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DNN Community Blog

The Community Blog is a personal opinion of community members and by no means the official standpoint of DNN Corp or DNN Platform. This is a place to express personal thoughts about DNNPlatform, the community and its ecosystem. Do you have useful information that you would like to share with the DNN Community in a featured article or blog? If so, please contact .

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Open Source Philosophy

"Open source" means so many different things to different people. And since there is no concrete definition, everyone's interpretation is absolutely valid.

From an "academic" perspective, "open source" can logically be translated to mean the source code is open for review by anyone. People are free to use it as a learning tool for review, modification, etc... The only thing that matters in this case is the license it has been released under. In the case of DotNetNuke, you are free to use the source code for whatever you wish - commercial or otherwise.

However from a "product" perspective, "open source" can mean something entirely different.

End users can take advantage of an application which is a free or low cost alternative to commercial applications. In addition, they can rely on the open source community for support and guidance. Another benefit is that open source application evolves faster and is often more directly driven by end user requirements.

Developers can use the open source application as the jumping off point for other vertical applications - allowing them to focus on implementing their specific business requirements without dwelling on the mundane plumbing details. In this case, developers rely on the open source core to implement certain general features which save them the time of having to write the code themselves ( ie. skins, localization, etc.. ). In order to take advantage of these general enhancements they must try as much as possible to avoid core changes of their own or else they face the risk of manual integration on each new core release.

Commercial vendors can build add-ins for the open source application to enable end-users and developers to extend the framework further. Vendors rely on the core to remain relatively static; however, as the project extends the boundaries it almost always comes with some degree of dynamic change. Vendors must work with the Core Team to iron out incompatibilities before they arise.

The ultimate goal for DNN is to create a minimal core of portal services which is easily extendable. Obviously this is no trivial excercise; however, we are making strides in that general direction with some of the latest enhancements ( abstract data access layer ). And in order to avoid alienating the current DotNetNuke community, we are trying to make this transition as seamless as possible. This is a long term enhancement project with many incremental releases along the way to support the ever growing community.

So getting back to forking, although it does seem to be inevitable, you must realize the potential for disaster based on the open source "product" model. Each splinter fragments the community; making it more complicated for users, developers, and commercial vendors to support the product due to incompatibilities, support issues, miscommunication, etc... The vision is certainly not that DNN will become the sole defacto of portalism; however, w


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