dotProject: The sincerest form of flattery?

I was sent a link this morning to a new site offering “next-generation online project management software”. I was excited to see if it was something along the lines of Basecamp, dotProject, NetOffice, MS Project, or a variety of other things systems which I've seen and played with out there.

As part of my role in the community, I happily evaluate other projects to figure out what we're doing wrong or right and figure out what we can do better. There are some great products out there and there are some terrible products out there. My personal goal is to always work to move dotProject into the great category.

So I check out the site for “Enterprise Project 2.0” to play with their demo or to check out the screenshots.

Notice anything odd?

The color scheme is a little bland, the icons aren't the most descriptive, but generally the functionality and features look pretty extensive. Looks like it could be a great system…

The problem is that the product and screenshots shown here from their “next-generation online project management software” doesn't tell the full story. They are not the newest competitor to dotProject. They are not some cutting edge new product that we need to worry about and evaluate…

This product *IS* dotProject.

As far as I can tell, they've simply replaced the dotProject branding with their own. To the best of my knowledge, this is fully within the rules of the GPL. To the best of my knowledge, they just have to keep the copyrights in place and make the source available if they choose to distribute it.

In terms of full disclosure, these guys could be a competitor to CaseySoftware's dotProject hosting. Point taken. But there are two fundamental difference between the two offerings…

First, CaseySoftware through both myself and Ivan have commit access on dotProject. We don't have to follow the learning curve, we help set it. We're in the code on a nearly daily basis making changes, monitoring bugs, and helping drive the project forward. As of Friday evening – well, technically Saturday morning – there were 78 open bugs and 210 open requests. Many of which I review on a weekly basis.

Second, when I say “cutting edge”, you can be assured that they latest and greatest stable code – sometimes even the tested CVS snapshot – is deployed with all of the latest bug and security fixes. When we do a deployment for a customer, we always give them the best code available. When we provide hosting for a customer, we review all non-critical patches weekly and push anything applicable.

While I welcome the competition, I think these guys have a long way to go before they can provide the level of service we can.