from the years-too-late dept
More than five years ago, Lotus founder Mitch Kapor announced plans to start a not-for-profit foundation to try to create an open source competitor to Microsoft Exchange. At the time, we didn’t think that Microsoft would be staying up at night worrying about it. In fact, we doubt anyone anywhere thought much of the resulting project, dubbed Chandler, over the intervening years. Every once in a while there would be an update, but many other projects seemed to make a lot more progress than Chandler ever did. So it’s not much of a surprise to hear that Mitch Kapor has finally bailed on Chandler, and that the foundation behind it is going to scale back its efforts. This isn’t an indictment of open source projects, but it does suggest that it does matter how those projects are set up. Successful open source projects seem to start small and grow over time. They focus on solving a specific need and then building out beyond that. Chandler, on the other hand, seemed more focused on coming up with a big idea and building a huge project around it. That makes it a lot less flexible and a lot less able to take advantage of the sorts of benefits that open source development provides, such as the ability to repeatedly release, adapt and adjust to meet what the market actually needs.