I have a firm belief that open source software communities become strong when people with many different reasons for being present are free to meet their needs in a community. If everyone sees the software the same way, it’s very hard for more than one company to participate strongly in the community with the result it tends towards being a user community with few co-developers. As you might guess, I’ve seen a lot of communities like this in my time.
At ForgeRock, it’s our vision to create a secure and scalable platform for building real-world applications on the web, and the I3 platform that we’re gradually creating uses a range of different open source projects to achieve this. But we’re keen to see the technology base we’re using become more modular, so that differently-motivated uses of the components can find synergy without directly competing. To that end, I’m very pleased to be able to make an announcement about a new community we’re sponsoring – OpenICF.
OpenICF is a community that draws together the many users of the Identity Connector Framework, ICF, which makes it straightforward to create connectors for joining applications together to co-operate. We’re using ICF connectors in OpenIDM, but you’ll find that community members – and there are more than the press release lists – are using ICF-based connectors in a variety of contexts, including Brinqa who are using ICF with compliance and risk management solutions .
This diversity is very healthy. It means different people will see the software in different ways, bringing fresh, innovative ideas and introducing the opportunity for serendipity. It’s that characteristic that makes the strongest open source communities. For evolution to succeed, there has to be mutation!