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Mitch Kapor bails on the Chandler project

The tech luminary is stepping away from one of his pet projects, Chandler--which has never delivered on its promise to deliver a mind-blowingly innovative PIM suite.

Matt Asay Contributing Writer
Matt Asay is a veteran technology columnist who has written for CNET, ReadWrite, and other tech media. Asay has also held a variety of executive roles with leading mobile and big data software companies.
Matt Asay

I guess it was just a matter of determining how long Mitch Kapor's patience would last, since he has enough money to fuel a dead project for a loooonnnggggg time.

He fed Chandler and the Open Source Applications Foundation for six years on the premise that it would deliver a mind-blowingly innovative PIM (personal information management) suite.

Mitch Kapor Martin LaMonica/CNET News.com

Six years later, Chandler just blows.

OSAF announced this week that Kapor is leaving and taking his funding with him. It's about time.

Kapor--the designer of Lotus 1-2-3, the co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the founding chairman of the Mozilla Foundation, and the chairman of Linden Labs--certainly can find other things to do.

OSAF wasn't a bad idea, and Chandler wasn't either. But neither was managed particularly well. Time to move on.

The best communal open-source projects are run like Mozilla (strong core development team with easy pluggability from the outside), Eclipse (cohesive corporate involvement to create a common core while competing at the edges--come to think of it, Linux is like this too), or Apache (strong technology brand that allows for a wide range of experimentation).

Chandler had none of this. It had a strong, inward-looking development team that never really got beyond itself.

That's a recipe for failure in open source. And thus, Chandler has failed.