The Twiki fork, a takeover opportunity?

It could be that, through its alliance with Sun, Thoeny has an exit strategy for Twiki.Net.

Peter Thoeny of Twiki.Net, from his home page
One of the first stories I did here was about the fork of the Mambo CMS project. Three years later both the Mambo Foundation and the fork, called Joomla, survive.

It's happening again, this time with Twiki, an open source Wiki system.

The cause is the same as before, a dispute between management and coders over management's desire to monetize the code.

Management in this case is represented by Twiki.Net, where founder Peter Thoeny (above) has recently aligned with Sun, which now runs its servers. Thoeny founded Twiki.Net in 2007.

Some developers call this a hostile takeover. They have organized their fork of the code as NextWiki.

They write, "As of October 27th 2008, 'TWiki' is no longer the same - it is now commercial open source. The people that have driven TWiki development for the past decade feel the time has come to do so under a different name."

Big Money Matt Asay is all over it, calling Twiki.Net "radioactive" to VCs, who measure open source investments in large part through the vibrancy of their communities.

It could be that, through its alliance with Sun, Thoeny has an exit strategy for Twiki.Net. VCs aren't the only potential open source investors, and in this market you certainly can't depend on their being there.

We have written often here at both C|Net and ZDNet about the failing economy and the opportunity that may hold for cash-rich proprietary software companies and open source projects which exist on less-tangible foundations.

Might this be the way the former takes over the latter, simply by picking up forks?


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