What should happen after OSCOM?

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OSCOM, the central organization for Open Source Content Management has been having organizational problems for last couple of years. Latest setback was Sandro Groganz setting down today from being the OSCOM chairman.

We founded the organization originally for two purposes:

  1. Fostering cooperation and standardization between OS CMS projects
  2. Bringing publicity to the whole OS CMS scene, instead of to the hundreds of splintered projects

And the problem clearly has been that the point 2 has simply been too successful. Everybody in the Open Source CMS scene is simply too busy with client projects to participate, much less to organize.

I believe strongly that OSCOM was a good idea, and could still be, if it had a dedicated organizer employed to make the initiatives happen. But lacking that, we should definitely consider disbanding the organization and follow the good ideas Seth Gottlieb gave:

  • Get involved with some general content management organizations such as AIIM and CM Professionals.
  • Submit standards to existing standards bodies. For example there was a lot of open source input into the JCR standard.
  • Attend each others conferences. By attending another project’s conference, an open source developer can get new ideas and also build professional relationships with other developers that he can potentially collaborate with on shared components.
  • Establish joint projects for share components.

Will be interesting to see what happens. There are lots of promising communities, like Microformats dealing with some parts of CMS-related standardization. A domain-specific cross-project roof organization like OSCOM could also be made to work, as the example of Freedesktop.org has shown us.

In any case, I had a good time with OSCOM. It is a shame to see its demise.

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