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Re: [school-discuss] [Open Admin] SIF/XML tools for Data Transfer.

The letter to sun please correct it as I pretty much hate writing
letters :)

To whom it may concern:

In January 2002 EduStructures (http://www.edustructures.com) informed
the world that they had aquired the Sun Microsystems ZIS code JaZ and
J/SAL packages. It was informed to the public that Sun Microsystems
stipulated that the code remain open source and freely available. The
freely available code was hosted at opensif.org the OpenSIF project. 

In more recent times EduStructures has forked the code you provided them
into trademarked closed source commercial software products. The
SIFWorks Platform. While this would be great and dandy during any other
time I would like to report the fact that they then closed the open
source project down claiming that their was not enough developer
support. Boasted that there was only 24 messages on the mailing list
during the year and downloads have went down. I will address each of
these issues to you now.

The lack of developer support may be true. However it is not the fault
of the open source community. If you look at the hoops you have to jump
thru to become a developer you will notice that not many open source
developers are willing to do that to submit a few patches. You had to
send a email to info@opensif.org and let them know what work you would
like to pursue, then wait for them to get back to you. After that if you
want to be a source contributor there was no public source code
repository. So you would everything had to be in the form of patches and
mailed to the owner of the file you are patching. This would be a big
headache if you patched multiple files over multiple owners. Then you
had to wait till it was merged into the tree by the owner. 

This is not exactly a good way to do open source development and attract
developers to the project. I also feel this is why the developer support
was low. While I understand you cant give everyone write access to a CVS
tree you can always give read access so people can keep up. Watch for
conflicts etc. Also no open bug database so no one knew where to start. 

The part about only 24 messages on the list during the year is true.
However they neglect to say what those messages are on the list. Most of
them are messages like the one below

“From: "scottp1296" <scottp1296@y...> 
Date: Sun Sep 21, 2003 4:41 am
Subject: Still no luck with opensif.org

Am I the only one that can't connect to www.opensif.org? I still
get connection refused, so it looks like the host is up, but the
web server isn't running. 

I've tried contacting three different email addresses at
Edustructures, as well as Eric Peterson, but not one of them has

Anyone have any other suggestions?


The website just went down suddenly and no response was given except the
page you now find at http://www.opensif.org/.

Also claims that the downloads went down are correct as I am sure they
can provide stats. But as I know from running several open source
projects when you do not release often downloads go down. Only so many
people are willing to download a application that is old or no longer
working with the current specs. 

All these excuses may be valid however it the eyes of the public it
appears that EduStructures did not actually want the code out in the
public domain as you can still not even find a old archive of the
release anywhere on the internet. In essense they killed the project
themselves by faint promotion and the hoops one had to jump thru to get

OpenSIF and the fact of having an open sourced ZIS server was a great
idea and desperatly needed. I would like to revive the project in the
true meaning of open source and provide a cvs tree, updated product,
working with the current SIF specification 1.1 and allow this project to
go forward. I have sent emails to EduStructures asking for the current
OpenSIF code as it was when the project died with little hope of
receiving it. I have also asked on the OpenSIF yahoo groups list for a
copy of the code if anyone had it. I have received no response nor do I
really expect one at this point.

I am writing you with the hopes that you would be able to step up and
help us the open source community obtain the codebase that you
rightfully gave with the stipulation that the code remain open source so
that I may revive the project and continue working on it.


Matthew R. Jezorek

Executive Director

Linux for Education