Lies and More Lies

A proper layout of brochures, presale materials so you feel ADempiere can sell to business owners and not just techies.
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Lies and More Lies

Postby red1 » Fri Mar 11, 2011 7:51 am

Marketing is about lying. 1% is still a lie. Ok, it can be a white lie. That is lying. First you have to lie that you are good. Not that you are not. At least not entirely. You do have weaknesses. Ask Microsoft. Just that you do not usually tell everything. Certainly not about incomplete features, and untested code. Meaning you do not tell the whole truth about your product or services. So marketing is about lying well.

What about ADempiere? Do we lie? In essence, as an Open Source (and Free) software project under the auspices of GPL, it cannot lie. It need not lie. It is a software development approach. Release Early, Update Often. I can put forth bad code. Gets reverted. Kicked out. Flamed at. Shamed. Peers correct themselves. Organically. It is open, does not censor such harmless but necessary opinion and it allows eyeballs to scrutinize and report its verdicts.

That is its kitchen. It cooks in there. It is an ugly place. Not the place for marketeers. Not the place for advertising beyond the merit. You need not say further than what you can smell and eat. No sales talk. No lying.

But any project are manned by humans and humans do err. They may have something to defend. So a good admin has to declare everything, but stick to the code and nothing more. If s/he wants to live and die by the code. S/he must allow dissent. His/her only defense is good review, and meritocracy of openly given code. Not half-baked or not declared to be such. Consider the following two typical statements any contributor may inadvertently make in a FOSS project:
I just committed something new. It is not ready. I like to invite anyone who wants to work with it to go ahead and improve it.

I have a working module. In production. Please send me money. I will make it better.

The first statement is usually honest, unless it comes from a salesman. No, it is usually made by a developer. How do you know? Check the blogs. The trackers. See the feedback by peers. And they are usually about code. Not sales talk. Then you can take it that the committer is good. And transparent.

Now, the second statement is fraught with issues. Yes, it is a valid statement. Perfectly allowed in a free society. A capitalistic one. A slave-driven one. But its first issue is how are we sure s/he is honest as to what s/he declared? How much of the module is working? Is it still alpha, or beta? Vaporware? How do we know if it is not subjected to peer review? Again, check the trackers. See the comments from feedback. Checkout the code. See if breaks anything. See the readme or guide. Is it earnest? Do you feel some turns in your stomach?

We understand. You need to feed your little amigos. But why not follow the first statement? Say what you have. Minus the sales pitch. Rub that dollar sign from your forehead. Let the community labor through it. Let them make the claim.

But the above is hard, as a lot of community members are also marketeers. They want to make money out of this. Otherwise they have no interest. I say you may market. But do not do it in the kitchen. Leave the cooking to the chefs. You take what they cooked, package it, sign your own service agreements and warrant it. Do that outside the kitchen. In your own restaurant. So you make money out of what you do. Not what the kitchen does. Now, you need not lie anymore. Nor tell the chefs to accept your lies.

But the lying continues. Today, marketeers have taken over Open Source projects. They call it commercial Open Source. They offer both open and proprietary licensed code. Smart eh? Yeah, give people a choice. Freedom you say. Luckily someone smells it out OSI now calls it Open Core. Now you know a lie, that some out there are not open source, yet living in sheep's clothing. Makes your stomach turns doesn't it?
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