Symphony didn't start its life as open source software. It took more than two years for us to transition from a closed source to the open MIT license we use today. And even since then, the platform has still always been officially managed by a company. Its leadership, the Symphony Team, have always been employees—first of Twenty-one Degrees, then of Symphony CMS Ltd.
As our community has grown, we’ve learned that supporting an open source software project isn't just about maintaining the source code. Symphony is a platform, in every sense of the word. It's an ecosystem of projects and an active community with its own unique culture. And it’s quite a lot to manage.
So, about a year ago, we began to assemble a set of community-led working groups—15 dedicated Symphonists across 4 disciplines—to share some of this burden. And over time, they have become the true workhorses, the unsung heroes, pushing forward the platform’s development. Since the working groups were formed, Symphony has become more stable and robust than ever, and progress and growth have been swift.
The Final Step
The success of the working groups has been exhilarating, so much so that it’s encouraged us to finally embrace a fully open source development model. To that end, I’m excited to announce that, as of today, management of the project is shifting to a completely community-led structure.
This may sound radical, but in practice many things will continue as before. I will maintain my role as the system’s Chief Architect, and Craig will continue as the Project Lead. Along with the heads of the working groups, we will continue to provide vision and leadership for the platform’s development.
But what this structure will allow us to do is smooth out some of the hierarchy that’s existed and involve the working groups in many areas that were previously reserved for the team alone—the development of the website, for instance, or extension maintenance.
Commercial support is not going to disappear. Instead, we will be opening this up to a wider network of skilled studios and agencies. A new area on the Symphony website will list companies and agencies offering various support, consultation, and development services. On that list will be technical consultation and support services offered by yours truly. (If you haven't done so already, please check out my companion article, “Allen Chang's Origin Story”).
The move to a full open model also means that we will be able to accept donations from the community to help with the platform's various operating expenses. My view is to eventually establish the operating structure within a non-profit organisation.
Symphony is becoming more open, more a product of the community that gives it life. I hope you all will be as excited by this move as I am.
We’ll have more announcements soon with details on things like donations and support service listings. In the meantime, keep enjoying Symphony!