The doubtful future of OSCOM

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OSCOM’s general meeting was held last night. The main issue in the stormy discussion was the question whether the association should be dissolved or not.

The OSCOM association was founded in 2002 to further collaboration and standardization between Open Source Content Management System projects.

What OSCOM did well

OSCOM was unique that in a very competitive and split field it was able to bring people together from many different projects and companies to work together. As Sandro summarized:

well, what’s the reason for OSCOM? it’s that we don’t want to play the stupid we-are-competitors-and-we-dont-talk-but-fight- each-other game

we at least want to talk with each other, because we respect our expertise and we can learn from each other

This worked quite well, especially in the first two years. I went to OSCOM 1 expecting to only pitch Midgard against competitors, but actually ended up learning quite a bit and having lots of fun.

Things started becoming even more promising when several cross-CMS development projects were started. It was an especially nice moment when we were able to demo the Twingle offline editor editing content in three different systems at the end of the first Sprint.

But during 2004 things started to decline, and since OSCOM 4 the association has been existing mostly in an “undead” state.

And what went wrong

OSCOM’s biggest problem was that it failed to recruit new active people into the association. When the CMS market started doing better most of the formerly active members became simply too busy to participate.

Several cross-CMS projects were started by people outside the OSCOM community that could’ve been OSCOM activities with a bit of effort. Especially the Open Source CMS Summit in Vancouver this month and the Open Source CMS site come to mind.

Discussion in the meeting was on whether the association should be dissolved or not. Sandro Groganz took the task of producing a new plan for making OSCOM work, and the discussion was suspended until March 2nd so that this plan can be presented.

I wish the best for Sandro’s efforts. OSCOM has been a great initiative and it has been sad to see it decline.

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