Farewell to CMS Made Simple

As some of you have already noticed, me (Goran aka uniqu3) and Tapio aka Stikki are no longer members of the CMS Made Simple Development Team. To put an end to the questions in our inboxes, speculations on Twitter or PM’s on various Social Networks we figured that in the current situation it would be best to quickly put together an official statement as we do not attempt to reply to anyone’s questions or speculations personally.

The situation

To put an end to everyone’s speculations: Yes, it is official! We are no longer part of the CMS Made Simple Development Team nor will we be involved with CMS Made Simple in any way whatsoever in the future.

When we joined over 3 years ago we were full of motivation but as time passed by, motivation dwindled away due to what seems to be unresolvable internal issues, no room for any “fresh” ideas, the project leader’s “either my way or no way” attitude and decisions solely being made by “long time” team members. When we sum it all up, it was only a matter of time for the situation to escalate.

What lead to the escalation was an internal vote with one choice predetermined as correct by a majority of CMS Made Simple Team members. Who didn’t opt for this choice and was said “goodbye” to was Tapio – not that I would have expected any other result, but I was naive enough to believe that there would be something else than a “one way street” procedure.

I was obviously wrong and as Tapio and I grew to kind of “virtual friends” and effectively to business partners in these last three years, the only reasonable option for me was to follow Tapio and step down from being a member of the CMS Made Simple Developer Team. After all, everybody was aware that even if I would not be nominated, Tapio’s nomination would be against me too.

The reason

When two parties go separate ways there can only be two options, either a fight or a more challenging “opportunity”, but well in this case it wasn’t the latter.

The situation basically started at the time we joined, but it seems like we and our actions were tolerated to some extent back then. However, within three years, team members have developed an aversion to our attitude and bluntness.

We have joined the team to help in improving and growing the software of our choice in the first place and for the benefit not harm of the community and our clients. But unfortunately there is only room for ideas and decisions made by the project leader despite the team being built as a democracy. I doubt that having only one party standing in an election would make a country democratic and in the same way it has been “either this way or no way” in the dev team.

We did express our concerns numerous times. Be it about rushing each and every release. Be it about stalling development because of an absolutely unreasonable number of modules maintained by one single person leading to endless issues with backwards compatibility and thus to no progress. Or be it simply about the workflow and community interaction.

It is simply hard to stay motivated or deliver any work when you work in a team but there is no teamwork. It is simply one person doing something and others having to wait for the outcome and just follow.

In my eyes that is not how teamwork should be. If there is a common code base then members of the programmer team have to speak to each other, brainstorm, decide about benefits or pitfalls, not simply be given one single option by the project leader or let people vote or decide about something they do not even know what it is all about. Same goes for design or marketing decisions.

I kind of feel sorry for Robert, as he is the one that carries the whole responsibility for CMS Made Simple on his shoulders, but on the other hand it is his choice.

To get to the point and the core of the situation: During the 2.0 development cycle, decisions were made that Tapio and I didn’t agree with. Decisions like rushing the beta release again – which I would have called alpha anyway or in fact I personally didn’t even see any reason for a major version bump, but Tapio disagrees with me in this point.

Our concern was simply that pieces of software, the new PHAR based installer in particular, were simply not ready yet and would bring more trouble than benefit for future of CMS Made Simple.

As I was expressing my concern in the official forum, parts of my post was simply deleted/edited by the project leader even though my post was simply a reaction people’s problems.

After all, we are developing software for more than just ourselves. It is for the community and we can simply not expect every single person using CMS Made Simple (or going to try it to eventually get convinced and become part of the community) to be willing and able to use SSH or to have a VPS and be able to change all settings, install any PHP extension or add any Apache mod to overcome issues with the installer or CMS Made Simple requirements.

In fact the majority of the community members is on somewhat shared hosting with limited permissions and we can not simply proclaim that like 70% of hosters “suck”. Even if it would be the truth, first generalisingly accusing hosting companies for whatever they were doing wrong and then claiming my concerned forum post is unprofessional is somewhat paradox.

As I was writing in my “edited” forum post, when searching for new software and testing interesting pieces, if I fail to install it after a reasonable amount of time of trying to overcome issues, I give up on it. If i can not install software I can not try it, no matter how good it may be. For CMS Made Simple, in the current stage that means the installation fails on probably about 70% of hosts.

That’s why I was requesting to look for alternative solutions, maybe postpone the PHAR based installer and try to figure out something that works for everyone. After all, installing software should be easy and bulletproof – well, nothing can be bulletproof, but definitely not at such a high fail rate.

As we were expressing our concerns, the project leader felt offended by us. Even though nobody criticised any of his work when trying to resolve occurring issues, we were accused of offending and attacking him.

We never attempted to offend anyone, but the project leader apparently felt like we did, not taking into account the time he did actually offend and attack me directly, just for living in a country where people speak a certain language which is also spoken in another country with a certain unpopular community, so go figure.

The only option we were left with was either Tapio leaves or the project leader leaves, so simply put “either my way or no way”. And you know the outcome.
Both of us, Tapio and I feel sorry for not being part of the project and community anymore, but after all there is always room for new challenges.

The Future

On Twitter there was Ben asking about CMS Made Simple’s future, but honestly we are not here to think about CMS Made Simple’s future or to judge it.

Life goes on, be it with us or without us, there is still a community around CMS Made Simple, even though it has been decreasing for a while (yes I can read the site’s analytics and understand them) and I personally doubt there will suddenly be new motivated developers appearing from nowhere, just waiting to join CMS Made Simple’s team. And basically we all know it’s mostly the same people all the time, talking in forums trying to help others. And the number of those helpful community members ain’t increasing either. And the situation with module developers is different in no way.

There is no simple answer to Ben’s question, it is something that CMS Made Simple’s team has to solve and figure out, maybe with the help of the community. But it is definitely not my or Tapio’s job to do so. We had our chance, we were not welcome.
I think Samuel (Sjg) explained it quite well in his post “Farewell to CMS Made Simple” (Heh, I just noticed that I have chosen the same title. Too lazy to change it now) three years ago, when he was voted out.

Will anything change this time? Sorry, but I don’t have an answer to that.

No matter what, we wish all the best to the project and CMS Made Simple community. What concerns me and Tapio, we have decided to look out for new challenges and will no longer be involved with anything related to CMS Made Simple. This also means that we are stopping our module development, phasing out and deleting all our project blogs or they may turn into something else or simply shut the doors in a reasonable time frame.

What a reasonable time frame may be – sorry we currently have no answer to that as well as we have no answer to where we are going, what challenges we are going to take, but we do look forward to our future. We say thanks to the CMS Made Simple team for giving us a chance to participate and contribute our share to the project as well to the community for their trust in us.

An old German saying goes like "Besser ein Ende mit Schrecken, als ein Schrecken ohne Ende." (Better a horrible ending than an endless horror).

So long.