In the recent months, I attended all of the main trade fairs of the e-commerce industry in Germany and France:
- dmexco (Digital Marketing Exposition & Conference) in Cologne
- Salon E-Commerce in Paris
- MOW (Mail Order World) in Wiesbaden
I joined the OXID eSales crew at our booths and I would like to share my very personal take aways of the events with you.
Don’t just ask me what the software can do for you – also ask what you can do for the software
A main part of my job as the Community Guide at OXID eSales is to help spreading the word about OXID eShop and to ultimately help grow the open-source community. Thus, I am very happy to talk to booth visitors and agencies interested in our product range and the community. In particular, I enjoyed a lot of very interesting conversations to folks who knew what open source software is about; people who came up with really good ideas, being excited about new challenges to enhance OXID eShop and committed to sharing some very interesting extensions.
Yet, there have been visitors at the booth who made me feel cheap because they were just interested in free as in free beer. I could smell their greed and selfishness. In such cases, I will kindly ask you to download, install and check for yourself. Also, I will not walk you through all the implemented features and I will not help you find modules available for no or very low cost.
If you want e-commerce software at no cost and don’t want to get involved in an open-source community at all, that’s perfectly legit, but don’t waste my time. If, on the other hand, you ask questions on our forums, I and other community members would be happy to help, because the answer to your question will help others.
To make a long story short: Free riders are welcome as long as they don’t waste the time of those in our community who want to build something together.
There are many ways how to contribute: Your translation to another language is as welcome as bug reports, module and core contributions. Even with the purchase of a commercial license you foster the development of our open-source edition.
What does open source development mean for a product also sold under a commercial license?
At the booths, I often got asked about how the OXID eShop open-source community influences development of the Professional and Enterprise Edition.
The short answer is: The community would kick our ass if we developed and communicated badly – and it did so in the past.
By going open source in 2008, we deliberately self-imposed community pressure upon OXID eSales. Since then, the community influences our product development.
For example: Instead of hiding security issues, we are forced to fix those issues in a short time, in fact until another developer will come up with the problem. On the communications side, we inform solution partners and support contract owners beforehand by distributing a private security bulletin to them, given that they still need some time to implement the fix we provide, before we make the bulletin publicly available.
Dear potential partners, get to grips with your channel concept
I have also been approached by potential partner companies at the three events. Most of them would like to join for just one reason: to have us forward leads to them. Of course, this is totally fine from a business perspective and OXID eSales is happy to negotiate such agreements. Yet, such a one-sided approach neglects the benefits of the open-source community for our partners.
So, at the booths, I always advised potential partners to consider how they can tap into the OXID eShop community or related open-source communities to promote their products or services. For example, the payment providers we partner with have developed interfaces or modules for connecting OXID eShop with their infrastructure. That way, they provide something useful to the OXID eShop or related communities and get word-of-mouth marketing going.