[Nagios-devel] The nagios community wants to keep its open soul

Olivier JAN ojan at gfi.fr
Tue Feb 23 09:35:44 UTC 2010

It's an alarm call that is raised : after a long period where people  
began to think nagios is a dead foss project, we nearly reach a point  
of no return : the author try to gag on the community because it's to  

Let's get back to the facts : Nagios is still the reference in the  
open source monitoring tools, and some serious challengers like Zabbix  
or Zenoss try to reach its place. In the open source world, and  
especially the monitoring one, the real strength is not in code lines,  
but in the community around the project. You know the Nagios one has  
been a great one during years. Meanwhile, since two years, the lack of  
presence and answer from Ethan to proposals from the community  
legitimately irritate the community. As much as a fork, named Icinga,  
arisen a year ago.

Where the story became complex is when we look at the economic sphere  
around Nagios. Like a lot of foss that grow a lot, and after have  
given more than 8 years of it's time to Nagios, he legitimately create  
a support enterprise behind it, "Nagios Enterprise". The Icinga fork  
came from community members that are also employees of another society  
that supports Nagios : Netways. If the GPLv2 license of Nagios was  
respected, it seems more like a business fork than a foss one for the  
nagios author. That had irritate Nagios author and the major part of  
the community have stay in the Nagios project.

Unfortunately, this story have a side effect : we are thinking Ethan  
began to turn against the community, and this open spirit that allow  
this fork, by ignore even more the community and refuse to answer to  
code enhancement proposals.
Last but not least affront : he ask the DNS entry of the French nagios  
community site (http://www.nagios-fr.org) to be give to him so he can  
raised a new community, more corporate : in this site we can see some  
posts about the felon (but open source and nagios relative) Icinga  
project! This fork seem to have finally more cut Ethan author and the  
community than the community into two parts.

That's the last straw for a community who want to be as free as foss  
it supports. In Open Source, we have "free as in beer" but also "free  
as in speech". I, as the leader of the French community, and with the  
support of community members, answer him that it will be be tolerated  
to be dictate laws about what the community can speak about. To do not  
risk an hypothetical sue from Nagios Enterprise (for trademark  
protection), we have decided to migrate the site to monitoring-fr.org  
and to gave the nagios-fr.org site to Nagios enterprise when the  
migration will be finished.

With this open letter entitle "The nagios community wants to keep its  
open soul", the community ask where the project is going and if it  
will still be open and ethically respectful of the open source spirit.  
Some question raised about the real open aspect of the Nagios future  
by freezing the current open source part and put it into a close  
solution (Nagios XI, close application based on Nagios, soon available  
from Nagios Enterprise) that seem to be the only part that will evolve  
in the future. The community also ask how it's seen in the Nagios  
project, if it still have is its place into it and if it must hold its  
tongue about what is not "corporate" for Nagios Enterprise.

The community want to help on the industrialization and support of  
Nagios by free software business, but still want to keep its soul. The  
community wish Nagios keep it's first rank, that was give to it by the  
community, and the project came back to "the old good time" when foss  
developers and people who just want to help had yet their words to say  
against marketing communication.

We wish this open letter will not be a dead letter, because this will  
finish to dig the gap between the author and its community, that  
represent a major part of the project's power, and will not finish by  
a fork that will divided again the community, and will add another  
taboo name in all sites that speak about Nagios.

Signed by:
*The French community
*Olivier Jan, writer of a french book bout Nagios, and leader of the  
french community
*Gabes Jean, writer of another french book about Nagios
*Gerhard Lausser, writer of a german book about Nagios

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