I have been asked this very question many times in the past three years. So far my answer always has been : “I am passionate about creating free software, building web architectures and collaborating with others”. While this is 100% true it’s not the complete answer.
A little over three years ago my involvement in the Joomla project was abruptly ended. On the 20th of October 2008 I received the following mail
… you have been effectively inactive for more then a year now. Because of this we concluded that you have no plans to be actively and constructively engaged with this team any more … We would like to thank you for your huge contributions to the project. Without you the project would absolutely not be where it is today.
Two days before, on the 18th of October, I had finished my work on the removal of legacy libraries and legacy code for Joomla 1.6. My last SVN commit to Joomla 1.5 was made on the 11th of January 2008, only 9 months earlier.
Still on 20th October 2008 my SVN access was removed. Suddenly I was no longer allowed to contribute to the very project I had put my heart and soul into building.
Almost ironically a week later I received the most valuable person award for Joomla from Packt Publishing.
Going there and back again
What had been the focus of the past 5 years was gone, and it was devastating. I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I even thought about quitting web development and changing careers. But slowly I realised — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Joomla had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love.
And so I continued where I left off. In the past three years I founded Timble, traveled the world, spoke about the free software movement and met very talented and passionate people. Some of which I have the opportunity to work with daily. Many of which I am proud to call friends.
In those three years Nooku grew into a collaborative open source project driven by an awesome community of creative developers from all over the world. All of which drive me every single day to make great things happen.
A handful of people have personally guided me on the way. They listened, challenged me to think bigger and pushed me to move on. You know who you are. Thank you !
Be the change you want to see in the world
Forking Mambo was one of the most challenging things I have ever done. Moving an open source project had never been done before. There was no experience to lean on, no examples to learn from. Founding Joomla thought me to fail early, fail fast, fail often. My roles as project manager, lead developer and board member learned me that there are times you need to do what you feel is just, not what is expected.
In the past three years on a few occasions and when asked I have openly challenged Joomla. Some have perceived this as bashing, others have cornered it as competing. The reality is far more simple : I care !
I’m not the only one. There are many others who do. Let’s not forget we are all on the same side, we just sometimes draw the lines differently. Let us respect these differences and move together as a software community, united by the core goal of freedom and openness. Let our creative an innovative ideas flow and let us - not only - be proud on what we are building but also on the way we are building it.
Looking forward to what lies ahead
The past three years have learned me to enjoy life as a flow of change, chaos and beauty. I am pretty sure that Nooku wouldn’t have happened if I had not been removed from Joomla.
I have also come to realise that when you feel you are going uphill you should change course. At the end of the development of Joomla 1.5 I was going uphill. Nooku is my change in course.
I am not sure where I am going, I don’t have any fixed plans. I will continue to do what I love : helping to architect the web, sharing my work as free software and pushing the status quo at every step of the way.
One last thing
May I ask you a favor ? If you feel a compelling need to react or respond to this post I hope you will consider not to. Make a choice to challenge and lead instead. I am certain we will meet out there, wherever that might be.