Johan Janssens

Aug 28

“‎”Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”” — Steve Jobs narrates the first Think different commercial “Here’s to the Crazy Ones”. It never aired. Richard Dreyfuss did the voiceover for the original spot that aired. However Steve’s is much better. Here is the original.

Aug 25


Aug 24


Jun 09

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Do so by removing any personal interests, emotional feelings or religious beliefs. If you are unable, respectfully step down.” — Was asked today to formulate a personal request for the upcoming Joomla Leadership Summit…

May 31

The Joomla Dilemma

The Joomla Project is our tree of life. We feed of it’s fruits. In order to allow it to produce and grow it requires our continuous nurturing. If not, Joomla will die. 

In my keynote at the Joomladay Greece I addressed the dilemma between project and product, while Joomla as a product is growing and is used on 2.5% of all websites on the internet, Joomla is failing as an open source project.

Finding a healthy balance between project and product will be key to continued succes.

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May 27

Understanding Open Source

Talking to people at open source events, and recently at JandBeyond, I’m always surprised how easily people use the excuse ‘I don’t have time to contribute’  to the open source projects they use personally or as part of their business.

Those same people are however quick to point out governance issues, code bugs and missing features. Some of them even dare to demand for solutions for their problems.

Participate and improve

If you use free and open source software and you find any deficiency in the project, the onus is on you to address that deficiency. Open source projects provide you with tools and processes to not only remove inadequacies in any part of the project but also to improve the project. 

This whole mechanism exists to empower you : the user. If there is something that would cause you to criticize a project then it means enough to you to do something about it. In simpler terms, scratch you own itch and fix it! Without this positive feedback loop an open source project will die.

Using Nooku as an example its continued improvement and success is directly proportional to the developers community participation. If a developer contributes to Nooku then 100% of that contribution will go to improve Nooku and create a shared outcome that benefits all, including themselves.

It’s not about the numbers 

A lot of people seem to believe that by using open source software or creating solutions for and with that software they are contributing to it’s success. This is not true !  Open source doesn’t improve by use, advocacy, mindshare, by having 10 million users or a global brand. It improves by the participation and contribution from it’s community. 

For this reason, the “more users” isn’t important in open source, the more contributors is. We all use open source for our own reasons. But contributing and participating is the only way any open source project can evolve. If we use open source software, contributing and participating in the improvement of that software is commonality we should all share !

In the Nooku our community motto is : For every hour Nooku saves you, try spending 5 minutes to help improve it. If we all apply that principle to the open source projects we use, free and open source software will have a very bright future !

May 20

“It’s our community, our technology, our product or project - let’s not give anyone the illusion of control over its future. Let’s claim back our Joomla. Let’s break down whatever stands in the way of original ideas, experiments, open minds and progress. What say you ?” — Paul Delius - Spoons Knives and Forks.

May 16

Betwixt and between

Betwixt and between, an intermediate position; neither wholly one thing nor another. Ever been in such a position before? Last week I felt very much betwixt and between. This post is my way to untangle and clarify. 

Being awarded

Last Saturday, 7 May 2011 I was awarded with the Joomla Person of the Year J!OSCAR for outstanding personal achievements, my contributions to Joomla 1.5 and the innovations in Nooku.

The  J.O.S.C.A.R.S (the Joomla Open Source Creative Artistic Recognition Awards) are organised yearly during the JandBeyond conference and aim to recognise people in the Joomla community for their work contributing or using Joomla.

I didn’t expect to win an award. I wasn’t nominated for this years awards after winning the Code Junkie JOSCAR on last years conference. I’m really honoured to have received this award from a jury of peers. However, It didn’t feel right when I received it and looking back a week later, I feel this was not my award to win.

Earning merit

In my work as project manager and lead developer of Joomla I have always tried to implement governance by meritocracy giving authority to community members based on merit they earned.

A meritocracy is a common governance model for open source projects used by for example Apache and Mozilla.

The more proficient the developer is in contributing towards the project - developing new features or maintaining existing code - the more they are required or the more the project necessitates their contribution, and thus the more senior their informal position becomes. Those who contribute more code, and have more of an effect on the direction or status of the project, will tend to have more seniority and influence and gain more respect. 

Quote from wikipedia.

I made my last SVN commit to Joomla 1.5 on the 11th of January 2008 and my last direct contribution on the 18th October 2008 finishing the removal of legacy libraries and legacy code from 1.6. Unfortunately that branch and work was never used.

I was recognised for my work on Joomla 1.5 by the Joomla community in October 2008 when I received the MVP (most valuable person) award for Joomla from Packt Publishing. While in the past 3 years I have worked exclusively on Nooku and gained merit in the Nooku community. I feel that I’m being awarded for my status and not for my contributions. That goes against everything I believe in.  Moreover, my Nooku contributions are seen as competition to Joomla rather than the spirit they were contributed. 

Setting it right

A lot of hard work on Joomla 1.6 was done by three very talented and young developers who formed the Joomla 1.6 Release Team in 2008-09 : Hannes Papenberg, Gergő Erdősi and Ercan Özkaya.

They deserve a lot of kudos, credit and respect for their work. Unfortunately they never received any. On the contrary. In a mail sent to the project leadership on the 4th of September 2009, Andrew Eddie, Joomla Founder and 1.6 Development Coordinator wrote :

Hannes, Ercan and Gergo, you have been handed on a platter an asset worth millions of dollars.  You have a great responsibility to look after that.  It’s not your personal playground and not your place to say “right, I can play with it however I want now” … But overall, the Release Team is not actually “managing” the release.  True project management is completely absent. … I think this comes down to lack of experience, lack of mentoring but quite a bit of “that doesn’t interest me”

Hannes, Gergo and Ercan, all three very talented developers, who deserve to be awarded for their work on Joomla 1.6. Instead they got to carry the burden of a failure that was not theirs to carry alone. I have no doubt that they made mistakes. It’s not the mistakes we make however that define us but what we learn from them. Hannes wrote a heartfelt blog post about his experiences and lessons learned on Brian Teeman’s blog in July 2010.

In November 2009 the Joomla Project announced they had decided to pay Andrew Eddie and Louis Landry to continue the development of 1.6. Gergo and Ercan moved on to contribute the Nooku and Hannes found a place in the Molajo community in 2010.

If there is anyone who deserves to be awarded for their work it’s these three young, talented developers. Therefore I dedicate my Person(al) Joomla of the Year JOSCAR to Hannes, Gegro and Ercan for their dedication, their collaboration and most importantly their contributions to Joomla 1.6.

Thanks guys !

May 10

“People don’t care about what you say, they care about what you build.”

Apr 22


Apr 20

There is no them nor we, there is only us

In recent discussions with people from the Joomla Project I have been made aware of a growing perception among the Joomla leadership that Nooku is not only a direct competitor with Joomla, but also that Nooku is trying to actively take developers away from Joomla.

Nooku is a project for developers, integrators and hackers alike. We aim to bring developers together. We prefer collaboration over competition to grow our code and we welcome anyone who is willing to contribute in a constructive and respectful manner. We accept that we are all in this together, striving to create better software;  striving to make ours and others people’s lives easier. 

The commons in which we - The Nooku Community - work contains software under an OSI-approved licence free from usage restrictions with  guaranteed freedoms to use, study, modify and distribute it – “free software“. Our Nooku contributors each work at their own expense in order to achieve a shared outcome that benefits all, including 

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Feb 28


Feb 24


Feb 23

“Leadership is about creating a way for people to collaborate to making something extraordinary happen.”

Feb 10