In recent days, the topic of a market place for TYPO3 has been discussed on Forge and Facebook. A market place was briefly touched upon in the scenario-paper concerning the future of the TYPO3 Association. I now see that many people can't really imagine what a market place could look like and rightly fear that TYPO3 might not be available as FOSS in the future. I choose this opportunity to present my personal view outlining a possible market place.
I view the concept of the market place in the best sense of the word. In principle, this should be a (digital) place where supply and demand meet. This is deliberately not limited to extensions but basically all offers and requests can be dealt with here. These deals must not necessarily be compensated by money. Rather, it should be the choice of the provider whether an item needs to be purchased or not. Nevertheless, it should be possible for interested parties to have access to offers free of charge. That is the theory. What about the practical implications? In my opinion the market place should cover the following areas:
The much debated topic at the moment. For me, two different types of extensions should exist in the future. The first concerns extensions as we now know them; freely available, of varying quality and documentation. But then there should also be extensions that are “approved” by the TYPO3 Association. The T3A ensures that the documentation is sufficient, that the quality is good, etc. Providers who want to develop such extensions (or extension framesets), must meet a set of conditions and can then require an annual support fee for further maintenance of those extensions. The fee for the extension can be freely selected by the provider, the Association will take approximately 30 percent of revenue for its services. A portion of this money is used for quality assurance and operation of the market place, the remainder flows into the Association coffers and is spent for additional support of TYPO3. Such a system has the following advantages:
Another interesting field is TYPO3 jobs. It is definitely to the advantage of the TYPO3 community that those seeking jobs and those offering them find each other as quickly as possible (btw, not just dev jobs). Again, it should be possible to post ads free of charge. It should also be possible to create certain ads so that the vacancies are featured more prominently. These would the cost an appropriate amount. If agencies are to spend money for jobs, then at the TYPO3 Association. This money would then also benefit TYPO3.
My views regarding crowdfunding are similar. We should provide appropriate functionality that allows TYPO3 community members to finance various TYPO3 projects (or e.g. extensions, as well) through crowdfunding. The TYPO3 Association would require customary fees, which are then also invested in the TYPO3 project.
Many freelancers as well as small and medium-sized agencies work almost exclusively for other TYPO3 agencies. They receive these orders to increase know-how in this area or to handle load peaks. It is conceivable that the TYPO3 Association could provide an area where specific requests and offers can be brought together. Whether a financial component could also come into play here is something I can't say at the moment. It is clear, however, that it should be as easy as possible for all those interested in TYPO3 agencies to get professional support. By this I mean primarily not necessarily the “TYPO3 agencies” but Internet agencies that are requested by customers to implement a project with TYPO3. It can only help the TYPO3 community if more people and companies are involved in TYPO3.
Theming is especially interesting for small projects. I personally am not a fan of “TYPO3 Themes”, because I think that, in this case, the positioning of the products moves toward small projects (such as, for example, WP is impressively demonstrating). Nevertheless, I must acknowledge that it would probably make sense for many people in the community. In addition, there would probably soon be TYPO3 versions of the successfully established WP/Drupal/Joomla themes, which would in turn open more doors for our systems.
I like what is currently being pursued in the area of education and I can well imagine that the different programs, whether they now come from the Association or out of the private sector, can be offered and managed by the market place.
There are no limits to additional ideas. I think it's always interesting to use the market place if following things can be achieved:
I think there are many reasons. One important reason is that I think a lot more needs to be shared, particularly regarding code; and I think that initially it doesn't matter whether it's paid or not – the main thing is that it happens.
I have been able to observe various agencies in recent years and I think it is not apparent to many of them how much good functionality is not shared. The vast number of agencies uses only a fraction of the extensions available in the TER, simply because the extensions are not sufficiently implemented and/or too little universally applicable and therefore must be a profoundly reengineered before they can be implemented in a project. Many developers justifiably say, “so what”; then we will rebuild this functionality tailored exactly to the customer. Every year, hundreds of new extensions are thus developed, which never see the TER and to some degree do exactly the same thing. A resource madness on the technical side that really has nothing to do with “Inspire to share”.
For those that fear that the ideological roots of TYPO3 are put into question, I can only say that I understand your concerns. On the other hand, I marvel a bit that we should think our culture is in serious danger just because we would simply change a business model. A business model can never be culture and vice versa. Especially an ideological culture can be retained over decades, but not a business model. We would do well not to confuse one with the other, because the environment is not the same as in 2002 and open source is no longer what it once was.
For me the other main reason to have a market place is that we simply need to find an additional revenue stream for the TYPO3 Association. It is sad: In an ecosystem that generates some 400 million Euros, only 700,000 Euros find their way into the annual budget of the Association. There may be many reasons for this – and they are likely quite justified. However, if we want to be successful with our products in the market, we just have to invest more resources into marketing, events and product improvements (code and non-code).
I would like once again to briefly clarify that the ideas above represent my personal opinion. I was very much involved in the strategy process and will, should a change scenario be adopted at the GA, likely help in the preparation. I will probably no longer be involved in the execution.