TWiki moving forward, surprising summit results and embarrassed CEO

Right before my short holiday in Germany (great country, they know their trains very well), i decided to hop by on friday afternoon at the Berlin TWiki community summit, which had been going on for a day already at that point. The stakes were set high: as a result of’s hi-jacking of the open source project a fork was in the air. An ultimatum was set: succumb to our demands or we fork. Needless to say, a fork would reflect bad on and would make their investors frown.

The day before, i was on the phone following the proceedings in Berlin via tele-conference facilities. I wish I had been there: CEO Tom Barton was reported to be utterly surprised by the unequivocal hostility in the community towards It must have been quite an embarrassing affair for the CEO: should he not have known his technical lead and community liason had squandered their trusth-worthiness with the community? Perhaps he did, and the embarrassement was mere acting in order to continue singing the old song: ‘give us some time we will work things out’. It does indicate that is clearly not an active part of the TWiki community.
Anyway, the summit brought a lot of unexpected and very positive results! Founder Peter Thoeny has dropped his demand to be the ‘benevolent dictator for life’, and there is even an opening for a TWiki foundation. The committee that Peter appointed to iron out the governance issues has been replaced by a more democratically chosen team, with surprising new blood Adam Hyde (whom I already met a couple of times in Amsterdam).
But some issues are still in the air: founder Thoeny is regarded the ‘chief TWiki evangelist’ and is thus allowed to continue to bring a mixed message. While evangelizing the open source project, he will at the same time advertise his own company. The distinction will remain unclear in that regard, i fear. More importantly, there is the trademark-issue. Thoeny owns the TWiki trademark, and now demands that any mention of the TWiki project in online media is accompanied by a link to This is unfair competition, and to me totally unacceptable.

So some key facts remain hanging in the air. Despite the intented ultimatum (‘resolve things at the summit or we fork’), and Peter Thoeny have been granted yet another period of delay. Discussion around some key issues continues, without any involvement from Thoeny himself, just as it has been in the past years. His passive attitude paralyzes the community once more.
At the end, Martin Seibert asked me “will you be back on board?”. I could not give a positive answer to that question, not just yet. I answered that I will start to get involved again, read up on the latest discussions, maybe pinch in a comment here or there. But as the mixup between the TWiki open source project and the commercial entity is still not resolved to my satisfaction, i don’t see an opening to start contributing actively yet. I look forward to seeing results that fullfill the promises made at the summit.

Flattr this

2 Responses to “TWiki moving forward, surprising summit results and embarrassed CEO”

  1. -=SUbWAY=- » Blog Archive » TWiki is dead, long live TWiki! Says:

    […] About a year ago, Thoeny founded the company Initial skepticism turned out to be justified. decided to forego the community, and force a governance model on the project that met with a lot of resistance from the community. This resulted in a TWiki community summit in Berlin that Thoeny did not attend, and left Tom Barton ( ceo) red-eared by taking in the displeased frustration of the community. […]

  2. -=SUbWAY=- » Blog Archive » TWiki is dead, long live Foswiki Says:

    […] I am absolutely thrilled. It has been some time since i reported on the situation with TWiki and the fork. That does not mean there is nothing to report, though! With the first release (1.0.0), Foswiki establishes itself firmly in the marketspace. TWiki is dead, long live Foswiki! […]

Leave a Reply