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XXL Fork

By Shaun Walker on 2/26/2015

Early in the project history, I was approached by an individual from Germany with a request to maintain a localized DotNetNuke site for the German community. I was certainly not naïve to the risks of another source code distribution at this point, and I told him that it would be fine so long as the site stayed consistent with the official source code base, which was under my jurisdiction. This was agreed upon, and in the coming months I had periodic communication with this individual regarding his localization efforts. However, as time wore on he became critical of the manner in which the project was being managed, in particular the sole maintainer aspect, and began to voice his disapproval in the public forum. He was able to convince a number of community members to collaborate with him on a modified version of DotNetNuke, a version that integrated a number of the more popular community enhancements available, and called it DotNetNuke XXL.

.NET Foundation Advisory Council Announced

By Shaun Walker on 2/24/2015
Nearly a year ago at the BUILD conference in San Francisco, Microsoft announced the formation of the .NET Foundation, an independent 501(C)(6) corporation that is chartered to foster open development and collaboration around the growing collection of open source technologies for .NET. This announcement may have come as a surprise to many industry observers; however, the reality is that Microsoft had been steadily deepening its open source focus and commitment for years and the creation of a dedicated Foundation was the next natural step in its evolution.  

Core Team

By Shaun Walker on 2/23/2015
The next major milestone in the project's open source evolution occurred in the summer of 2003. Up until this point, I had been acting as the sole maintainer of the DotNetNuke code base, a task that was consuming 110 percent of my free time as I feverishly fixed bugs and enhanced the framework based on community feedback. Still, I felt more like a bottleneck than a provider in spite of the fact that I was churning out at least one significant release every month leading up to this point. The more active community members were becoming restless due to a lack of direct input into the progress of the project. In fact, a small faction of these members even went so far as to create their own hybrid or “fork” of the DotNetNuke code base that attempted to forge ahead and add features at a more aggressive pace than I was capable of on my own. These were challenging times from a political standpoint because I was eventually forced to confront all of these issues in a direct and public manner — flexing my “benevolent dictator” muscles for the first time — an act I was not the least bit comfortable performing. Luckily for me, I had a number of loyal and trustworthy community members who supported my position and ultimately provided the backing to form a strong and committed Core Team.

DNN's Embedded Open Source Opportunity

By Shaun Walker on 2/19/2015
Despite the fact that I created the largest open source project native to the Microsoft platform and also founded a successful company based on its widespread adoption, I still feel like a student when it comes to open source business models. Although open source software has been around for 30 years it has only been in the past decade when the marriage of open source and commercialization became more mainstream. And since these two concepts are such strange bedfellows, it stands to reason that companies have chosen many different approaches to try and achieve success. To date no single model has ever emerged as a clear winner in terms of open source business strategy. This is because each open source community has such distinct philosophy and culture, there can not be a "one size fits all" approach. Ultimately, open source communities exercise a significant amount of influence over commercialization efforts, as the freedoms of open source software licenses regulate the amount of control that any single entity in an open source ecosystem can maintain over a project.

Open Source Licensing

By Shaun Walker on 2/18/2015
A secondary issue that was not addressed during the early stages of the project was licensing. The original IBuySpy Portal was released under a liberal Microsoft EULA license that allowed for unrestricted usage, modification, and distribution. However, the code base underwent such a major transformation that it could hardly be compared with its predecessor. Therefore, when the IBuySpy Workshop application was released, I did not include the original Microsoft EULA, nor did I include any copyright or license of my own. Essentially this meant that the application was in the public domain. This is certainly not the most accepted approach to an open source project and eventually some of the more legal-savvy community members brought the issue to a head. I was forced to take a hard look at open source licensing models to determine which license was most appropriate for the project.

DotNetNuke Is Born

By Shaun Walker on 2/17/2015

One of the topics that Scott Guthrie and I discussed in our early conversations was the issue of product branding. IBuySpy Workshop achieved its early goals of providing a public reference to the IBuySpy Portal community. This resulted in an influx of ASP.NET developers who were familiar with the IBuySpy Portal application and were interested in this new open source concept. But as the code bases diverged, there was a need for a new project identity — a unique brand that would differentiate the community and provide the mechanism for building an internationally recognized ecosystem. Research of competing portal applications on other platforms revealed a strong tendency toward the “nuke” slogan.

Subscription Fiasco

By Shaun Walker on 2/11/2015
In late February 2003, the lack of sleep, family priorities, and community demands finally came to a head and I decided that I should reach out for help. I contacted a former employer and mentor, Kent Alstad, with my dilemma and we spent a few lengthy telephone calls brainstorming possible outcomes. However, my personal stress level at the time and my urgency to change direction on the project ultimately caused me to move too fast and with more impulsiveness than I should have. I announced that the IBuySpy Workshop would immediately become a subscription service where developers would need to pay a monthly fee to get access to the latest source code. From a personal perspective, the intent was to generate enough revenue that I could leave my day job and focus my full energy on the management of the open source project. And with 2000 registered users, a subscription service seemed like a viable model.

IBuySpy Workshop

By Shaun Walker on 2/9/2015
On December 24, 2002, I released the full open source application by creating a simple website with a Zip file for download. The lack of foresight of what this would become was extremely evident when you consider the casual nature of this original release. However, as luck would have it, I did do a few things right. 

www.asp.net

By Shaun Walker on 2/5/2015
The second critical item that Microsoft delivered at this point in time was a community forums page on the www.asp.net website (see Figure 1-2). This forum provided a focal point for Microsoft developers to meet and collaborate on common issues in an open, moderated environment. Prior to the release of the forums on www.asp.net, there was a real void in terms of Microsoft community participation in the online or global sphere, especially when compared to the excellent community environments on other platforms.

The IBuySpy Portal

By Shaun Walker on 2/3/2015
In 2001–2002, I was working for a medium-sized software consulting company in Abbotsford, British Columbia, that was providing outsourced software development services to a variety of large U.S. clients specializing primarily in e-Learning initiatives. The internal push was to achieve CMM 3.0 on a fairly aggressive schedule so that we could compete with the emerging outsourcing powerhouses from India and China. As a result there was an incredible amount of focus on process and procedure and somewhat less focus on the technical aspects of software engineering. 

Shaun Walker has 25+ years professional experience in architecting and implementing enterprise software solutions for private and public organizations. Shaun is the original creator of DotNetNuke, a Web Application Framework for ASP.NET which spawned the largest and most successful Open Source community project native to the Microsoft platform.  Based on his significant community contributions he has been recognized as a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) as well as an ASPInsider for over consecutive 10 years. He was recognized by Business In Vancouver in 2011 as a leading entrepreneur in their Forty Under 40 business awards, was a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Outercurve Foundation, and is currently the Chairman of the Advisory Council for Microsoft's .NET Foundation. Shaun is currently a Practice Area Partner at Arrow Digital specializing in Innovation Technology.

 

Shaun Walker
34825 1ST Ave
Abbotsford, BC,
V2S 8C1
CANADA


 DNN is the most widely deployed open source .NET web content management platform that allows you to design, build, and manage feature-rich websites, web applications, and social communities.

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