20 May 2011

Our Journey

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.

Other Implications

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.

In Summary

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!


Thanks for the update Allen!

As an individual, who happens to be an employee of a company who has had a stake in Symphony, I've often felt slightly uneasy about the connection. So this is marvellous news — the community is at a size now that we can maintain, grow and extend Symphony without the support of a backer, and I'm really pleased that this will give you guys the chance to get back to using Symphony rather than being on the periphery.

  • Lewis
  • 20 May 11, 10:39 am

Thanks for handing off your baby to the wild. I too think this is great news and thank you all for the community that you have created. Now go make something… with Symphony :-)

The move to open source with the release of Symphony 2 Beta Revision 5 was the best thing ever. That was the spark that ignited this community. Working Groups was the next best thing. Thanks, Allen.

I don't remember precisely, but it may be because Symphony wasn't open source that i'didn't try it when I first saw it. Hopefully I've been searching again very recently for a XML/XSL CMS and I found you back. It's quite funny to see that it was just a few days after you made this official announcement !

  • ChriZ
  • 23 May 11, 8:34 pm

Great news! I can see a bright future for Symphony. This all feels so fluffy and cosy... ;)

I have no words... You guys are awesome and this software is amazing. I would love to be able to contribute, but I do not know where to start.

Create an account or sign in to comment.

Symphony • Open Source XSLT CMS

Server Requirements

  • PHP 5.3-5.6 or 7.0-7.3
  • PHP's LibXML module, with the XSLT extension enabled (--with-xsl)
  • MySQL 5.5 or above
  • An Apache or Litespeed webserver
  • Apache's mod_rewrite module or equivalent

Compatible Hosts

Sign in

Login details