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Neos and Flow team waive TYPO3 Association budget

January 21, 2013

Category: Community
Author: Karsten Dambekalns

About a week ago we were briefed by the TYPO3 Association's EAB on the 2013 budget for the Neos and Flow project. The budget was reduced by 50% compared to the original application. Although this decision is a sharp break per se, the more difficult implications arise from the conditions and expectations which are bound to the allowed funds.

The TYPO3 Flow budget in a nutshell:

  • Paid hours per week for development of new features or bug fixes: 0
  • Paid hours per week for release management and coordination: 6
  • Number of sprints where travel costs (but not development) are covered: 1

The TYPO3 Neos budget in a nutshell:

  • Paid hours per week for development of new features or bug fixes: 6.875
  • Paid hours per week for release management and coordination: 12
  • Number of sprints where travel costs (but not development) are covered: 3 

The budget allows for some more expenses: Code Reviews and QA are funded for 7.5 hours per week, documentation for 7.5 hours a week.

Budget Conditions

The EAB grants development and code sprint budgets under specific terms. For each sprint and for making use of the development budget, working packages need to be defined upfront and agreed upon with an EAB representative.

Waiving the Budget

After gaining feedback from team externals and from daily discussions of the budget and its implications with the team members, we have decided to waive it.

The main reasons for taking this step are:

  1. The management and monitoring procedures required by the TYPO3 Association will most likely exceed the funded development time.
  2. The TYPO3 Association is unlikely to be able to provide a product owner who would spend enough time (about 2 days per week) to keep track with the two products and be available for answering the day-to-day questions by the development teams. Without such a position, we worry that the EAB will not be able to take an informed decision on setting priorities for the further development.
  3. The majority of the work on Neos and Flow has been funded by the individual core team members. Although there has been a budget in past years, the amount of time and holidays invested by the team members greatly exceed the funds provided by the TYPO3 Association. We don't want to give the impression that by funding one day per week for the further development of Neos (and none for Flow) the TYPO3 Association can make sure the project will be a success and result in the expected product.

An alternative way of funding

The Neos and Flow team is in high-spirits about future releases. Starting with a fresh year, we are passionately working on making Neos a success and finishing the Flow 2.0 stable release. Just next week almost the whole team will meet in Lübeck for a full week of Neos development and our customers have signaled interest in funding some pretty cool new features for Flow.

Code sprints are an important part of our project, bringing team members together and getting focussed on specific tasks. Companies, individuals, but also the TYPO3 Association are invited to sponsor parts (travel costs, accommodation, development) of a code sprint. However, we won’t be able to obligate volunteers to work on certain tasks.

Looking into the future

Without the granted budget things will become a bit more difficult in the beginning, but we are optimistic that, together with the TYPO3 community, we will find new ways to enable people working on Neos and Flow resulting in products which find their place in the market.

Yours,
Rens Admiraal, Karsten Dambekalns, Aske Ertmann, Andreas Förthner, Markus Goldbeck, Berit Hlubek, Christopher Hlubek, Christian Jul Jensen, Robert Lemke, Christian Müller, Marc Neuhaus, Sebastian Kurfürst, Bastian Waidelich

FAQ

Q: Isn’t some money better than nothing?
A: Yes, but the terms and expectations attached to the funding proposal require a lot more time than can be funded and we cannot promise to meet these with the granted budget. Additionally, the approach to introduce more control and management is comprehensible, but doesn’t fit the working mode of a volunteer-driven Open Source project.

Q: Are Neos and Flow in danger? What about future releases?
A: We don’t see Flow at risk at all and are confident that we can get Neos market-ready at some point. In fact, even though some time has been funded by the TYPO3 Association, the project has always been dependent on the time and support of developers not funded by the TYPO3 Association. With their support the community will be able to take direct influence on how fast the core team can proceed.

Q: Do the modest poll results regarding the budget imply that the community doesn’t want Neos and Flow?
A: We don’t think so, but we cannot know. Although the poll may have been a reasonable instrument for the EAB to get an opinion poll of their members, we don’t think that it can be taken as a measure for all members, let alone the TYPO3 community as a whole.

Q: Will you “turn your back” on the TYPO3 community or fork away?
A: Not at all, we all believe in the TYPO3 project and the TYPO3 community. Having been a part of it for years, we’d like to join even more forces. We consider ourselves and the Flow/Neos project a fully integrated part.

Q: “Phoenix” has already been 6 years under way, with lots of promises but no stable release, why should we trust that you can actually deliver a CMS with the features we need for our customer projects?
A: We have taken some architectural and quality decisions in the past which resulted in a much slower progress than anticipated. We don’t regret these decisions, but acknowledge that an earlier release would have been possible without them.

Half of the team is already using Neos in a production context for some of their customers. We can’t wait to exclusively work with Neos and Flow. And almost everybody in the core team is basing his company solely on services around TYPO3 Flow and TYPO3 Neos. If we weren’t confident of the future of Neos, we’d try to find a different business model.

Q: Why do Flow and Neos need that much money anyway? TYPO3 CMS and Extbase seem to do fine with less…
A: All work on software is funded by someone.

  • TYPO3 CMS is used on a much broader scale, which leads to a lot of agencies working on it in customer projects and a lot of people implement features they need in their spare time.
  • Extbase is a backported subset of Flow - not the other way around, so it has (partly) been funded by the Flow budget in the past.
  • The BLE project funded large parts of FAL development, the current Grid Elements project is another example. And of course CMS also includes a number of features that were incubated in the Flow and Neos projects.

We are confident that TYPO3 and Flow, with their large user base, will easily be able to make a living of their own. TYPO3 Neos is still in its infancy and needs to be nurtured. Our point is not so much if the projects can go without funding by the TYPO3 Association. But that money would be an accelerator and help improving and promoting our products.


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