Leaks, Drips, and Spills

Not Feeling the Love, OSM.

17 Jan 2012
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What we have here is a failure to communicate. Actually, I am communicating just fine. You, on the other hand, apparently have nothing to say. So what is it? Have my posts lately been too serious? Depressing? Boring? I just don't know how to please you people. I don't want to make you feel bad, but my stress is directly related to you never making changes even when it is pointed out to you. It's all your fault.

I'm afraid I'm going to have to take some time off from this blogging thing and let you decide if you miss me and want me back. I'm outta here unless I hear from at least 50 25 10 5  1 of you, begging me to stay just commenting.

It's the messy job of nurturing relationships -- caring, consistency, collaboration, and communication – that separates the good organizations from the bad. Right now OSM suffers from the following eight failures:

  1. Not Responsive to Joomla! Community Input
  2. Don't Solve Problems that are pointed out
  3. Inflexible - All too quick to point out the fine print
  4. Too Many Unexpecteds - Inconsistent and Unreliable
  5. Little Expertise and Influence on the OSM Board and in the Leadership Team
  6. Always Trying to Sell Something New to the Joomla! Community
  7. Don't Make The Joomla Community Feel Special
  8. Try to Be All Things to All People - Ignored core competencies, culture and service to the Joomla! Community

So, I kind of left at least some of you hanging about me stopping blogging on Joomla! issues. Probably not! But, I would like to hear from you on how I am doing and why you think OSM and the Joomla! Leadership Team are not acting on any of the many issues that have been clearly pointed out to them. Meanwhile, I will take a break until about the second week of February while I cruise to Panama. Enjoy the quiet OSM!

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David Huelsmann

Dave Huelsmann was Treasurer of Open Source Matters, Inc. from 2008 to July, 2010 and Joomla Forum Global Moderator from 2005 to November, 2010. Now retired, he was a senior healthcare executive who managed large and diverse clinical laboratory, radiology, electroencephalography, and centralized patient transport operations/departments in both not-for-profit and for-profit companies throughout the United States.

Dave was a Navy Corpsman who served in Vietnam while attached to Seabee battalionmcb71

Read more about Dave Huelsmann

+1 # pkaak 2012-01-29 22:04
Hi Dave,

we are reading your blog with the most of interest, but unfortunately, the OSM' strategy _is_ about ignoring suggestions and especially criticism.

The whole projects stinks, from the OSM down to the core development. On every corner of the project there is the same pattern of ignorance.

As soon as people from the outside of the joomla pack want to contribute (code, ideas, support, etc.), most of their contributions will be rejected, except it reduces the _personal_ workload of the responsible person. Let's call this "open slavery".

However, there is more. Perversion of the GPL, code contributors being muted in the middle of _constructive_ proposals, childish behavior of long-term project members and leaders.

Just read the comments here and you wonder how this project even survived until now:

Read the discussions, very interesting as it gives a good insight into the nature of this project.

... to be continued
-2 # pkaak 2012-01-29 22:06

And because this nature too often has been seen on the web on several discussion forums, this is the reason why YOU won't ever get a reply from anybody of the project on YOUR blog site. They surely learned that it is better to mute themselves and keep away from discussions that would make them appear in bad light. They simply cannot talk and take criticism. The other way works perfect.

You know, there is a lot of money to make with joomla and when I read about all this, it smells like a few people are sharing the revenues of being in leadership positions and thus controlling what comes out and especially -- comes in. Otherwise I cannot explain myself how it is possible to ignore an entire community if leaders claim to be sooooo concerned about it. Check the community pages at and the proposal discussions, far from being a community.

It is a complete shame, why in the first place did the project fork from Mambo? It now seems way worse than it ever had been at that time...

-2 # David Huelsmann 2012-02-07 10:35
Thanks for your comments, Peter.

I am well aware that the "silent treatment" is essentially OSM's defense against their failures to properly follow their own bylaws and New York state law. I cannot address issues surrounding code contributions, etc. as I have not been directly involved in those areas.

As far as the Mambo-Joomla fork, you may want to read and
0 # Andrew Eddie 2012-02-17 16:38
Wow, a blast from the past. Good old Jem. Probably the least reliable reference for the history of Mambo-Joomla I would pick, although I can think of worse from people that subsequently saw the light (or jumped off the sinking ship - end result is the same).

Pkaak, most, hang it, all of your claims are unfounded and ill researched speculation. The public record stands in stark contrast that "most" contributions will be rejected. Interesting you bring up "The Story of a Pull Request" because it has a positive ending :) (oops) Personally I thought the exchange between myself and the author was above board, but if you don't see it that way I can't argue otherwise. However, I suggest you peruse the release announcements of the platform on to see that volume of work that does go into these things, and who does it (all public information anyone can verify). I think I also took the criticism rather well rereading my comments :) I put to you that "most" contributions are accepted and we learn from the mistakes of individual cases.

Now, that article is an interesting parallel because a guy had a problem, had his say about it, and then moved on to contribute as he had time. The problem I have with this blog is that it's just a megaphone. Ok, we know the whole project is not perfect, but going on and on is like trying to drink poison yourself, hoping the other person will die. Ultimately you have to decide whether to let go, or use it as motivation to provide a better alternative. The code is free to fork, no reason why OSM can't be forked as well. Honestly, I'd take this blog more seriously if I saw Dave running an alternative Joomla organisation in a way that shows OSM, well, sounds like the whole project now too (the world is not enough obviously), for all it's faults. Do a better job, people will follow. Complaining without doing something about it leads to disinterest.

Oh darn it, I just replied :-)
0 # David Huelsmann 2012-02-18 11:27
Thanks for defining this blog as a megaphone. I certainly am attempting to amplify my comments towards a targeted entity - OSM. I and others tried numerous times to get OSM to listen and respond appropriately using the JPeople site. Unfortunately, the OSM representatives could not hear what was being said - they were just too dang busy deriding the messenger(s).

Andrew - you minimize the issues presented and how easily they can be corrected. It is unfortunate that you don't see how a number of the members of the Joomla community have attempted to connect with OSM around the concerns I have echoed for them in this blog. OSM's failure to engage with those community members leads to continued mistrust and fails to take a fantastic opportunity to finding better solutions and develop better relationships.

There would be no "going on and on" as you put it if OSM didn't continually "feed the fire". If OSM would make efforts to correct the issues reasonably pointed out to them, I would have nothing to write about and this blog would disappear.

Feel free to post a url to whatever reference you think would be better for the Mambo-Joomla fork.

Note that from October, 2011 to February, 2012 (5 months), you were the only member of the Joomla! project to have even commented on any of these blogs. Shows at least you are not completely "disinterested". ;-)
-1 # Andrew Eddie 2012-02-19 16:53
Hi Dave. Don't make assumption just so it looks like I support your cause. I responded only because the development process, with which I am intimately familiar, was commented on and you brought up the Jemreport, which made me laugh so hard I nearly fell off my chair (not a pretty mental image). I'm sure you can find a better link yourself using the attention to detail you apply to the rest of your writings on this site. Personally, I'd rather hear your opinion on why you found that to be a reliable and accurate reference.

Back to the topic, I, personally, have frustrations with OSM (shock horror), but no less or more than when you were on the board and probably no less or more than people have with me - or you for that matter. How well motions are worded hold no bearing on whether I decide to contribute one day or the next. For me it comes down to judge people as harshly as you want to be judged yourself.

What was it you said? "Always trying to sell something new". I'd encourage you to take a look at the development lists sometime and then I expect a slew of blogs bringing the same charge as for OSM - to which I would be most happy to respond :) I expect you'll be able to bring forth a rather lengthy 8-point expose as you've done here - just so you are applying judgement consistently across the whole project, which everyone knows is far from faultless. Actually, if you want, I'll just tell you where I have personally failed on all those 8 points myself :)

Anyhoo, after responding to pkaak, and suggesting I'd take you more seriously if I saw you actually performing a better job than those you accuse, I have no interest in this blog at all (other than I feel for your stomach ulcers - oh wait, that's not caused by stress anymore and can be treated with antibiotics - I'll have to find another quip; and I enjoy the thrill of the debate from time to time). It's an unjust, personal vendetta in my opinion; nothing more, nothing less.
0 # David Huelsmann 2012-02-20 10:35

Sorry if I left you with the impression that I believed that you somehow supported "my cause" as you put it. I have no such illusions.

I have no interest in looking at the development side of the Joomla! project nor do I have sufficient expertise in that area to even form an educated guess as to any issues that may exist much less produce an "8-point expose".

Again, you minimize the OSM issues by lumping them into the phrase "How well motions are worded". Nice trick. You do the same in your ending by characterizing the thrust of the blogs as an "unjust personal vendetta". Doesn't change the underlying issues one iota.

The Republican Party here in the US is undergoing a similar mud-slinging period in preparation for the elections at the end of the year. Very few pay much attention to those smear campaigns.

I wasn't around during the Mambo-Joomla split period. You were a key player and could offer a link to a factual report of the issues. Please do so.

So pleased to hear that you enjoy an occasional debate. As a well respected member of the Joomla! Community perhaps you would engage OSM in debating their failures and the damage it does to their position in that same community. I would applaud any movement towards improvement. 8)
0 # Andrew Eddie 2012-02-20 15:55
The first level of improvement is to have board members, and it's detractors, interested in development. This is a software project and this is the most important part of the culture you are ignoring. (refer, in part, to your point 8).

Ignoring development also means that you are not consistently applying your charges against the whole project (point #4) and not doing your homework on references leads to unreliability (#4 again).

Your conclusion that there are only failures do debate leads to inflexibility and, frankly, poor self reflection (point #3). I can tell you that I am as dissatisfied with the financial reporting now as when you were on the board (and when I was on the board to be honest, and fair). The implication was not that the job wasn't being done "adequately", I just wanted more than "adequate" ... but the point is I don't write blog rants about it time after time after time.

Suggestions that I'm minimising the problem, while technically true from one point of view, is falling into your own point #1 and #2 (in other words, I don't agree with you so **I'm** the problem). Dave, I respect and believe you've been hurt (I have no idea what the details are), but I don't think anyone likes the way you are handling it (not least of which is "it's all THEIR fault" - didn't work for Adam, and it's not working for me). I am not minimising that you personally have issues specifically with OSM, and while I actually sympathise with some of your points (let's be honest, board attendance is important, but Dave, let it all go), this isn't the way. Maybe nobody's been honest enough to tell you that .. I dunno.

It's obvious your Joomla experience has left a hole. I hope that you are able to fill it soon with positive, forward motion such as I've seen of you in the past. I also realise you will want one last reply to this, but this is my last harrah, unless my development honour feels it needs defending again, hehe :)
0 # David Huelsmann 2012-02-21 09:57
It's obvious, at least to me, that you have no intention to work on improving or motivating to improve the members of OSM. So, while these discussions have been somewhat interesting, the negative politicization you have been conducting doesn't help your position nor does it change the issues previously discussed in the blogs. :eek:

I refer you to Wikipedia on Organizational dissent:
Organizational dissent is the "expression of disagreement or contradictory opinions about organizational practices and policies" . Since dissent involves disagreement it can lead to conflict, which if not resolved, can lead to violence and struggle. As a result, many organizations send the message – verbally or nonverbally – that dissent is discouraged. However, recent studies have shown that dissent serves as an important monitoring force within organizations. Dissent can be a warning sign for employee dissatisfaction or organizational decline. Redding (1985) found that receptiveness to dissent allows for corrective feedback to monitor unethical and immoral behavior, impractical and ineffectual organizational practices and polices, poor and unfavorable decision making, and insensitivity to employees' workplace needs and desires. Furthermore, Eilerman argues that the hidden costs of silencing dissent include: wasted and lost time, reduced decision quality, emotional and relationship costs, and decreased job motivation. Perlow (2003) found that employee resentment can lead to a decrease in productivity and creativity which can result in the organization losing money, time, and resources. 8)
0 # Andrew Eddie 2012-02-21 15:54
Ok, I'll bite on that one (well done) but you loose points for Wikipedia. You would have done better to quote from Jim Collins or Gary Hamel. But, and you know this, your comment can be turned around to be used against your own argument. I'm dissenting against your handling of your dissent :) You are also taking the position of the absolute authority on the matter and cannot be held to account. But hey, it's your blog and if those are the rules, I need to abide by them. Though, I'm not feeling the love :) I know, I know - I'm part of the problem by not agreeing with you - I'll save you the trouble of that comeback.

So, here's the deal. I actually have and do do stuff behind the scenes to (hopefully) improve OSM as I see the need and as I'm able to serve (look up "servant leadership" sometime Dave, not sure if wikipedia would know much about that). I just don't like YOUR way of handling things (you won't see me devoting an entire website to my pet peeves - not my style and I think my time is better spent contributing code for the ... what is it we build ... oh right, software). I also have my own list of things that I think are mission critical to fix and it doesn't coincide with your list nor is it fixated on just OSM. Seriously Dave, I have little confidence that OSM could ever meet your standard, but even if it did (and I'm not sure what I think of that prospect), I doubt it helps the software production one iota ... and that's the part that interests me.

I'll end by repeating an earlier quote from Nelson Mandela:

"Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies"

Knowing what he went though, I think there's a lesson there.

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