Events

Category: Events (92 posts) [RSS]

Jul 19 2019

Words from the CEO for the #15yearsofXWiki party

On the 8th of July, we celebrated 15 years of XWiki. In this celebration, we were joined by XWiki Alumni, friends of the company and the Open Source project, and some lovely clients. 

Below, you can find a written version of the speech Ludovic Dubost, the CEO and creator of XWiki, held that evening. Note that the following text is not the exact transcription of Ludovic's speech, but the written version before the actual speech.

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This party celebrates 15 years of efforts from all the XWikiers to grow a sustainable company building Free and Open Source software that matters. It means a lot to me and the XWikiers to have you all here tonight.

It is very hard to summarize 15 years in a simple and short speech, and I'm not very famous for being able to keep it short. I'll do my best.

A good approach would be to summarize it by the objective. When I created XWiki, I did not fully know what I was doing. I'm not saying I do know now, but at the time I came out of an experience in the Internet Bubble, working for a company that was successful in the bubble. That success means that today it doesn't exist anymore. The company raised money, built great proprietary technology, went in 15 countries, made little revenue, went on the stock market, and eventually was sold for 10 times less than it was valued before. The technology that we had to build went, in part, to the trash bin.

Free and Libre Open Source Software

 Open Source has been my main answer, knowing that by building our software as Open Source it would still be there whatever happens.

Later, as I built XWiki, I discovered more about FLOSS Software, and participating in this movement has become something very important. Free Software is about control. The movement was created with the objective of users regaining control on software. Today, although we have more Open Source software, the lack of control is still a big concern, as from Proprietary Software companies giving you software that you don't control but that you install in your home or company, we have moved to Cloud companies providing services mainly built on Open Source code, but which you still do not control. While the FLOSS movement has progressed we are still lacking the FLOSS based end services and software that allow us to keep control. What XWiki does today, providing both software and services fully as Free Software is even more relevant and important.

I'm very proud that XWiki is part of an important and vibrant movement in France and Europe, alongside many other companies and organizations. These organizations are important as they show how important Free and Open Source is. Some of them have joined us today: April, or OW2, but it's also worth mentioning CNLL, AFUL, Framasoft, La Quadrature du Net and internationally FSF, OSI or free software events like FOSDEM.

Software that matters

Knowledge: Another objective was to build software that matters. In my previous job in 2001, thanks to Erwan, I discovered wikis and we set it up to share knowledge in our team. I had found software that matters. Wikis matter, because they help share knowledge. Sharing knowledge matters for many reasons. First, it is very important for companies to make them more successful, but it also helps people grow when accessing more knowledge through companies or public wikis. "Knowledge is Power" said Francis Bacon.

 Knowledge empowers individuals and allows them to become team members instead of tasks executors. For us, at XWiki "Knowledge is Power ... so it should be shared"

Going a step forward, we should be proud that XWiki is being used to make knowledge accessible to probably millions of people, inside 7000 organizations that have XWiki installed, and through public websites with tens of thousands of visitors.

Clients and Users: Not only do we build the software, but we also help companies make better use of it and set up knowledge sharing systems. Throughout the years we have been able to work on many great subjects, including Education Knowledge Sharing, Information Sharing for the Public Service (CNFPT), Knowledge Sharing for train repair or answering calls from people having had an accident, lately the Historical Lexicon of Switzerland, MonAvis system for allowing citizens to vote on dematerialized public services. We have also worked on medical wikis such as the CDLS World, community helping parents with sick children or the Children Knowledge Network in Canada. We are also happy to bring knowledge sharing to medium-sized companies with XWiki Cloud and even to individuals with CryptPad. Since we launched these two products we have had subscribers from 20 different countries.

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A big thank you to our clients and supporters who participate in building our Open Source Software.

Privacy: More recently, the subject of privacy has emerged. The Snowden revelations have shown that we don't know who has access to our data and for what. The business model of cloud services has fuelled a surveillance economy that we cannot control anymore, as it has been used to influence elections. The progress of cloud as a more convenient system for users both in terms of usage and price, combined with the greed of businesses fighting for the "winner takes it all" spot, is driving us into a wall.

At XWiki we had the opportunity to do something about it, so we took it: working on our realtime editors, Caleb (Alumnus) found a way to make realtime editing work without needing the server to read the content.
It's worth telling how I almost killed this project. 

 One day I come in the research office and Caleb tells me how he just recoded the realtime synchronisation in Javascript instead of Java. My first question was whether this was really needed. The NIH syndrome is very popular amongst developers.
- Why exactly did you recode it? 
- So I used the blockchain to allow to manage the order of patches and then reimplemented Operational Transform in Javascript, and now the server is only transmitting the data, so we can encrypt. 
Obviously, he knew he was talking to a CEO, and that he would get me with the word "blockchain".

But he got something there. This technology is a breakthrough, allowing new types of applications which are "privacy by default" and "Zero-Knowledge". This gave birth to the Open Source software CryptPad and CryptPad.fr which has more and more users and supporters. 10000 users per week are accessing CryptPad from around the world, 300+ instances are running, protecting users content. Not only are we breaking new technological ground with this project, but we are also trying a new business model, through low-cost subscriptions and crowdfunding. 

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I would like to thank our subscribers for the CryptPad service. Also, to our supporters who have donated, along with BPI France that funded our research project for many years. Of course, I wouldn't want to forget NLNet that is currently funding CryptPad's roadmap, allowing us to actively continue the development of the software and service.

More generally, I would like to thank the public bodies that have funded our research throughout the years: Ville de Paris, Ile de France Region, Agence Nationale de la Recherche and the European Community have been great supporters of this work. I would also like to thank the partners that have invited us on their projects: Mandriva, Nexedi, INRIA, Linagora, University of Catalona and many more. We would not be as far without their funding. 

Giving people more than a job: Another thought that crossed my mind when I created XWiki, was how would I build a company that did not repeat what I didn't like in the companies I worked for as an employee. The answer to this hasn't been to build a campus with beanbags, slides and bikes, but to try to make a transparent and open company, based on general trust. A company where employees have a project they can believe in and focus their work towards the same goal: better product, better services, better us.

In the case of our small business, we aimed to:

  • get people paid for the work they do;
  • keep reasonable amounts of pressure or constraint;
  • make it a successful business that is competitive in our industry;
  • keep the company independent, without raising money, and not end up being sold to the highest bidder;
  • all of the above, without forgetting to provide the code of our products as Open Source, usable for everyone.

We do have a baby foot table though.

Obviously, if you can get the paycheck coming in without any pressure or constraint, it might be easier to have a happy team. But XWiki has not been about trying to solve easy problems. I believe it is important to not stop at easy, especially in the IT industry. I believe that we, working in IT, are privileged today, as we are in a market where the demand is high.

I find that this privilege particularly applies to me, having had the chance to be born and raised in a country and by parents that gave me a lot of security and allowed me to benefit from high-level education. I have learned this is not as obvious as it may seem. I use this occasion to thank my family for this. So, this privilege gives us a responsibility to try to do more. 

Europe & Romania

Another reason we chose to go for Open Source software is that at XWiki, we believe in the European software industry. Even though our industry has become more and more prevalent, it is massively dominated by US companies, today the same as 15 years ago. The French and European software and internet industries are still weak, but working hard to catch up. I've always believed, thanks also to my "European" education, having lived in Germany as a kid, that Europe is highly important for our future and that we need to collaborate more across Europe.

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While I'm proud that we have initially built this company out of France, I've always thought of XWiki as an international company being able to span frontiers.

It's not an easy fight. I wish I could be positive, but unfortunately, we are struggling to get a united Europe. The software industry is not an exception. Europe invests in R&D and we are very grateful for the help, but we do not see an industrial strategy at the European level trying to bring our companies closer together. Investment in startups is national. In France, Startup Nation and FrenchTech are everywhere in the press reinforcing a nationalistic point of view. XWiki SAS is a proud Open Source EuroTech. ​​​​

I'm particularly proud that we have built XWiki as a Franco-Romanian company. I did not know Romania before Sergiu (Alumnus). After being a Summer of Code student, he helped create XWiki in Romania, in 2007. Twelve years later, I discovered a beautiful country with many talents and lots of new friends. I'm very proud of our team in Iasi that has joined us today, and everything they have achieved at XWiki. Also, XWiki has changed the personal lives of quite a few people, including my own. I'm glad that I had something to do with it. If we will have failed everything else, at least this cannot be taken away.

This project is yours

I want to make one thing clear: this is your company and your achievements. It was achieved by the highly talented XWikiers:

  • it is the XWiki Product Squad spending endless hours releasing 12 XWiki versions per year, our QA team running the same tests over and over again, trying to catch bugs;
  • it is the Client Squads, lead by our account managers, spending long meetings with clients to sell projects, and get them delivered;
  • it is the Client Team's architect's and developer's talent building the projects and taking responsibility to make them work;
  • it is our Support Squad, keeping our clients happy, whatever happens;
  • it is the Cryptpad Squad, previously our research team, working hard to get research projects, deliver them and break new grounds;
  • it is our Marketing Squad getting us at conferences and ensuring we have great brochures, flyers, stickers, and tee-shirt for these events, catching our leads, with only a fraction of the budget of the big players;
  • it is our HR Squad getting young engineers to see beyond the size of your logo on the building and keep us happy while making our two offices work smoothly and seamlessly;
  • it is our Community which uses XWiki, makes it known, contributes to our forums and extensions. There are no small contributions to Free and Open Source software;
  • it is the research funding agencies, along with our research partners who allow us to get the necessary funding to fuel our research and innovation process, while building new capabilities and releasing them as Open Source;
  • it is our clients who buy our services, our cloud, our support and are funding the development of these projects and allow this company model to exists.

Thank you for making this possible. I suppose, if we are still there after those 15 years, earning more than we spend year after year, we have succeeded.

You should be all proud of this achievement! This INCREDIBLE achievement!

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Drawing of the evening, courtesy of Bénédicte Roullier

What does the future hold for XWiki

Technology continues to evolve, and XWiki needs to embrace the changes. Virtualisation is an incredible trend, and the browser is the key tool everybody is using now.

With new technologies like WebAssembly, we can expect that we should soon be able to run the Java JVM and MySQL in the browser and, therefore, XWiki itself. If we can run XWiki in the browser, then we should be able to run XWiki inside CryptPad, allowing the combining of our two products and bringing encryption to XWiki.

Well, who knows what can happen in 15 years, maybe it will be possible!

More seriously, in the next 15 years, XWiki SAS will be what you decide it should be. We have created the Squad structure to create team autonomy and make each team focus on its sustainability and its key goals. What XWiki SAS does will evolve with you!

On my side I hope 15 years from now, XWiki SAS will have grown XWiki and made many more knowledge projects, all the while being more integrated with other popular Open Source solutions so that, together, these products can help our companies and countries regain technological independence. XWiki SAS wants to help, but we cannot do this alone. 

On the CryptPad side, I'm confident we will reach sustainability thanks to our users and supporters helping CryptPad spread. CryptPad has enormous potential to change the way software is being built and used, focusing on privacy first. I wish new squads will exist. XWiki SAS should be your home for building great, sustainable free software products. 

To finish I'd like to raise my glass to all those who have helped us, who share our goals and to all our team.

After bragging for an hour about the work we do, I would like to close by raising my glass to the many, inside and outside XWiki, that do even harder and more important work, silently tackle the non-easy tasks, without being in the spotlight. It's not always those of whom we speak the most that do the most important work.

Happy 15 years!

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Jun 11 2019

Join us for the OW2'19 XWiki Meetup

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We’re hosting an XWiki Meetup at OW2 conference, in Paris, with talks from our clients at France Mobilités.

What is the XWiki Meetup?

The XWiki Meetup is a great opportunity to interact with the people developing XWiki and the ones that have chosen it for their information intelligence needs. Even more, we want to learn what future features you would like to see in XWiki, so we will launch a debate in which you can decide the future of XWiki. Exciting, isn't it?

Also, as the meetup it’s part of a larger event, you can meet lots of other interesting people and talks at the conference. See the full schedule here. OW2con'19 is the annual open source event bringing together the OW2 community, technology experts, software architects, IT project managers and decision-makers from around the world.

This Break-out Session, XWiki will:

- present the latest features in XWiki and enhancements brought by the newest versions;
- organize a Q&A/brainstorming session on new features for the XWiki ecosystem - let us know what you want to implement next;
- share testimonials from XWiki users regarding their daily experience with the product.

Who will be there?

Vincent Massol - CTO of XWiki SAS and an active committer of the XWiki open source project

Clément Aubin - Account Manager at XWiki SAS and an active committer of the XWiki open source project

Where and when will it be?

The Meetup will take place on Thursday, the 13th of June 2019 at Orange Gardens Hello Lab, between 9:15 AM - 10:45 AM.

See you there?

Mar 05 2019

Meet us at Digital Workplace 2019

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Let's talk about the importance of enterprise collaborative solutions at DIGITAL WORKPLACE EXPO 2019 happening at Paris Porte de Versailles, Pavilion 4.2, between 19 - 21 March.

Who will be there?

Clément Aubin

Clément is working at XWiki SAS as an Account Manager, while also being a student at the EISTI and at Grenoble Business School. He's been involved in the free and Open Source software world since 2015 when he joined a student organization named ATILLA, that promotes free and libre alternatives to proprietary solutions. Nowadays, most of his contributions to FOSS go into the development of the XWiki Open Source software, a great project in which he's been contributing for almost a year. 

Ludovic Dubost

Creator of XWiki and CEO of XWiki SAS, Ludovic has been the gentle organizer of the XWiki SAS company for 14 years. XWiki SAS leads the development of the XWiki Software used by thousands of organizations, including Amazon Inc. and helps companies and organizations all over the world organize, share, and collaborate on content. Advanced solutions have been developed to help companies manage support content, sales procedures, and knowledge or build complete collaborative Intranets. 

Schedule

Tuesday, 19 March

HourTalkRoom
16:15 - 17:15Ludovic at The latest collaborative and conversational innovations to know in 2019Espace Topos
17:00 - 18:00Ludovic at What are the alternatives to traditional collaborative suites? What does the French Tech industry offer?Voltaire

Wednesday, 20 March

HourTalkRoom
12:00 - 12:45Ludovic at the atelier Presentation of the Inter-Administration Extranet on the Quality of Online Procedures by DINSICDumas
16:15 - 17:15Ludovic at the round table Intranet, Digital workplace, Informative and collaborative tools, Enterprise Social Networks, instant messengers, EDM: how to mix them for better work and communication? Should there be a single platform or integrated tools?Voltaire

Thursday, 21 March

HourTalkRoom
13:15 - 14:15Clément at A digital workplace always more integrated and extended: how to do it?Voltaire
14:45 - 16:15Ludovic at Embark managers in your digital workplace or intranet project over timeEspace Topos

Looking forward to meeting you all and answer all the questions you might have about XWiki, CryptPad or our community. Until then, follow us on Twitter (XWiki and CryptPad) where we will keep you up-to-date with our latest developments.

Feb 28 2019

CryptPad received the NGI award

This week, in Barcelona, Aaron and Ludovic attended the 4YFN conference to pick up CryptPad's "Privacy and trust-enhanced technologies" Startup award granted by NGI.

CryptPad is an open-source, web-based suite of collaborative editors which employs client-side cryptography to ensure that the server is not able to access the contents of users’ documents. CryptPad offers a variety of editors and other multi-user applications: rich text, code editing with syntax highlighting and markdown preview, presentations, polls for scheduling, kanbans for project management, and whiteboards for collaborative illustration.

CryptPad is being actively developed by XWiki SAS and currently funded as part of the Open PAAS NG research project, funded by BPI France. For the last 14 years, XWiki SAS has been building Open Source Collaboration Software and providing professional services allowing organizations to better organize their information.

Our promise is that CryptPad cannot spy on its users and that your data is really your data.

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Why does it matter?

It is difficult for all of us to give up powerful Internet services and software which bring us great value, but at the same time, we do not like to see how our data is being used for advertisement, political means or malicious hacking. Today this NGI Award is showing that it is possible to get our privacy back while enjoying powerful and easy to use services. We built CryptPad to show how far a team can go to empower users and increase their expectation of privacy from online services. While it was previously accepted that collaborative editing meant sacrificing confidentiality, we’ve not only proven that private editing is possible, but we’ve made our entire platform open source to ensure that this technology remains available. 

Want to be a part of this movement?

  • Use CryptPad and other Zero Knowledge services every day, tell us what you like and what we can do better.
  • Talk to your friends and colleagues about Zero Knowledge, show them CryptPad and explain that this is what the cloud can be.
  • Candidate to XWiki SAS to join our team.

Show your support

  • Buy an upgraded account from Cryptpad.fr, run by the CryptPad development team, or contribute to our Open Collective.
  • If you install the Open Source code of CryptPad on your own servers, consider buying a support contract.
  • If you’re a web developer, think about Zero Knowledge for your next web app.

About the NGI Initiative and awards

NGI is Europe’s new approach to creating a more human-centric internet. It invites citizens and communities striving for values like openness, inclusivity, transparency, privacy, cooperation, and data protection to provide input, and thus to help to guide the European Next Generation Internet funding agenda. NGI is a European Commission initiative which is being implemented by project partners throughout Europe.

The overall mission of the Next Generation Internet initiative is to re-imagine and re-engineer the Internet for the third millennium and beyond. We envision the information age will be an era that brings out the best in all of us. We want to enable human potential, mobility, and creativity at the largest possible scale – while dealing responsibly with our natural resources. In order to preserve and expand the European way of life, we shape a value-centric, human and inclusive Internet for all.

Feb 08 2019

FOSDEM 2019 and the challenge to finance Open Source

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This article was first published on Ludovic Dubost's blog.

I'm coming back from FOSDEM and it has been again an amazing year. We have been super happy to be able to run a dev room about "Collaborative Information and Content Management Applications" which has been a success  (videos are available here). We also have been able to meet XWiki and CryptPad users and give out stickers (all of them are gone and we need to reorder some for our next events). I've been happy to see that the "privacy" subject becomes more and more understood and important to the users.

While I have not been able to attend of lot of talks, beyond the dev room, I've been able to watch the videos. I use the occasion to give KUDOS to the FOSDEM video team. Their video recording system is amazing and videos are getting online with checks from speakers in a record time.

XWiki & CryptPad Talks

I'll start by recommending my talks, as well as other XWikiers:

The Challenge to finance Free and Open Source

Now what I want most to talk about is the talks about Open Source financing and the state of Open Source, as I believe that Libre and Open Source Software is having some challenges that are from my point of view growing and related to the state of the whole software industry.

I'm very happy that there are more talks that bring the subject of financing on the table, as I believe we have too much ignored the "business" aspects as "Open Source" was taking over the world through mostly the first Open Source Professional companies, Software Services companies and Cloud providers.

However while the open code was spreading everywhere, we have not fully grasped where it was coming from and how it has been financed, and today as we see less VC investment in professional open source companies, as RedHat is being acquired by IBM, and as the leading Cloud Providers are eating the business of almost all the other actors and as most future business are being developed as Cloud Services, we are starting to see a fundamental change. 

Open code continues to grow of course, especially all the infrastructure and libraries which are mostly sponsored by the cloud or SaaS actors. However there are already tentions in this area as is shown by the debates about the SSPL/Commons clause licences. The talk by Michael Cheng (working as a lawyer at Facebook, talking on his own behalf) SSPL, Confluent License, CockroachDB License and the Commons Clause - Is it freedom to choose to be less free?  when into good detail about this. It was a very good talk. Now the one thing I believe it failed to talk about was about the future of infrastructure Open Source code given the change in the market forces. While I agree that changing the licence and creating licences that effectively are trying to recreate the "proprietary software model" is not a good thing for Open Source, on the other side, if it becomes impossible to build a significant infrastructure Open Source solution as a startup, investment in Open Source code will either reduce or be only coming from the big cloud and SaaS actors and we should not expect a high percentage of Open Source investment relative to the business of these cloud providers. In the end a massive challenge for Open Source is that it represents only a small fraction of the global technology investment in the world.

Another set of talks actually discussed about direct financing of libre and open source software. I'm really happy that these talks are getting more and more common and that new solutions are emerging to help finance the developers:

Next Generation Internet

First the Next Generation Internet initiative - Year Zero - Come work for the internet on privacy, trust, search & discovery by Michiel Leenaars from NLNet presented the European Community initiatives to finance the future of the internet and in particular Open Source Code, as 12 Millions Euros are being distributed in small project between 5k and 50k to help developed "Privacy Enhancing Technologies" and "Search & Discovery". We are candidating to these funds for CryptPad, and I'm a big fan of the approach of financing smaller size projects with public money versus the big projects with many partners. I believe France and BPI should take a similar approach to fund Open Source. 

Hackers gotta eat

Kohsuke Kawaguchi from Jenkins/Cloudbees had a great talk Hackers gotta eat, Building a Company Around an Open Source Project, which touched on the business models for Open Source and why running a company alongside a project is useful and what challenges there are. I believe we have similar experiences also at XWiki which we presented last year XWiki: a case study on managing corporate and community interests - 14 years of Open Source in a Small Co. and in 2013 in the talk Combining Open Source ethics with private interests

Something I also clearly believe in, is that by structuring a company it allows to raise the level of quality and offering that the Open Source software has. In our area there are tons of wiki softwares, but only the ones with a structure can really keep up.

Crowdfunding, bounties, sponsorship programs

There has been a few talks about new financing methods:

The second talk presents GitCoin a funding mechanism using blockchain for open source code. The third one shows a great Open Source sponsorship program at INDEED where 120 K$ will be directed towards open source projects based on what is being used and voted by those who contribute. The objective, which I support, is not only to bring money but also to foster participation from inside INDEED to the projects. It is indeed (no pun intended) important to not only fund the projects but also to increase participations from the users.

The first talk gave a very good overview of different ways and new methods, including OpenCollective, GitCoin, Tidelift.

I've stolen a few slides to show them here (I hope Tobie Langel will be ok with it) because it's really important to understand this:

This is what currently OpenCollective/Tidelift have collected/committed for Open Source code:

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and this is how it compared to the Trillion dollar technology industry developer wages:

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A very good question was asked at the end of the talk about wether there is a measurement of the direct company investment in Open Source, and nobody was able to answer. It could be estimated as:

  • How much R&D is being sponsored by Open Source companies

You could use the COSSC Index of commercial open source companies (http://OSS.Cash - Google Docs) , which evaluates the revenue of these companies to 16 Billions Euros / year. Discounting a bit this revenue to 10B$, because some of these companies are not necessarily investing the massive amount of their R&D to Open Source software, and considering a 10% R&D investment, this would mean about $1B Open Source R&D.

  • How much R&D is being sponsored by Cloud providers, SaaS companies or traditional companies

If we consider the whole rest of the software industry, in the presentation above, the total wages of the developers in the world has been estimated to around 1 Trillion dollars (this is the big tower in the image).

If we look at this data from GitHub which indicates that Microsoft has 1300 contributors to OSS and Google 900. Compared to the number of engineers at Microsoft (around 60000 according to this page) and Google (37% according to these numbers in 2014 which would mean 30000 based on the current number of employees), this would mean 2% and 3% knowing that of course we don't know much about the full time nature of these contributors. We could easily estimate less than 1% for these top companies, and this would probably be much less for the rest of the tech industry.

If we consider that maybe in the best scenario, 1% of the R&D is being directed towards Open Source contributions, that would mean 10 Billions $. We could also estimate around 0,1%, which would be another $1B Open Source R&D.

  • Volunteer Time

Now the good news for Free and Open Source code is that there is the volunteer time. A study from 2014 based on hours of commit indicates that 50% of commits would be during work time versus non work time. It is not easy to validate this data, and amounts of commits, do not necessarily mean quality code. Freelancers might contribute on Open Source code outside of their paid missions, during the day. Commits might be done at the end of the day with work from the whole day. Now it's undeniable that there is non-paid Open Source contributions and according to this study it is significant. If somebody has another study of the amount of "non-paid" code, this would be very interesting. 

However, if you consider these developers have a job during the day, you can consider that their "proprietary job" is sponsoring their "evening" open source contribution.

When taking this together, if we are taking the lower estimation, it would be $2B which means the truck in the image, and in the best case $10B which would be one level of the whole tower. If we add the volunteer time on top, this could mean 2 trucks or 2 levels. I would estimate that Open Source R&D funding it's more like the truck in the image, and it's currently coming about half from Open Source companies, and half from the rest of the industry contributing. 

What is sure right now, is that not only this is very small compared to the massive amount of energy directed towards proprietary software, but the "crowdfunding" is even more microscopic compared to the "corporate" funding. 

This is why I'm worried, because looking at the evolution, it seems that we risk having less "professional open source" contributions, if VC backed companies are using non-open source licences or backing off open source, or having the "corporate" contribution become highly dependent on a consolidating industry controlling all our tech lives. The biggest risk I see, is less "professional" projects to build "end-user" applications which require a lot of fine tuning to be competitive with the cloud solutions. I don't see the cloud and internet applications provider investing in anything else than infrastructure and libraries and keeping the application and the data for themselves.

The risk, and I believe it has already started, is while we had many open source applications working on our desktop or for enterprises, while we have all the infrastructure being open source, the applications on the cloud will be controlled by proprietary providers who won't share them. We might have a lot of Open Source in the backend, but the key service is itself a proprietary service that we cannot control.

The role of developing Free and Open Source software in the sense of the FSFE.org, will remain to Open Source companies and to the vast majority of volunteers who work with almost no or little funding.

The Cloud is just another Sun

This leads me to the final talk of this FOSDEM article, The Cloud is just another Sun from Kyle Rankin from Purism (great stuff by the way). Check it out entirely because it shows a great parallel between the "Cloud Wars" and the "Unix Wars". I'm reprinting again a few slides (I hope he won't mind).

It talks to me because I do have a feeling of "déjà-vu" when looking at our the big cloud providers are dominating everything. And we all look at it thinking it's Open Source while the key aspects are being made highly proprietary. 

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What can we do?

Educate

The key question is indeed what we can do about it. We need indeed to educate again on vendor lock-in and particularly of cloud services. In Europe we already do it also because none of these big providers is actually European. As users we need to resist more the big cloud services and we need to advocate again for "Open Cloud" services, which means services that are fully Open Source.

Education is key.

Choose stronger Licences

I believe we need also stronger licences like the AGPL which pushes cloud services to contribute to the Open Source cloud services and does not allow the to fork them as proprietary softwares. I will not advocate for the SSPL licence which is pushing the limit to all the infrastructure. However a legitimate questions is how can the Open Source providers compete with Cloud providers that would contribute only marginally and sell the cloud services. As an Open Source company, the same question is showing up between those that invest in Open Source software versus those that just reuse them for profit without contributing.

However this is not an easy subject, as the stronger licence might also reduce your distribution and turn away some contributors. It is a difficult balance to find in the same way that the balance between free distribution and paying one is a difficult one.

At XWiki we have chosen to have paying modules in our app-store which are fully Open Source, but not available through install for free in the app store. If you want to use them for "free", you will need to build them yourself and run you own app-store.

Value Open Source, not the Zero price

We all confuse Open Source and Free. By doing this we push individuals or companies that try to find a balance towards "Open-Core". In the open hardware world, this is less a problem as people are used to pay for a physical object, but in the software world, we want all for free. By providing more cloud services that are "Open Cloud" we can also have a revenue stream for the cloud service and still keep the software open.

For CryptPad, this is what we are doing and many "privacy" oriented software providers are doing it this way, because it makes sense to show the code when you promise security. Now there will be a challenge to see how these services can interconnect or wether they will start competing with each other.

Finance what is not financed

We need to continue to find ways to financed what is currently not financed. We can advocate to the public funding (European for example) to finance as Open Source what is missing. This is happening with the NGI Funds for example, and us as individuals we can help more end-user projects emerge. I will make here a shameless plug for the OpenCollective of CryptPad.fr which needs your help to provide a privacy centric collaboration platform.

Kudos to the FOSDEM organizers

  • 788 talks
  • 408 hours of content
  • 600 speakers
  • 65 stands

I have to say I'm particularly impressed by the video system and the ability to validate the video of a talk and publish it in record time.

Jan 25 2019

Be Ready for FOSDEM 2019

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This year begins with one of the best conferences about free and open source software - FOSDEM. During two days experts, enthusiasts, and volunteers from all around Europe gather and share their insights into topics related to Open Source.

Over the past FOSDEM editions, we noticed that even though the event hosts plenty of developer rooms dedicated to development or infrastructure solutions, there are very few devrooms dealing with use cases impacting both technical and non-technical individuals, such as knowledge or content management.

Therefore, we have managed to create and coordinate such a room. Here's an insight into the topics that will be tackled in the Collaborative Information and Content Management Applications Devroom:

1. A Private Cloud for Everyone

Jos Poortvliet will talk about why you should care about privacy and how Nextcloud builds a private alternative for your data.

Time: 15:00 - 15:20

2. Who Needs to Know? Private-by-design collaboration

Aaron MacSween will discuss about who must have access to your data by focusing on private-by-design collaboration and CryptPad. 

Time: 15:25 - 15:45

3. Tiki: Easy Setup of Wiki-Based Knowledge Management System

Jean-Marc Libs will talk about how you can use Tiki for building up a knowledge management system.

Time: 15:50 - 16:10

4. Displaying other Application Data into a Wiki...and other Integrations

Ludovic Dubost will be there to show you how to display other application data (such as Elastic Search, Matrix/RIOT, Nagios, Cacti, JIRA, Databases) into a Wiki.

Time: 16:15 - 16:35

5. LibreOffice Online - Hosting your Documents

Michael Meeks will discuss about how you can avoid giving your documents to a large proprietary company and yet enjoy powerful collaborative editing of documents.

Time: 16:40 - 17:00

6. XWiki: a Collaborative Apps Development Platform - Build applications incrementally on top of XWiki rather than coding them from scratch

Are you planning to develop a new application from scratch? Anca Luca will explain to you how to use XWiki's features so as to assemble them in a brand-new application.

Time: 17:05 - 17:25

7. Vishkar - a CMS for Structured Content

Raja Renga Bashyam will tackle the issue of creating structured contents in a modular way.

Time: 17:30 - 17:50

8. Memex: Collaborative Web-Research

Oliver Sauter will discuss about the (im)possibility of building the perfect knowledge management tool.

Time: 17:55 - 18:15

9. CubicWeb Linked Data Browser Extension

Nicolas Chauvat will present the Web Extension that makes your browser capable of handling RDF data so that you can surf the Semantic Web and choose how data is displayed and how you interact with it.

Time: 18:20 - 18:40

10. Document Redaction with LibreOffice

Muhammet Kara will talk about preventing leakage of sensitive information by redaction in collaborative environments.

Time: 18:45 - 19:00

Moreover, if topics like Legal & Policy Issues or Design pique your curiosity, you can join Cristina DeLisle and Ecaterina Moraru in their discussions. Cristina will explain how the data protection rights are enforced by the OSS model, by analyzing some of the technologies that have risen from this ecosystem (such as Wikis), while Ecaterina will get involved into an open discussion about the difficulties that might appear when more designers contribute to Open Source projects.

See you at FOSDEM! 

You can check the entire schedule here: https://fosdem.org/2019/schedule/.

Jan 10 2019

XWiki's 2018 in review

2018 has been both challenging and rewarding at XWiki, but overall, a very productive year for us. We participated in various events, developed our products and services, received two awards for our hard work, and took great care of our team spirit.

Here is a quick revision of XWikiers` journey:

Team work makes the dream work

1. Breaking records 

In February we received the biggest reward we could have received from you, our users: an incredible increase in XWiki installs and instances activity.

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2. Amazon uses XWiki for over 1 year

The internal Wiki platform for documentation and collaboration is being used by nearly 20 000 active users, mostly in engineering and product teams, as a collaborative knowledge sharing and documentation platform. 

3. XWiki receives Best Open and Ethic Business Award 

In December we were recognized as providers of ethic software and services for over 10 years.

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4. CryptPad receives NGI startup award

Europe’s Next Generation Internet initiative (NGI.eu) awarded CryptPad the Next Generation Internet’s Privacy and trust-enhanced technologies startup award. The NGI Startup Awards recognize Europe’s most disruptive entrepreneurs who are advancing revolutionary products, solutions and services destined to have a major impact on the internet of the future.

What is new in XWiki?

1. XWiki 10.x

The 10.x cycle is defined by having an improved usability for on-boarding new users and administrators: from protection against refactoring operations, to editing inline macro content, to more auto-suggests, to a faster user interface. We managed to have over 750 issues closed: 415 bugs, 160 improvements, 31 new features and more!

2. ONLYOFFICE online editors added to XWiki`s ecosystem

Users can perform all their editing tasks directly in XWiki without having to switch between the editor and their collaboration software anymore. Furthermore, multiple users can collaborate in real time and push changes directly to XWiki.

3. XWiki Cloud free for Open Source Projects

Open source projects requesting a cloud wiki, can host their wikis with XWiki SAS at the bronze level and receive regular updates.

4. GDPR compliance with XWiki`s cookies consent application

In light of the latest European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), our team created a Cookies Consent application to help XWiki users ensure compliance. It can be installed for free and customized in such a way that it matches each brand`s identity.

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XWiki at conferences

We've been more active than ever in the international conferences and meetings scene. Whether in France, Belgium, Romania or the United States of America, our team made sure we are well represented.

1. FOSDEM 

We participated with presentations in six different tracks, tackling various hot subjects: new features, compatibility and integration with other tools and services, lessons learned from deployments, surveys, research and development, legal issues, and Artificial Intelligence.

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2. Salon Intranet

Ludovic, our CEO, had 4 talks about collaboration and wiki culture. 

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3. OW2 Meetup

At the beginning of June, we hosted a user meetup within the OW2 conference. It was a great occasion to see and meet people from the corporate and Open Source world interested in the use cases of XWiki.

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4. Libre Software Meeting

Our participating XWikiers, Clément Aubin, Ludovic Dubost and Anca Luca discussed about building a customized knowledge base in minutes, tips and tricks to finance free software, CryptPad - the Zero Knowledge editor, and Open Food Facts.

5. Hackathon in San Francisco

Ludovic, Anca, and Clement held a presentation about CryptPad, our end-to-end encrypted real-time collaboration tool. Also, they took part in a hackathon on CryptPad and XWiki.

6. Cloud Expo  Europe

We met plenty of you at our stand and discussed about digital transformation problems linked to cloud and encrypted collaboration solutions.

7. Day Click

Our HR Team met potential candidates and shared our job openings and internship opportunities with them.

8. B-Boost Convention

Ludovic took part in the round table discussion on Open Source and free models. It was a great opportunity to exchange on security topics and CryptPad, too.

9. Capitol du Libre 2018 

Ludovic brought to discussion the topic of financing free and open source software and described how collaboration with end-to-end encryption is possible using CryptPad.

10. Paris Open Source Summit 2018

We presented during the following tracks: Increasing ethics in Digital, End-user Solutions for the Workplace, Open Source Community Summit and European Open Source Law Event.

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Team life

1. XWiki Seminar 

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Both teams from France and Romania had a great time together in Brasov. The theme chosen for this year was about the topic of “bears”, considering the mountain location. 

2. Breakfast @XWiki on International Week of Happiness at Work

Armed with smiley badges, colorful balloons and inspired by the emblematic "Breakfast at Tiffany's" theme, we organized an early breakfast in Iasi and Paris, at the same time.

3. Women in Tech

PIN Magazine published an article about how in XWiki (Iasi) women proved that they can work in IT and even outnumber their male colleagues.   

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How was your 2018?

Dec 13 2018

XWiki @Paris Open Source Summit 2018

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Our team of brave XWikiers did it again! We`ve represented XWiki and CryptPad at Paris Open Source Summit 2018, event that got to its 4th edition. Between the 5th & 6th of December, 5000 participants had the occasion to attend around 200 conferences and get in touch with the latest technological innovations.

Our colleagues tackled four main topics during the conference: XWiki Solutions, CryptPad, GDPR, and Open Food Facts. Moreover, as a token of all the hard work in the past 15 years, we received the “Best Open and Ethic Business” award.

XWiki Solutions

Ludovic, our CEO, conducted a track on End-user Solutions for the Workplace. Providers such as Bluemind, Maarch, XWiki, eXoPlatform, ElasticSearch, Tuleap, BonitaSoft, SpagoBI, and RocketChat offered an insight into their solutions for Collaboration, Chat, Big-Data or Document Management.

In the same track, Clément, our Account Manager, had a speech on how the open source XWiki software developed, and how companies like SCOR, SNCF, SFR, Naval Group, Fidelia, ARS Hauts de France benefit from XWiki SAS solutions. Find out more about this topic by reading his presentation:

CryptPad

During the Summit, Ludovic had two important roles: he was both a trackleader and a speaker. His intervention as a speaker was focused on CryptPad and the need of a new approach for collaboration services based on end-to-end  encryption and zero-knowledge of user`s data in cloud services. Take a closer look at his presentation:

Aaron, who is the CryptPad CTO and part of the XWiki Research Team, held a presentation called CryptPad, Encrypted Collaboration, tackling the same issue as Ludovic`s: providing both the highest security of user`s data and real-time collaboration. For further details, read his presentation:

GDPR

Cristina, our DPO, had an intervention on the implementation of GDPR in IT companies by bringing to participants` attention some epic fails and XWiki`s example of good practice on enforcement of data protection measures. Check out the entire presentation below:

Open Food Facts

If you joined the Co-producing a free database round-table, you might have met Anca, our Client Service CTO, who debated about the new concepts of Open Data.

To sum up our experience, we had a blast during these two days. Meeting new people, establishing new connections, and impacting the Open Source Community made us look forward to next year`s edition.

Anamaria Aniculăesei - XWiki Marketing Intern

Dec 11 2018

XWiki at Capitol du Libre 2018

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The past few weeks have been busy with multiple events we have attended - Capitole du Libre, Cloud Expo Europe Paris, Paris Open Source Summit - and our blog was on a brief hiatus. Worry not, as we are back with updates and some great news we are excited to share. 

Capitol du Libre is a weekend long event dedicated to free software that took place in Toulouse, France, between 17 & 18 November. It’s an event open to all audiences, with a wide variety of themes, activities and workshops. Ludovic, Anca and Clement attended it and tell us that it was a great experience and shared the experience of meeting so many open source aficionados.

If you didn’t make it, here’s a sneak peek of the talks of the event and, below, the talks Ludovic and Clement had.

We often hear that Open Source has won. Is this really the case? In this presentation, Ludovic showed that while Open-Source is now the code leader for many software, there is still software and services that are not available as free software, including many cloud services. Your data is always controlled by proprietary software and algorithms built on a large amount of open-source code. Why is this the case and what can the free and open source software community do to improve this situation? Find out how open business models and free software funding should evolve to enable more free and open source code in all areas.

Cloud services are increasingly used and your data is increasingly exposed. Even though cloud services "promise" to keep your data secure, you do not actually control what is put in place to keep your data and privacy secure. Many cloud services use your data to build advertising-based business models that read data and transfer it to advertising services. In this presentation, Ludovic demonstrated why a new approach is needed for collaboration software and services, based on end-to-end encryption and zero-knowledge by the cloud service. He showcased this approach implemented in the free project CryptPad.

When working in teams on a project, we often observe that people don't choose to use very collaborative solutions for their work. Documents get scattered across multiple folders or in emails, it gets hard to distinguish an old version of a document from a new one, and we miss the possibility to link documents between each others. Clement presented some of the most popular features proposed by XWiki to adapt the platform to company use cases and how XWiki can help any individual or team to build a knowledge base adapted to his needs. 

See you next year?

Nov 13 2018

Meet XWiki at events in France

This time of the year, XWiki is represented at multiple events organized in France.

We started with discussions on open source and free models at the B-Boost Convention, in Bordeaux, on the 7th of November. Then, on the 18th of November, Ludovic Dubost will hold two presentations at the Capitole du Libre, in Toulouse, an event dedicated to free software. Afterwards, on the 27th of November, the XWiki SAS HR team will meet candidates at the Day Click event, where we share our job openings and internship opportunities. In addition, you can meet a number of XWikiers at Cloud Expo Europe, in Paris, on the 27th and the 28th of November. Lastly, don't miss the opportunity to see our presentations at Paris Open Source Summit on the 5th and 6th of December. Read on for more details on each event.

Open source talks at B-Boost Convention

Ludovic Dubost, XWiki founder and CEO, was invited at B-Boost Convention, on the 7th of November, to take part in the round table discussion on open source and free models. It was also a great opportunity to exchange on security topics and CryptPad.

B-Boost is a business convention around free software and open source topics. This first edition revolved around the theme "Open Digital Transformation" adapted for different use cases "Agriculture, health, sustainable development, aeronautics and space, industries, DevOps...". It targeted executives and managers of digital companies, those responsible for the digital business strategy of traditional sectors facing digital transformation, developers, students and all amateurs or curious about free and open source.

Check the topics from the convention

Conference talks at Capitole du Libre

On the 18th of November, Ludovic Dubost is bringing to discussion the topic of financing free and open source software and then he will describe how collaboration with end-to-end encryption is possible using CryptPad.

The Capitole du Libre is an event dedicated to free software that has been held annually since 2009 at the ENSEEIHT, in Toulouse (Haute-Garonne).

View the event program

XWiki will be at the Day Click

On November 27th, at the Centquatre Paris, the XWiki HR team is meeting potential candidates between 8h30 and 12h00 about the current job openings and between 13h30 and 17h00 about the internship opportunities. Come and meet us during the job dating sessions.

See the job dating sessions

Meet XWiki at Cloud Expo Europe in Paris

Join XWiki at the largest business fair in France for cloud experts on the 27th and 28th of November. We will be there, at stand L30, ready to discuss digital transformation problems linked to cloud and encrypted collaboration solutions.

The Cloud Expo Europe Paris event is at a third edition, supporting companies for the challenges of tomorrow thanks to the largest meeting of cloud players in France, reserved for experts in digital transformation. 

Visit the cloud expo site

XWiki at Paris Open Source Summit

Our XWikiers will attend this year's edition of POSS as well, on the 5th and 6th of December. We'll present during the following tracks: Increasing ethics in Digital, End-user Solutions for the Workplace, Open Source Community Summit and European Open Source Law Event.

The Paris Open Source Summit is an event in Europe dedicated to open source, free software and open digital. International summit of conferences, business show and community gathering, OSS Paris sheds light on the role played by open source in the current and coming digital revolutions and on the Free ecosystem’s French players.

See the summit program