State and governance of the project

I know these are things some kind of people (specially the developer) won’t like to read but they need to be said.

I’ve been using Mayan for a long long time. It was fun to use at first as a hobby. The downsides of the project and the user interface while bothersome, didn’t posed as big of an obstacle at that time. But things change.

Now that my company depends on it I’m concerned about the way Mayan is managed. Luckily for Mayan (and sadly for me and thousand of users) there are no other viable alternatives. Projects are either young, all over the place with no cohesion, a mismatch of patches from hundred of developers, bait and switch freemium or open source ones that got gulped by a large company and are now just shells of their former selves with no support or growth. So it is either Mayan, Microsoft or PDFs in file manager. That’s the extend of the real choices for large scale commercial document management.

These are some of the most egregious problems that need to be addressed and fixed ASAP:

  • It belongs to a single person. Open source needs to be open. Nobody owns open source. This contradiction with Mayan makes it unsuitable to take seriously much less deploy on mission critical scenarios. A single person can decide to extinguish the project and leave millions of users up in the air wondering what happened. Say the developer continues the project. What happens if this person becomes incapacitated or dies? The only option is to move the copyright to a collective like the Open Conservancy.
  • Politics. Although the main developer has made his Twitter account private, many messages have been archived online. It doesn’t take long to see where this person resides in the political compass. The world moves on and this person is still stuck on outdated far right ideologies. How can I trust a project managed by someone like that.
  • Practically no documentation. The documentation (if it can even be called that) is just a bare bones text file with simple introduction to some concepts (about 80% of features are missing from the documentation).
  • User interface. What in the world is this thing? Why is every object creation form exactly the same instead of being made for the fields of that particular object? The user interface in Mayan seems to be made more for machines than humans. The interface is so mechanical, and I don’t mean that in a good way.
  • Money. What is it with this project and its obsession with money. Donations, book, merchandise, “support plans”, contracts!? The project was started to solve an issue in the public (according to the book), so there was no intent to ever make this a paid project.
  • Bugs, bugs, bugs. There are more than 200 open issues. Security scanner detect around 4000 issues with the Docker image. This thing has more holes than a wheel of Swiss cheese.
  • Security transparency. There is simply none.
  • Closed development. It seems the development branch is closed to the public. How can people other than the developer submit code if the code is not available?
  • Previous forum. What happened to it? Why close it and not give access to people? Why not archive it instead?
  • Financial backing. Besides the money that the developer receives directly (and with no transparency) there is no other method to financially sustain the project. If the developer stops receiving money, there is no other way to keep the project needs running. Things like hosting the website and the forum as managed and paid by the developer. We need more transparency around how are these paid. Where does that money comes from?
    No support. This one is obvious. It is really frustrating that the developer either refuses to answer requests of just chooses to answer specific questions. I’ve never even received a reply for my emails sending issues and problems with the project, no even an acknowledgement. The developer treats his project email account like a forbidden channel only available for a privileged few.
  • The project is managed like a blackbox. We only see a single user in the commit. But it is obvious that by the number of commits a single person is not producing all the code. Who is producing Mayan’s code? Is it a company hostile to user freedoms? Who is driving the development of the project? We don’t know, we can’t know because all that information is hidden from the user base. Open source doesn’t mean just an open license, it means the project has open development, open security, open discourse of planned features, open roadmap, open finances, open infrastructure, open collaboration.
  • CAA. Why? What is this obsession with control right down to the ownership of submissions. Why take away the only thing a gracious code donor can claim for themselves?
  • Code of conduct. Or the glaring lack of one. What is admissible in the project? How do people interact? What happens is someone harasses another user?
  • Censorship. Tickets and topics closed if you say something that hurts the ego of the developer. This is not a playground. We are grownups here. Act like it.
  • Videos. None.
  • Tutorials. None.
  • Conferences or talks. None.

You agreed to the social contract of open source when you started this project. You can’t just change the rules as you see fit. Are you really an open source developer or a greedy corporate employee holding the project ransom?

For years I’ve asked myself this question and more and more it seems like the later. I don’t like the feeling I get from this project, like having Damocles sword over my head now that I depend on it.

I’m tired of that feeling and I’ve had enough. So in short this is my message to the developer. Get your shit together, just build the damn code or hand it over to someone that cares.

This is very messed up. I’ve seen this happen to several open source projects. People who don’t contribute anything are the ones that whine the most and give the devs the hardest time.

Just found got here from HackerNews. This reminds me of core.js saga

Projects like these are too important to let toxic people control the conversation.
Shut them down at the door!

On Reddit now too get ready for a shit storm.

Just like car knowledge has declined over the years and most people can’t even identify where a spark plug goes, I’ve seen how in a few short years most people are oblivious about all the things that need to work to make a single web page appear in a computer or a phone. Only a handful of people are working very hard to keep the lights on and things running on our modern society. We are becoming an empire of idiots with fancy toys. Entitled gen-z are the worse, only priority in life is getting likes in their TikTok videos.