joomla peopleIt’s no surprise to anyone that Joomla has a commanding hold on the marketplace. It has a robust, multi-platform ecosystem of hosting companies, consultants, developers and other ancillary support resources for those who develop websites on Joomla. Since 2005, Joomla has gone forwards 3 major versions, added support for Responsive Web Design, spawned thousands of extensions and with the forthcoming native support of structured data, remains ahead of its time.

But Joomla started out as a fork of Mambo, a previously open-source (and now mostly-dead) Content Management System (CMS). A short read through of the history behind this fork can send chills down any developer’s spine. Could the same thing happen to Joomla, and if so, what happens then? The questions which arise do not have much to do with Joomla as a technical achievement, and everything to do with Joomla as a product supported by fallible human beings. So, let’s take a look at who’s behind Joomla, and whether you need to worry about its future.

In the real world, Joomla can be considered to be represented by two groups of people; its administrators, and its programmers. Joomla’s Leadership Team together is made up of both administrators and programmers, and they work closely together to ensure that the spirit of Joomla is carried out both in its daily operations, as well as in its project development.

The day-to-day administration of Joomla (and its assets) is handled by a non-profit organisation incorporated in the USA called Open Source Matters (OSM). Amongst other things, the volunteers in OSM largely handle the financial aspects (keeping Joomla well-funded and paying the bills), legal issues (sign contracts & other legal documentation, watch out for copyright/trademark infringements) and regulatory affairs (a matter of internal corporate governance). Oh, and they maintain Joomla’s various assets (such as the Internet domains). Most of the OSM Board also contribute to Joomla in other ways.

Joomla’s core programmers, on the other hand, concentrate on the software development and user experience aspects of the Joomla platform. These, too, are volunteers, and functionally separated into 2 groups; the Production Working Group (which handles code, language and documentation) and the Community Working Group (which handles the people populating the Joomla ecosystem and the communications between these various stakeholders with Joomla). Each working group has its own specialised teams specifically in charge of various key aspects of their responsibilities (e.g. Production has the Joomla Bug Squad, which identifies and fixes Joomla bugs, while Community has the Joomla User Groups Team, which supports the various Joomla User Groups).

When Joomla was initially set up, its key personnel came from Mambo, and their intention was to ensure that Joomla would not have to face the same issues that Mambo did. Hence, they spent a great deal of time crafting their mission and vision statements, as well as determine the necessary processes by which OSM remains accountable to what Joomla stands for, and true to its values.

But why only take them at their word? As the saying goes, trust… but verify. Hold them accountable for whatever they say, and make sure that they carry out their intentions in what they do. Open source does matter, and by keeping a close eye on them, you do your part in ensuring that Joomla will remain a premier open source CMS of choice for the foreseeable future to come.

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