Wednesday, February 6, 2002

The original Social Source Software concept (CTSoft)

Welcome to the home page for the CTSoft concept. I need your help to define and articulate a concept that has been developing in my mind over the past year.

In 2000, I left Eastmont Computing Center to become the Senior Product Manager at digiGroups, leading our effort to build online collaboration software for Fortune 50 companies. With $12 million from Accel and other venture capitalists, it became clear that building enterprise quality applications is not rocket science.

At Eastmont we did a lot of begging to get the software we needed. In fact, we shelved a number of online neighborhood organizing projects because we could not find affordable software (we weren't even looking for free software, just affordable).

What if we had the software we needed? What if it met many of our key needs? With an open-source platform delivering web applications with 80% of the functionality we need, we would have embraced it, deployed it and used the software to create outcomes.

This led me to an effort to figure out whether open-source, community technology software development is something that I can make a contribution in. To decide that, I have some questions:

1) Was Eastmont unique, or is this story replicated across the CTCNet membership, the AFCN membership, the Neighborhood Networks Sites, the Department of Education CTC sites & others?

2) Can a critical mass of open source users be created to generate the cash required to continue to build & extend the software platform and applications?

3) What applications are needed? What applications can be funded?

4) If we build it, they will not necessarily come. How do we support the level of deployment, adoption and use that is required to achieve the benefits of open source software communities?

5) Last a personal question: Is there enough interest, traction and commitment to the concept? Is there a team, a community and a shared vision? When is it time to consider quitting my job and join a team and a broader community to make it happen?