Interview with Peter Lamont
Written by Ric Shreves   

 This is the final installment in the series of interviews with key members of the Mambo Team. These interviews were conducted in the course of my research for the Everybody Mambo! article (published elsewhere on this site).

Last week I published on this site the interview with Andrew Eddie, the Director of the Mambo Project Team. The week before it was Brian Teeman, the leader of Mambo's PR efforts.

This week, I present the interview with Peter Lamont, the CEO of Miro. Peter provides insights into the recent changes in the relationship between Mambo and Miro and helps explain the business logic behind Miro's Open Source business model.

Thanks Peter!


Your name, please (to make sure I get the spelling right!)
Peter Lamont

For whom do you work?
Miro International Pty Ltd What's your title ? CEO

What’s your involvement with Mambo?
Miro is the copyright and trademark owner and also owns, and a number of other Mambo related internet properties.

Concerning Development Team Organization and Process…

How is the team organized?
There are 2 dedicated resources at Miro, with another 5 shared resources. We expect that to double over the next couple of months. The Mambo steering committee (MSC) has two members for the core development team and two from Miro. The MSC is the important communication conduit between the community and Miro.

What is the relationship between Mambo and it’s parent commercial CMS?
Miro developed Mambo as a simple CMS in 2000 and released a version of it as open source several months later in order to involve the public in testing and refining the system. After a year we appointed Robert Castley to take over day-to-day project direction. At that time both Mambos were identical, however over time the open source system was added to as the community grew. In 2002 Robert stepped down briefly as director of the project and we re-wrote a lot of Mambo open source, fixing up many small bugs and usability issues. We released it again and shortly after, re-wrote the entire of the commercial version of Mambo and called it Mambo CMS. At that point Mambo open source was still almost entirely our original code-base. As the community got more involved, Mambo open source changed and while it still has a lot of our original ideas and code, it is substantially a different product.

Mambo & Miro What was behind the Miro decision to designate Mambo GPL?
I felt that the GPL was the most appropriate license that would allow collaboration and growth for Mambo.

When did that occur?

What’s the story behind Mambo now returning to the Miro fold? How did this decision come about?
Miro has always been involved in Mambo in one way or another, financially supporting it and often defending its honour against less scrupulous folks.

What exactly does this mean to the Mambo development team? To users?
In one sense it means more of the same. Continued financial and management support means a more stable project. One less likely to fall apart due to internal squabbles and one that is more robust. In the bigger picture it’s a chance for Mambo to gain a truly professional footing as an open source project. The best projects are usually the ones with a dedicated management team to help guide and support it as it grows. To developers it means that infrastructure can be built around Mambo, making it more commercially viable and allowing them to build their own business around it. To users is a guarantee that Mambo will continue to exist and along with that, a sound plan for developing credibility via training, certification and support.

What’s the business logic behind this move?
Commercial businesses getting involved with open source is always a gamble. We have to invest a great deal of time and money to develop these things, however we have a choice of continuing to sell commercial software or helping our open source project becoming a global success. In the long run I think that many businesses will realize the future is in providing that important infrastructure to open source communities. That training and support is the critical deciding factor between just another piece of software developed by a group of friends and a truly successful community project.

How long had this been under discussion?
We commenced discussions late in 2004.

Mambo & IP Issues

Any comments on Brian Connelly’s intellectual property claims?
Connolly’s claims have been shown to be baseless. Further, he has been uncovered as a person who takes delight in twisting facts and using the media to attack anyone or anything he take a disliking to.

Have there been any similar claims?

How well documented are the origins of the Mambo core?
Very well documented.

How are the origins of code traced / documented to avoid IP problems ?
Connelly’s claim was based on his misunderstanding of how the internet works, general programming and the GNU GPL. It was simple to show that what he thought he was talking about was in fact not at all. It is important to realize that Connelly’s barrage was not really based on any alleged misuse of code. It was a personal attack in the guise of a legitimate claim. That is why he didn’t use a legal process. As soon as Miro proceeded with legal action to prevent Connolly from making further personal attacks he disappeared.

Any connection between the IP spat and the change in team leadership or the relationship with Miro?

Why did the previous team leader leave?
Robert left due to pressure from work and family commitments, combined with the increasing responsibility of a growing open source project.

On the Future of Mambo

Where will Mambo be a year from now?
I expect Mambo to follow the great open source projects such as RedHat, MySQL, JBoss and many others. One that has a rich developer and user environment with the resources to give it the necessary credibility to be used with confidence in the commercial world as well.

And finally…Anything else you’d like me to say, or any thoughts you feel it would be good to communicate to people?

Naturally there are people who are unsure of the role of Miro in the future of Mambo. I would like those people to remember that Miro developed Mambo and brought it to the world in a time where it was unique in its approach to website building and content management. We had a vision and it was that vision that built Mambo and the community it is today. Miro will continue with these core values and ensure that “if you like Mambo now, you’ll love Mambo in the future?.



For more of Ric Shreves articles, click here 


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