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January 14, 2023

Choose now - Mage-OS or Magento Association?

Quickly, choose - right now at this very moment - between Mage-OS or the Magento Association! Do it! Have you choosen already? No? Then this blog is for you to explain the difficulty of this tough choice.

The difficulty of this choice

You might or might not know about this problem already: Since some time, Adobe is the owner of Magento and ever since, there was a discussion on what would happen to Magento next. Or more importanty, what would be the future of the Magento Open Source version which earns Adobe little money? Years ago already, the Magento Enterprise Cloud has been relabeled to Adobe Commerce Cloud and merged into the Adobe Experience Cloud suite. But there has been struggles to determine the future for the community version - the free variant of Magento.

This led to the creation of the Magento Association. I'm proud to have been part of some early discussions here and many great minds from the community have joined this initiative to make it work. However, definitely at first, the association was still engineered and governed by Adobe (even though they hired a third party SmithBucklin for many steps in between). Many people in the community felt the Magento Association wasn't there to support them (yet). It was slow in making real moves, while the patience grew thin.

Besides this, there was a discussion on the roadmap of Magento Open Source, a Long Term Support vs Short Term Support debate and a never-ending discussion on the long list of open Pull Requests. Out of this, Mage-OS came to being: A new association with as goal to support Magento, in times when Adobe mostly seemed to support Adobe Commerce only.

A community divided?

You could say that the Magento community is currently divided: On one hand there are people who are appreciating the efforts of Adobe to keep the Magento Open Source version alive (it is still maintained, there are still great Adobe minds at work): The camp of the Magento Association. On the other hand there are people who are done with promises-without-action and they joined the Mage-OS movement. You could also add a third party - Adobe itself (including its employees that undertake in the open source project) - which seems to be going through an identity crisis.

Even though it is one community, it seems as if these parties currently are in disagreement of how Magento Open Source should be picked up upon. At first, they all seem to say the same thing: Magento is great and will be there in the future. But as to how that future needs to be accomplished, different people are taking different approaches: Leaning over and waiting for an outcome; feeling an urge and acting upon it; keeping things on the theoretical side only.

My humble view

I have to admit, I'm completely biased here. I've read through my wordings above to try to make them as unbiased as possible, but as I'm trying to get towards a point I'm completely failing to be unbiased at all. This blog is opinionated (as in: it shows my opinion). And my opinionated view is: Adobe has not invested enough in Magento Open Source to convince the larger community of its long term efforts. Because of this, debates have been started and part of those debates have been led by the Magento Association, which is important. But only debating doesn't solve the puzzle. Action needs to be taken. And that's where Mage-OS steps in.

I'm not sure what is going to happen with the name Magento. But if the name is going to be kept in the hands of Adobe only, with the Magento Association only being handed over that name by the grace of Adobe, then Magento is going to stand for a slow progress, caused by most of Adobe its efforts going to Adobe Commerce instead. This will push Mage-OS more into taking over the ownership of the open source development. This might be a split, a fork, a new distribution. But most importantly it might mean that we might want to refer to the open source version of Magento by using the name Mage-OS, instead of Magento. At that moment, I would say that it is best to pull the plug from the Magento Association. But we're not there yet at all.

It could also be that Adobe is changing strategy. The ownership changes, the open source development changes, the Magento Association could move into an healthier position. And this might mean that Mage-OS and Magento Association might be living together for a long time to come.

The creation of Mage-OS Nederland

In The Netherlands, we already made another move: We were (because of different reasons) in need of a new name for the Magento community. And in the end we decided to settle for Mage-OS Nederland borrowing the name from the Mage-OS world-wide movement. It currently is a Dutch association and it is taking its baby steps into becoming a real lively community slowly. The fact that we choose the name Mage-OS shows our commitment. And it shows the fact that I'm totally opiniated about this.

Slightly different angles of the same truth

This blog started off with a ridiculous question: Which are you going to choose? But there is some reasoning behind this question. The challenge that Magento as an ecosystem is currently phasing is directly caused by the take-over by Adobe. And it could have a huge impact on the ecosystem in the upcoming years: A split between Magento Open Source and Adobe Commerce? Adobe selling Magento yet again? Mage-OS forking the sources of Adobe? The Magento Association and Mage-OS battling each other? Even though you're not an insider of all of this, if you don't know what is at stake you will clueless about upcoming changes. The question of this blog is an urge to get yourself informed.

But is there actually a choice to make? I don't think so. At this very moment, there are three parties involved with this challenge: Adobe, the Magento Association and Mage-OS. And they each carry their own responsibility at this moment. Adobe still keeps maintaining Magento Open Source. The Magento Association keeps up their effort to formalize the community. And Mage-OS independently investigates the opportunity of taking over Magento Open Source. With all three parties, there are good people involved. And I do believe that - as long as we're realizing that we're all fighting for the same cause - solutions will be found.

Posted on January 14, 2023

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