Alex Fletcher, an analyst from Entiva Group is asking why IBM doesn’t have more blogs devoted to OSS projects that IBMers participates in. He points to the easily findable blogs from Sun employees who work on NetBeans & GlassFish as examples for what he’d like to see from IBM.
I’d propose that one of the reasons is because IBM has a better grasp of how to work in a true open source community. The thing with Sun-backed OSS projects is that they are, by in large, Sun-(backed)-projects. There may be other vendors who participate in the ‘community’, but everyone knows where the buck stops. This cannot be said for OSS projects that IBM participates in. Eclipse is the best example. Sure, IBM started the project and helped nurture the community during the early days, but does anyone think that Eclipse is an “IBM project”? Heck, how many people using Eclipse today even know about IBM’s initial and on-going involvement? ;-) What about Apache Geronimo? Last time I checked, IBM had 12 of 31 active committers from 20 companies working on the Geronimo project. I’m sure these numbers are growing with the greater adoption of Geronimo that we’re seeing.
True open source communities are efficient at selecting their own spokespersons and where their opinions will be voiced from (i.e. usually not a large IT vendor corporate blog). Companies who start ‘open source’ projects that they seek to control need to install their own spokespeople. Luckily, IBM doesn’t fall into this group of companies.
Simply put, IBM does not represent Eclipse, Geronimo, Apache HTTP Server, AXIS, Linux or the hundreds of OSS projects IBMers participate in. If an IBMer is a thought leader in one of those communities, you’ll find his/her blog through that community I’m sure.