A change to my Grails plugins

Posted by: on Feb 7, 2013 | No Comments

Here’s the deal. I’ve worked really hard in various ways to help push the Grails platform forward for the last 6 years or so. I absolutely love Grails and would not currently choose any other web framework to make web apps.

However it is completely unsustainable for me to work unpaid on this stuff, in fact I should have called this a year or two ago. Releasing plugins used in many peoples’ apps involves a high degree of responsibility, as well as ongoing support and maintenance.

I have tried over the last 2-3 years to fund my free open source development with meaningful amounts of money; support subscriptions, selling e-books, and the Resources 1.2 Kickstarter. The Kickstarter may yet reach its goal, and that would be great. Many people have already pledged very generously.

Personally I invested a lot of energy, time and money to try to achieve a sustainable development model. These attempts have not received the level of support from the community needed to make them viable. This is arguably inevitable if you create free product in a relatively small market. Getting money from developers is hard, getting money from your users is close to impossible after you’ve already given your product to them for free.

For years I thought I could create free open source in the manner of a “product” to a high standard. In the end you can’t escape the fact that you have to either have a lot of time to kill or the financial resources to be able to achieve that. I wanted to create lots of great new stuff that was missing from the ecosystem because I needed it. I released these to share them with others, without considering the workload that would create over time.

The upshot is that I’m afraid I can no longer do any development or support work on Grails plugins unless I am paid to do so. In effect this is no real change over the situation in recent months, it is merely a formalisation of my intentions.

This affects the following plugins:

…as well as the work-in-progress plugins:

Any future changes I do make to these plugins will strictly be on the basis of sponsorship by clients or my personal needs. I do not plan to release any new plugins publicly on anything other than these same terms.

There are likely to be some minor Platform Core, Platform UI and Weceem updates in the coming months because of a kind offer of sponsorship for this work by jCatalog AG. If your company wants to sponsor a block of development time please get in touch.

I will begin the process of updating the grails.org plugin portal to clearly state that I am no longer supporting the plugins. I will no longer respond to JIRA issues. I may still post to the mailing list when I have time.

All of the code for the plugins is already in Github. You are welcome to fork it. If you want to release new versions of these plugins please:

  1. Discuss this intention on the Grails user mailing list
  2. Go ahead and get the relevant permissions to do so
  3. Follow sane release processes i.e. good versioning, tracking of fixes and features in JIRA (or github issues) and publish good release notes, tagging in git etc
  4. Make it clear that you’re taking on support issues and that I won’t be

Update: for clarity, this means I will not review, merge or publish new releases. Someone else will have to take responsibility for that. Fork my Grailsrocks repos to somewhere else and release the plugins under the same name to the Grails plugin repo, after getting permission to do the release from the Grails team.

Effectively I am going to become a some-time contributor to my own plugins. If people from the community want to run with them, they are welcome provided my credit is retained and the license adhered to.

I want to re-iterate that I am still committed to Grails, but my time is going to be spent working with Grails for my paying clients.

I do remain concerned that there seems to be a distinct lack of large companies that use Grails giving back to the community in any tangible way. I can’t understand this, given the fantastic benefits that Grails provides. Perhaps people think that because VMWare own it that there is no need to provide extra resources?

Anyway, I’m looking forward to working with some new clients from March 2013. If you’re interested get in touch.