I’m leaving Osmorc

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After two years working on Osmorc, I’m leaving this project.

It’s been an exciting time. Especially at the beginning working on Osmorc was a very rewarding task. Finding out, how OSGi could work with IDEA and then seeing that it actually did work, was a great pleasure. And people actually used it. Though there was nearly no documentation people accepted the pain of working out for themselves how it worked. I have been in contact with some people spending time trying to move their projects from Eclipse to IDEA with Osmorc or starting a fresh project with Osmorc.

Jan came around in May 2008 and told me he wanted to be a part of it and that he wanted to develop an integration with Maven. I was amazed that someone was willing to put his spare time into a project of mine.

And suddenly it wasn’t some crazy idea I spent my evenings playing with. It actually was an open source project with two developers and some users who actually cared enough for it to contact its developers and write bug reports and feature suggestions for. That actually was a very strong driving force making me invest even more time into Osmorc.

Now two years are over. Osmorc is useful, but it isn’t finished. There’s a ton of more features to implement. It will probably never be finished since you can always come around with new features that enhance it even more. But if you look back over the two years since Osmorc’s inception, you will notice that the pace in the development has slowed down considerably. That’s because most of the basics are done, the low-hanging fruits are all picked as the saying goes. Bigger features need more time and as more people use it, more bugs are unveiled.

So I took some time off the project and took a look at it from the outside. I realized I wasn’t satisfied with my work on it anymore. I also realized that I would need to invest much more time into it to be proud of it and to be happy working on it again. Unfortunately I don’t see how I could do that without sacrificing other aspects of my life that are dear to me even more than I already did. So since I cannot put enough time into the project, I decided to leave it completely. Better not to work on it than to do it in a way that is unsatisfactory for me and probably also for its users.

Jan intends to keep on developing Osmorc and I wish him the best luck.

I think the biggest mistake in this project was that we didn’t actively try to get more developers into it. When you have 5 developers collaborating on a project like that, you can distribute the development of new features, bug fixing and writing of documentation among them. Then a project like this can move at a reasonable pace, there’s always some progress visible and the developers keep motivating each other because each of them sees that the project grows.

So I hope that some people will join Jan in his effort to keep Osmorc alive.