I wanted to share a few words and thoughts about Open Source. Working for 3 years very closely with the Mautic open source community, I've seen people and especially companies behaving differently. And sometimes, it irritates me a little bit to hear "I'm an expert of that community" when those experts never contributed.
The advantages of an Open Source community
- This is FREE. Almost every single person will start by that. This is true, you can download a package or get the code for free. That being said... you'll maybe have to install an app (it takes time, time is money), host it (a server costs), maintain it (takes time, needs skills), etc. Let's say that you get a free access to the project and it is already A LOT.
- The second advantage and I think should be seriously considered as the most important one, is that an Open Source project is... OPEN. That brings a lot of flexibility. This implies it could be extended, improved, customized and integrated to any other platform.
- The third and last advantage I'll list (there are more, feel free to comment if you think I'm missing something big) is the Community around the project. It is a group of people engaged around the same project and sharing many things: experiences, tests, ideas, objectives, etc. Listening to an open source community will bring you a lot.
Why you should share most of everything, and what you can share.
That being said, you now have two options.
You pick in the plate and don't feed others, or you share your dishes and sometimes bring your own food to the table.
This is more or less the two different behaviors you can have around an open source project and in my opinion when you work in that field, it must be with the spirit of common collaboration, common gain and common share. This is a strong partnership between people that could have never met. If every people brings food in the plate, we'll all feel satisfied. And there is a space for every skill, even if you're not a developer! Still like in a kitchen, you need tools, you need a cook, you need creators, you need a dish cleaner, etc. In an open source community you need several skills:
- Reporting ideas (features, bugs, enhancement)
- And plenty of other skills (marketing, moderating, etc.)
If you use an open source project, you can contribute to make it better. Regarding the one I'm working everyday with, DB Hurley its Founder has recently published an article talking about that need, Mautic search for community members to help!
The Webmecanik's Philosophy
At Webmecanik we have been providing a hosted version of an Open Source Marketing Automation project - Mautic - for 3 years. We're leading that market (in Europe at least) and we have the opportunity to meet every month some new players with that strategy. Unfortunately they don't have the same philosophy as ours - sharing with the community. I can say that because we're one of the most active contributor to this community and I've personally been selected to be part of the community team to moderate contributions, I see what happens.
Since the very beginning, Webmecanik has taken the decision to give to the community every little thing we add to mautic. Today it is about more than 250 feedbacks -issues- (bug reports, enhancement suggestions and feature requests) and more than 150 code contributions -pull requests- (bug fixes, improvements and features) which makes us being the first contributor after mautic core team itself. Why? There are several reasons, let's discuss our 2 main reasons:
- A Philosophical Approach: we think you shouldn't work with open source if you don't play by the rules of open source. Just using it and then correcting it or improving it just for yourself is a selfish approach. Imagine your government taxes your incomes but stops financing public services, how would you feel? We think this is the same, a spirit of collaboration. If you want to take advantage of such a structure, you may share what you build on that structure.
- A Question of Sustainability: to be very honest there is also this question of maintenance. If we don't share what we develop, then we cary over and over more code until the moment we'll have to definitely change the direction and have our own fork. This is not what we want. We're proud contributors of this community and we want to continue being a major actor of it.
Keep sharing your code to the open source community you're taking advantage of.
So what is the difference between Webmecanik and Mautic then? mautic.org is an Open Source project owned by a community (read more about Mautic Governance). Webmecanik is a contributor of this community offering mautic software hosted in the cloud (and private infrastructure), maintained, supported, with training and consulting and few extra features not merged by the community (but always offered to it).