Down to SF for WONTFIX Cabal

Flying down to SF for the day to attend WONTFIX Cabal, an unconference on open source project maintenance. The topics I’m struggling with most right now are: support burden (where to draw the line helping end users), and new feature development (how to decide what gets built). Even though open source has been around a while, it still feels very much like the early days.

RethinkDB: why we failed

And our users clearly thought of us as an open-source developer tools company, because that’s what we really were. Which turned out to be very unfortunate, because the open-source developer tools market is one of the worst markets one could possibly end up in. Thousands of people used RethinkDB, often in business contexts, but most were willing to pay less for the lifetime of usage than the price of a single Starbucks coffee (which is to say, they weren’t willing to pay anything at all).

This wasn’t because the product was so good people didn’t need to pay for support, or because developers don’t control budgets, or because of failure of capitalism. The answer is basic microeconomics. Developers love building developer tools, often for free. So while there is massive demand, the supply vastly outstrips it. This drives the number of alternatives up, and the prices down to zero.

Slava Akhmechet – RethinkDB: why we failed

Getting the WP REST API endpoints into core

The question shouldn’t be “when will the WP REST API endpoints be committed to core?” but rather “how can the WordPress project ship solutions to more and better Big Hairy Ambitious Goals?”

If we can solve this organizational design challenge, then landing the WP REST API endpoints, and other large improvements to the project, becomes an “easy” task (or at least one requiring a known amount of people with a known amount of involvement). If we can’t solve this organizational design challenge, then it does us no good to commit the endpoints to WordPress core. My biggest fear is for the endpoints to become another media library.

Specific to the WP REST API endpoints, I think it’s time for WordPress to aggressively pursue the component maintainer model. We need effective, reliable component maintainership to take responsibility for producing quality endpoints for each component.