This week we interview Tomas Gerulaitis who signed the original letter for the Mage Open Source Alliance.

Brent and Tomas talk MOSCA

Transcript

Welcome to this special Mosca episode of talk commerce today have Tomas Gerulaitis. Thomas, why don’t you introduce yourself? Tell us what you do. And maybe one of your passions in life. I’m Thomas Gerulaitis. I’m the Magento practice lead at a little company called space 48. I’ve been working with Magento.

Close to 10 years now. And I guess so passion. So that’s a difficult question. Other than, clean code, which I am partial to I guess motorcycles, And are you in the UK? Are you living in the UK or are you yeah, Europe? Yes, I’m in the UK.

I’m in Bath, a little town called Bo. Great. I’ve been to bath I or Boff as you say it. Yeah, it’s a beautiful city. I didn’t, I took a shower while I was there, but I think that’s okay. I’ve been there a couple of times, but anyways so great to have you today. This is going to be a. A little bonus segment on, how the Magento community alliances or the major open source community Alliance is coming together and how it’s sparking some fire in our community.

I, particularly reached out to you because you are one of the signers of the original letter. So I wanted to talk about that. Maybe dive into some of the deeper issues. And I know that the big issue that people are talking about is forking let’s fork it or not. But I think the, what the underlying thing is, just some transparency from Adobe on how that should work.

So maybe getting your feedback and opinion on that would be good. Yeah. Yeah, of course. the name is still in progress. Yeah. We’ve debated it entirely. I don’t know if it’s if I’m divulging too much, but we’ve debated it internally for quite a while and especially using Magento in the Dame.

But yeah we’ll, make sure to, come up with something as catchy, as Moscow, as soon as we can. And do you feel as though right now is a good time to do a fork? Or do you think this letter is meant to light some fire or, wake up some people at at Adobe? I think it’s a bit of both certainly bringing the issue to light and be bringing an issue to the forefront of the community.

That was one of the goals. But also I think like action needs to happen. And as soon as it happens that the sooner it happens the better. And, whether it’s creating a fork right now, which we’re in the process of or. Like studying some other action or for example, the Magento association taskforce that was started up or the sign up.

So have been started up a couple of weeks ago. I think we need to do something immediately to reassure the merchants in the space that magenta isn’t going away. Because I think, especially after the Adobe summit earlier in the year, we’ve heard some talks that we heard some, big plans that Adobe has for Adobe comments that got a lot of people worried.

A lot of people from the developers seen people who’ve been working at magenta for, 10 or more years. But merchants as well. We’ve seen a number of people moving away from. From the community and, from the platform partly because of the uncertain future, of Magento, not necessarily Adobe commerce specifically because that’s becoming a separate product and it’s quite clear that’s happening, but Magento as well.

And that’s the main reason why this came around and it’s preparing for the future, making sure that. That the clients that we’re supporting right now and the potential clients in the future, they’re still around. Yeah. And I think we’re talking about three players right now. The first would be Mosca or major open source community Alliance.

The second would be the Magento association and then the third would be Adobe. Right now, Adobe holds the control and I would agree that they have done a very poor job of communicating to the open-source community. And they haven’t really looked at the fact that the majority of the installs of Magento two are on open source.

I think they’re only looking towards, or looking at Adobe commerce, the. The outward things that they say are that that the magenta open-source is, not going to change. Nothing is changing in it. There, there should be more assurance or reassurance that the open-source Magento will stay around.

And and that the open source is still going to be the underpinning of the main commerce platform. Yeah. Yeah. I agree with that. I think it’s in a way it’s easy to say that they’re committed to open source, but we know that like Adobe is a business and their revenues and coming from supporting Magento open source, it’s coming from Adobe commerce.

I think that’s why it would be good to see some actions. He said something backing those words. But hopefully, that’s to come. Yeah. I think this is our second time around that we have seen a purchaser not, understand. I’m just going to use the word, not understand because I don’t feel as they understand where like this th this huge base is a great, place to get new users on.

Onto the commerce platform. And I feel as though that they’re alienating the open source platform in, favor of a very, small install base on the paid version and that if they would take a more open stance that they would open up the amount of users they could potentially have on their paid version.

Yes. Yeah. So this field like put, been around. So for people who’ve been in the community for a while, we’ve had these discussions in the past. It’s not the first time that this has happened. Yeah, I know that Tom Roberts jaw and I were privy enough or we’re lucky enough to be in the original E-bay re insurgents or re-invigoration of the community in 20, I think it was 2015 or 2014 where they took us all out to drive race cars that in Las Vegas.

So I’m hoping that my podcasts don’t preclude me from. I’m hoping they don’t preclude me from the next race car driving event in Las Vegas. But I do feel as though that we shouldn’t wait two or three years for that to happen this time either at the last time it happened it took us quite a long time to wake up and figure out that this, our open source community is, quite important in what we’re trying to do here.

So the Magento Association is another part of the puzzle. What is your view on how they’re helping or hurting or just, what is your view on the association right now? Yeah. We’ve that they, the letter that came out to the wider Magento community, that wasn’t our first communication.

We spoke to the Magento association first cause from the discussions with, the initial people in the group in the airlines that talks about it very much about treating this as a proper open source. Association opensource kind of project. It, then I brought typo three as a very good example of open the project that’s working really well.
And it’s evolving the platform and is useful for everyone involved. But in discussing that we’ve realized that this is what the magenta association was supposed to do. For Magento it was a project to support the open-source development, to empower developers, to contribute to the community, and to evolve the platform.

But I feel like personally, I’ve it wasn’t announced. And then I’ve not heard a lot about it since. And that’s one of the problems that we’ve identified and, why. We’ve been so open so, vocal and so quick to, start these discussions is because we feel like we need to act now. Something has to happen and it’s just been slow.

So far. Yeah, I think that there has been quite a vacancy. I’ll use the word vacancy and communications from the Magento association. I know that they’ve continually said some of the problems are around the logo and using the name, but I don’t think that is a reason why we shouldn’t at least have communication.

I think you’ve, hit you’ve. You’ve said it that if they were, to just communicate what they are doing and even better communicating what they can’t be doing or aren’t doing or We, don’t have to get the details. I think people just want to know what’s happening. And the, I think the major open-source Alliance community Alliance initiative is, the response to that.

And the fact that, Hey, we’re not going to wait lot around forever. It’s been, it really has been two years. Exactly. And, I think there, the intent could be here behind this Alliance. Isn’t to be hostile to. Like shame anyone it’s we’re very passionate about Magento. We want to see the platform continue and succeed.

And we’re just trying to find the best way of doing that. And yeah we’re still in talks with the magenta association. I know a number of the original members have signed up to be part of the open-source task force. And we’re still communicating with Magento association and with Adobe.

We’re trying to find the best way to proceed with this. Yeah. I feel as though the association is, tiptoeing around things and they’re worried that they’re going to upset somebody and. I, this is something that has to, happen and, is I think it’s long overdue. I applaud you in that.

I think just one thing that ghetto had mentioned to me ghetto Jensen had mentioned to me is why did I sign it when I’m not a big proponent of forking, but I am a proponent of putting pressure on those who need to do something. And I think the ultimate, if it’s going to be forked or not forked, whether that’s in the letter or not.

Okay, let me just back up. I believe if nothing ever, if nothing happens, it’s going to have to get for it. I, do believe that’s going to live on just like Magento one continues to live on. Even though we get threats that our, sorry, our stores will get shut down because we’re not PC, whatever the reason.

But it continues to live on and and, works. This pressure that’s being put on is important. And the reason I signed the letter is because I believe that we need to make this change now. And without this community vocalization, it was, it would never happen. We would, I think that Adobe would continue its path of doing what it wanted to do.

And Magento association would continue to sit on the sidelines and not doing anything. This is something that had to happen. And I agree, I think yes, there’s a lot of controversy around the fork in particular, but I think the it’s, the tools that we have right now. It’s, all the control that we have right now is because Magento is open source and is licensed for open source.

All we can do right now, if nothing changes we’ll fork it well maintain it. We’ll keep it going on. But that isn’t saying that we’re taking Magento as it is right now and starting a new project. That’s completely different. It’s going to compete in a diverse, that’s not the plan. The plan is just to keep it going.

And that’s the way that we, can right now. So when, you so one last thing on this topic And we’re, going to try to make the short today is just the amount of inclusion. I think that some of us didn’t know about the letter and I think some of us in the Western hemisphere or the U S or even India, weren’t quite aware of what was happening.

And I think that there has been a lot of criticism about making sure that it is an inclusive community and not an exclusive community. And on the same side, I understand that we all have to make decisions and those decisions will go faster when the fear there’s fewer people involved. From the major open source community Alliance.

[00:14:46] How do you see more people becoming involved and then having a voice in that? So that’s, one of the big questions that we’re trying to work out with. There’s a way to allow more people to contribute while still keeping the pace of things that we’re doing. Because I fully agree with that.

Having a consensus from a large group is, great, but it makes things slow. So, far it’s been a small group of people trying to do. The issue to the front of the community to, get something started, but we’re working right now on, on getting people, accessing them, getting people involved in those discussions and whatever happens in the future.

It’s all like we’re trying to be as open and as public as we can. And do you see then future workflows would be a fork and then. Fixes happening on the fork. And then those fixes getting rolled back into the main Adobe commerce version or the, other fork of magenta open source. I think it gets very complicated, especially one of the biggest complaints from developers is they put in a, they put in a pull request on an issue happening inside of Adobe or inside of Magento and it never gets answered.

And then it gets auto closed. So I think that’s where kind of awkwardness as a means as well. It’s and I think partly it’s because currently there’s, not a lot of there’s not a lot of benefit in investing your time and maintaining magenta, open source and people who do that.

A lot of them, they’re not being paid to do that. A passion project, a side project for them. And I think that’s where kind of a defined open source program would, help actually make making sure that the people available whose job is to go through these full requests and, answer questions and make sure that the product is moving along.

Yeah. What are the ideas behind the folk? And I’m not saying that it’s going to be easy. I think that’s one of the personally to what are the sort of criticisms that I’ve seen that I, didn’t particularly appreciate is everyone saying, oh, 14 is hard. Therefore this is going to fail. W we’re not saying that it’s going to be easy.

We’re not saying that we’re just going to create a new repository with the Magento COVID as this right now. And everything’s going to be sunshine and rainbows and it’s, it is going to be a lot of effort. But I think we’ve got people who are very passionate about this and who are very invested in this to, to put that effort in and get, it over the line.

Good. All right. So last question, before we close out, who would you like to hear from at Adobe in order to see things moving, not solve things, but what sort of messaging would you like to see from Adobe and who is it that you would like to hear from, at Adobe? I think passionately.

I don’t know if I can identify a specific person that messaging needs to come from, but I think I would like to see the Magento association get more control over Magento. I would like to see them become in a sense owners of the Magento open source. Because again, one of the one of the.

Restrictions and roadblocks that we’ve seen so far, it always comes down to the intellectual property, the name, the license and that in my view, that should all be a solved problem. We’ve got Magento association, they’re already an approved organization by Adobe. I would like to see them get a lot more control over Magento so that the community.

Can continue investing into the platform without the fear of it going away in a week, a month, a year, however long it takes. And what about Magento community engineering? Do you think that they’ve just been sidelined and we don’t hear from them anymore? I must admit I’ve not been an active part of the Magento community engineering for a while.

Yes. It’s whether it’s by, nature of the platform being targeted more towards bigger clients, bigger big industries. Or if it’s just the interest is waiting because of the slow response. I think, yeah, the community engineering has been a, not really a player in the space. Like, you said, there’s currently three big players and community engineering is one.

Yeah. Realistically community engineering should be driving that close rate on PRS and at least reviewing them and getting back to people. And I’ve heard from multiple people that one of the issues around the open source is that, or is that the PRS aren’t getting closed? And it just correct me if I’m wrong.

You don’t, if there’s a bug in the source code of Magento, it doesn’t really matter if it’s open source or, if it’s Adobe commerce, the core code. It’s the same right now. There’s no fork between open source and Adobe commerce. It’s the same code. So I don’t understand why they would treat the open source any differently.

But anyways, that’s that’s just another issue and another, topic at hand for the future. Thomas I, thank you today. If there was a small little tidbit, you could help merchants feel good about staying on Magento two. What would that be? I think all you need to look at is the passion we’ve had in the last couple of weeks in response to the letter.

Whether it’s people supporting it or people. Criticizing it or and, providing feedback. I think you can see how invested people are in Magento and platforms like this. Don’t disappear. Look at magenta one it’s still around. But gender is not going away anytime. Yeah that’s, great advice.

And and, well said words for anybody out there that is still, or that night it’s still on magenta. Two waiting to go to Magento three. No, that was a joke. Good. One last little thing I always do on, the podcast as they give you a chance to do a shameless plug about anything you’d anything you’d like to plug today.

I’m not sure if I have anything. I’m pretending. Yeah, I usually prep people, but anything it doesn’t have to be business. It could be personal charity. I guess charity I’m supporting mind charity in the UK. It’s supporting people with mental illnesses, mental problems. So please do any.

Excellent. Thank you very much. Thomas it was, it’s been great having you today. I know it was short notice and I appreciate you putting some words out there to help us understand the quick nature of what’s happening in our Magento community today. So thank you very much.

[00:23:05] Thank you.

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