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February 24, 2022

We, Magento, are Ukraine

Thursday, February 24th, 2022. Russia invaded Ukraine. The world news is focused on this crisis that already developed in the last weeks (or perhaps even years or decades). But now that war is upon Ukrainians, I felt it would be good to underline the Ukrainian connection with Magento.

How Magento started

I might not be entirely correct on the history of Magento (that's not the purpose of this blog), but here it goes: Magento started in 2007 as an initiative of a company Varien, to create a better e-commerce platform than osCommerce. Version 1.0 came out a year later and pretty quickly it was adopted by a fresh community (and I'm proud to have been part of that community early on).

The company of Varien was led by Roy Rubin and Yoav Kutner from their office in Los Angeles. There were various other developers involved. I don't know who was working for them in which exact timeframe. But I do know that Dima Soroka and Ivan Chepurnyi were part of Varien from the beginning. Guys like Igor Miniailo, Max Yekaterynenko and Anton Kril joined later. And some of them worked remotely from Kyiv.

The LA-TA-KI connection

Both Roy and Yoav had their roots in Tel Aviv, but further back in history, their roots lead back to the Ukraine. And many of the other developers involved in those early days had the same roots. I call this personally the Los Angeles - Tel Aviv - Kyiv connection. If you know your history (WWII, the founding of the state of Israel) then this should sound familiar. Fun fact: Another company that has had the same connection is Zend.

In my story here, the Ukrainian connection is the most important one, because of the horrible things happening right now in Ukraine due to Russian aggression (my words, blame me for seeing invading another sovereign country as blunt aggression). To be short about it: Magento has its roots in the Ukraine.

(My earlier idea on a thank you note)

I've been thinking about a similar message before: Outlining the history of Magento, pointing at connections but mostly thanking people. I even had a song for that (Thank You Lord by Billy Fay). But live events (where such a video would be a great opening) were canceled and I never bothered to create the video. But here is the thank-you-note anyway.

In the larger thank-you-note, I would also thank the Magento community in general, or new peeps that joined Magento / Adobe, like Eric James, Andrew, Dave and many others. Special thanks to Dave his parents that are opening up their home in Brighton, UK, for anyone of the Magento community who visits Brighton.

More specifically at this time of war, I would like to focus on my ... our Ukrainian friends.

Thank you, Ukrainian friends

Thank you, Yoav & Roy & Dima & Ivan and others for bringing us Magento in the first place. Thank you, Igor & Anton & Max for joining the ranks and improving the core. Thank you, all Ukrainian friends out there, for being part of this bright new community. Thank you also, Russian friends that live in Ukrainian but feel more Russian than Ukrainian - thank you for being part of this great Magento community too.

Thank you all for being part of Magento. Without the Ukraine, Magento would not have been there. And especially in these times of war, our thoughts are with you.

And to the larger Magento community: Let's make war over pending Magento issues, not ownership of people.

Posted on February 24, 2022

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