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Gabriele Viebach

Future plans and direction of eZ

Tuesday 16 October 2012 12:05:13 pm

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Thank you all for your contributions and feedback related to the recently launched "Copy Left" initiative. It inspired me to create some clarity of eZ´s future direction and where you as members of the Community - as an essential part of eZ´s eco system - fit in. To understand this, let me give you the "big picture".

Pioneering, and evolving

eZ has been a pioneer in the area of commercial open source. Since the start in 1999, when the founders believed that the open source model was an unsurpassed model for innovation and product development resulting into higher customer value, it has been part of our DNA. 

We have evolved our business model into the hybrid commercial open source model we see today. We changed our go to market model 2 years back by deciding that all projects shall be realized by partners. eZ´s business today is focused on selling services (subscriptions) whereby we have consequently transferred all project implementation business to our partners. In addition, eZ’s Professional Services include education, enablement, sharing best practices to - and together with our partners.

With more than 17 000 contracted customers, including top tier global brands and enterprise customers in verticals such as media, finance, telecoms, public sector and consumer brands, our business model has been a great success. This has allowed us to grow into a company of over 100 people at currently 9 offices in Europe, USA and Asia. The success is even larger when we look at all the thousands of people in the eZ Ecosystem making their living based on eZ´s technology.

eZ today is more than eZ Publish. As an integral part of the platform, we integrated the eZ Recommendation Service, eZ odoscope Smart Site Analytics, eZ Find and many more 3rd party extensions from the eZ Market. A part of our product platform is open source, some parts are commercial only, and other parts are delivered as a cloud service. We have thus established a truly hybrid commercial open source model, which will contribute to our collective success going forward. 

 

So where is eZ as an ecosystem going in the future? 

Based on a rock-solid WCM platform, more and more members of the ecosystem are enabling true and thriving customer experiences, for any kind of digital business model, on the platform. At our core we promote the strategic importance for organizations to holistically go "digital first" and to manage the lifecycle of such complex environments with sustainable and innovative software that is fully integrated by design.

We have great ambitions for eZ, to grow into a large global software company. We will for sure continue to evolve our hybrid commercial open source model. We believe open source is a key accelerator for open innovation and we believe that eZ publish is and will be for many the "glue" and foundation of their business in the digital content economy. The core content engine of this "glue" we envision will continue to be open source, both to facilitate the innovation, but also to be the most efficient. We have chosen for good reasons Symfony as the development framework for the eZ 5.x generation, also open source. 

We allow partners to establish commercial offerings (eZ Market for instance) on top of the quality-assured Enterprise Edition. The core part of our platform, will continue to be distributed as a community project. At the same time we will continue to grow the differentiated value of the Enterprise Edition. While the community edition targets open innovation and development, the Enterprise Edition will remain focused on being a stable platform for in-production mission-critical business environments.

Of course we will continue to grow our platform with commercial only software, either through development or through further acquisitions with the aim to create a world-leading platform for online digital services. 

The Cloud is also key for eZ’s future direction. We believe that cloud-based managed services are the most efficient and scalable way of running and maintaining the eZ Platform by providing Enterprise grade security and availability standards even for medium and small sized business customers. Our eZ Publish Cloud was made for Partners to easily roll-out customer projects and we have made significant investments into this development as announced earlier this year, with the eZ Cloud product offerings from SMB to Enterprise. We will continue to invest in our own cloud-based managed services and this will be a core part of the eZ strategy for the future.

While our business model gives our users and community a great amount of freedom, this freedom also comes with responsibility. As we know from the bee-keeper model ( à la Pentaho ), the contributions and involvement of those involved in our community are a foundation of the current and future success of eZ.

Unfortunately,  we note that a few take this freedom for granted, and a worrying minority may even exploit it. Our research has revealed examples of violations of the GPL, and even violations of our commercial licenses. For everyone in our ecosystem it is our responsibility to enforce our mutual license rights and responsibilities, if we don´t - the consequence is that the base for our common future will deteriorate. For the violations on GPL we act as an enforcer of our entire community, encouraging all of you to protect the freedom we have. This means we are open for discussing our present and future foundations and find ways to create benefits for all participants of the ecosystem. 

We are aware that in the area of GPL there are grey zones and we would like to work closely with you to further enforce our common interest of open source, meaning "free speech", sharing and collaboration.

Concerning violations of our commercial software licenses or copyright, we act to protect our own business, just as any other software company would and so reserve the right to take legal action against misuse of our software when appropriate.

When I took over as CEO of eZ Systems Group in October 2010, I had one philosophy I wanted to follow, knowing that eZ was to go through a major transition for the future: "Keep the good from our history and change the bad to better". One of the very good historical "roots" is that Open-source is in eZ’s DNA. We will continue to be excited about the great ideas and innovation power we collectively engineer. Our ecosystem will continue to grow, to diversify and spread across the globe. It will also strengthen as an ecosystem in which all participants can identify with, and enjoy being a part of in a fair and transparent environment, that has mutually respected terms of engagement.

I look forward to continuing our conversations during the first Un-Conference in Cologne October 17th - 19th.

Yours sincerely,
Gabriele

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