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Lessons learned from open source Xara's failure

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on October 14, 2007 08:03 PM
Whilst the article is partly right, it seems to me unbalanced in its assessment of the product. Who, if anyone did they interview, I wonder?

Yes, lots of developers were no doubt put off by the non-open-source CDraw, and that was Xara's "fault"; they probably should have realized that it was better to do an "all or nothing". Equally a lot of developers were probably put off by the size of the project (see above comment) and perceptions of how difficult it would be to understand the code. However there were volunteer developers working on it, and whilst they and Xara were working on it, volunteer code contributions probably exceeded Xara code contributions. I don't think the mailing list was particularly unfriendly, a quick flick through the archives suggests rather the opposite. Every (active) mailing list has not only the odd unfriendly comment, but the odd flame war - I didn't find any flame wars.

I think the obvious thing that the journo missed is Xara recently got bought by Magix. Xara's attention to the project seemed to die off about 6 months or so before this happened. Company purchases take about 6 months to complete. I think the announcement to the mailing list from the previous owner said something to the effect of "we will have to see what Magix's attitude to open source will be". It doesn't take a genius to work out out least one factor in what happened here.


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