by a release meeting at which it was announced that the company, owned by the project's founder and owner of the "Twiki" trademark Peter Thoeny, would now take over governance of the open source Twiki project. Thoeny, who runs the project servers, underlined this decision by blocking the accounts of all core developers. Only developers who agree to a set of new rules will be granted access to the code.

The dispute between the community and Peter Thoeny has been building up for some time. Although the establishment of a year ago was welcomed, discord was not far behind. Members of the community were frustrated by taking credit for the successes of its open source developers and by its failure to give them legal authority to use the Twiki name. Reconciliation seemed to be on the cards following the Twiki conference in September. Visitors to the conference passed resolutions to elect an interim board to negotiate with, not to appoint Peter Thoeny as BDFL (Benevolent Dictator for Life), to grant an unlimited open source licence for free use of the name Twiki and to establish a non-profit association. Thoeny consented to the election of an interim board to negotiate with him on the second resolution.

This is not now going to happen following Monday's events. The Twiki community has started a new project under the working title NextWiki. Its aim is to contact all Twiki users and customers, to explain the new situation to them and to provide reassurance. The developers are also looking for a new name for the fork and want to restore the project structure and implement the roadmap which was planned for Twiki 5.0. They also plan to set up a non-profit association similar to KDE e.V.

Background information on the decision to fork, from the community point of view, can be found on the Wikiring blog.


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