CyberTech Rambler

November 12, 2008

Rethinking CodePlex? About time …

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 10:43 pm

According to TheRegister, Microsoft is rethinking CodePlex. Given the recent controversy, I think it is a good idea.

CodePlex’s problems can be explain in just one line : “No clear objectives”. Primary question: What type of licenses does it accepts? What does the collection of licenses says about the website?

A few recent events suggests that Microsoft does not really know what CodePlex is about. First, it has to pull a project, then it appears that there is one rule for Microsoft, another for the rest of us. All these causes confusion and devalue CodePlex. The worry is, will eventually, at least in the mind of the users, turn CodePlex into a site where you download Windows software, the promise about source code is “vapourware”. When that happens, what’s differentiating CodePlex from other software download site?

I do not think yet another site for open source license only (the way OSI define it, not Microsoft) is the way forward: SourceForge.net already serve that role. It is a more prestigious site than Microsoft. However, a few other options are available which can differentiate CodePlex from others:

  1. a site for software with all Microsoft “share source” license
  2. a site for all projects sponsored by Microsoft with a “share-source” like license
  3. a site which only host software from Microsoft under “share source license”

As for reorganizing the site, I don’t think splitting the site into subsites based on licenses help. The example quoted, “academics.codeplex….”, quite simply add to the confusion.

If any, sourceforge.net taught us that projects with different licensing terms and conditions can live side-by-side if the site has clear objective. Initially, we probably have confusion, but once this dies down, the clear objective for the site will help users navigate it.

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