All Right Mr. De Mille, I'm Ready for My Close-Up

A couple of weeks ago we found out that OpenNMS has been nominated for a Community Choice award as “The Best Tool for the Enterprise”. Many thanks to everyone who nominated us, and I hope you’ll vote for us once more.

As part of the voting process, Ross Turk asked us why we should win this award. I can think of a number of reasons (well, beyond the fame and huge monetary prize), but the main one is that OpenNMS is an example of what can be accomplished with a small but dedicated group of people and the open source development model. OpenNMS can compete with products from companies like IBM and HP, which are orders of magnitude larger, and yet remain 100% free and open software. While there is a commercial company behind the project, it has survived on the business model of “spend less than you earn” and has not accepted outside investment. There is no need for a special, proprietary “enterprise” version of the software – the only OpenNMS version is the enterprise version. There are people out there who believe that it is not possible to create enterprise-grade software under the open source model without some sort of proprietary software “extensions”, but if you understand it and can be true to your community, open source works, which is why I’d like to see us win this award.

Another thing that Ross asked us to do was to make a video showcasing the project. We had a lot of fun with it, and it is now up on YouTube:

As much as I’d like us to win this award, I’m not optimistic. Seriously, the previous winners have included OpenOffice, Firebird and Zimbra – all of which have much more money and many more users than OpenNMS. However, it was worth going through the whole process if just to create this video. I’ve been hoping to capture what it is like to be a part of a vibrant open source community, if just to be able to explain it to others, and this is pretty close to perfection. Many thanks to Jeff and his friend Robbie for pulling an all-nighter to get this done.

At one point in time back in 2002, the “formal” OpenNMS team consisted of just me on my farm in rural North Carolina. Now we have over 20 people in the Order of the Green Polo and over 40 committers. In this video we have people of all shapes and sizes from around the United States as well as four other countries (Venezuela, France, Italy and the UK). For someone like myself with few talents outside of a big mouth, it humbles me to see so much involvement on this project, and it is a honor to be able to work on it with these people.

Check out the video, and for those of you who can’t commit to ten minutes, we’ve also made a one minute trailer, also on YouTube:

If you need a laugh to start your week, at least check that out, and remember to vote.