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

Olivier JAN ojan at gfi.fr
Tue Feb 23 09:47:32 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 free!!

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  

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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