How Work is Changing with the Open Source Wiki Pioneers: TWiki

July 1, 2010 | Robert Scoble

TWiki—the open-source enterprise collaboration platform—is used by millions of people around the world.  It allows for sharing information across job functions, helping to break down the “silo” culture of both corporations and government agencies.

In this interview, CTO, Peter Thoeny, explains that in the information age the more a person shares the more they’re seen by their peers to be a guru. He’s joined by TWiki CEO, Jitendra Kavathekar. Sitting in the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA, the two discuss how work is changing, the shifting Enterprise 2.0 marketplace, as well as new TWiki features.

More info:
TWiki website: http://twiki.net
TWiki blog: http://twiki.net/blognewsrss.xml

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{ 7 comments }

Don Barry July 9, 2010 at 6:04 pm

Just a note of context for Peter’s claim of “eightfold increase in contributions compared to last
year’s monthly average”, examine the commit logs — they are easy to browse at the Ohloh
site. Most of the changes are whitespace tweaks (done in small chunks, one commit per
file), rebranding of copyright statements, and the like. It’s “make-work”. And the vast
majority is Peter’s work himself, with his employee Sopan Shewale a distant second. Combined
updates from a very few others (primarily people updating plugins on both projects) are just a
few percent. The Foswiki commit rate is an order of magnitude higher and most of those commits
are *code*. As for the disingenuous wishes for luck in the “difficult task of creating and nurturing
a professional open source community,” there’s no need to create one — Foswiki has one in the
upper 2% of activity of open source projects, according to Ohloh. Guess they’re doing something
right. Sharing project decisions, valuing contributors, and not locking them out of their own
project probably counts for something.

Statements like “the TWiki project is more active than ever” are, to put it politely, in disagreement
with the facts, which are easily verified. The playwright Harold Pinter once referred to the “vast
tapestry of lies on which we feed.” Fine food indeed, in the claims above. Don’t take my word
for it — look at the logs!

Susan Scrupski July 2, 2010 at 9:28 am

Excellent brief and cogent articulation of the benefits of creating a culture of sharing. Great stuff, Robert. Let’s see more enterprise coverage of 2.0 adoption and visionaries!

Farhan Farquhar July 2, 2010 at 12:55 am

Should mention Foswiki, where those developers actually went after they got locked out.
Pretty cool project. About 10x the development rate of TWiki which is now pretty moribund.
(guess they plan to get money from investors rather than users)

Peter Thoeny July 1, 2010 at 10:31 pm

Thank you Robert Scoble for the interview, it was great fun chatting with you at the historical Computer History Museum in Mountain View!

I respectfully disagree with the previous comment by Andrew. The TWiki project is more active than ever. The open source community released TWiki-5.0.0 a month ago with focus on usability, and in the last two month we had an 8-fold increase in contributions compared to last year’s monthly average, http://bit.ly/tw500b. In regards to the 2008 fork, read our point of view at http://bit.ly/2QNSOS http://bit.ly/1XCDnC.

Continuing the long tradition of the Twiki project, Twiki Inc is focusing on building a best of breed enterprise social networking platform where users can build their own web applications to make the workplace more productive. We invite you to join us on http://twiki.net or http://twiki.org.

Peter Thoeny July 1, 2010 at 6:21 pm

Thank you Robert Scoble for the interview!

In regards to the previous post, our point of view on the 2008 fork is at http://bit.ly/2QNSOS and http://bit.ly/1XCDnC. We wish them well in the difficult task of creating and nurturing a professional open source community, and we continue to welcome developers that wish to contribute to both communities, subject to their respective codes of conduct.

The open source TWiki is quite active: In the last two month we had an 8-fold increase in contributions compared to last year’s monthly average, and the community released TWiki-5.0.0 a few weeks back, http://bit.ly/tw500b.

Don Barry July 1, 2010 at 3:14 pm

It’s even worse than that. Peter didn’t “start” TWiki, he forked JOSwiki. He was a major contributor to the
forked codebase in the early years, but a community eventually (in a healthy way) eclipsed him, rearchitecting
things over many years. But Peter kept the trademark (which he had registered) to himself. And then he
tried to profit from it — for himself. When the community who had written the majority of the then current
TWiki code complained — worse than just leaving, they were *locked out* from the servers unless they
would declare him “Benevolent Dictator for Life”. None did. Core work on TWiki continues now back in
the hands of exclusively Peter Thoeny and one paid employee. It’s all to see in the commit logs. Meanwhile,
the former core contributors, including the two past release managers, continue the codebase under the Foswiki
name, which goes from strength to strength. Commit rate is about ten times that of TWiki over the last year.

Check out the facts. http://bit.ly/fwstats points to Ohloh’s analysis of the commits. http://bit.ly/fwblog lists the
major contributors and where they ended up. Basically, TWiki went from 18 core programmers to 2, and
Foswiki got *all* of the difference plus some more. 32 programmers have contributed to Foswiki over the
last year, making it one of the top 2% of projects archived on sourceforge by contributor base.

Andrew Jones July 1, 2010 at 12:04 pm

Unfortunately TWiki is hasn’t had as much development since the core developers forked after trademark disputes.
http://www.h-online.com/newsticker/news/item/Twiki-net-vs-NextWiki-open-source-developers-go-their-own-way-737871.html

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