Why Habari?


Last night we celebrated Passover with Carina’s folks, and her uncle Tim. This was my first Seder, and it was a very interesting experience. Tim did a great job explaining everything, and answering all of my questions. I’ve never really done much with respect to Jewish holidays, so it was a very educational evening.

On the way home, Tayler started asking me about Habari. Both of the girls have heard me speaking of it to Carina in weeks past, but neither showed much interest. Saturday, though, Tayler learned I was working on my April Fool’s Joke, and became very curious about Habari; so her questions last night didn’t really take me by surprise.

Tayler was interested to know why I was working on Habari. I explained that when I first started using WordPress, there was a very vibrant community of people working together to solve problems. It was an exciting time, and there was a lot of creativity being shared and encouraged. I really liked that. As time went on, I explained, the guy in charge of WordPress started a company, and he became less and less interested in other people’s ideas. He only seemed to like the ideas he came up with. So, Chris, Rich, Owen and I all agreed to start working on Habari, so that we could get back to that spirit of collaboration and openness.

Tayler then asked “Is Habari better than WordPress?” I answered honestly: not yet, because it’s so new, and WordPress has been around for a couple of years. But I’m confident that Habari will get better for several reasons. First, the way we’re making Habari is – we think – more flexible than the way WordPress was built. Time will tell whether we’re right. Second, we think we’re much more accommodating of other people’s ideas: we want people to participate and share their ideas, and we know that we’re not the only ones with good ideas.

At this point, Tayler interrupted to say “I don’t think the guy in charge of WordPress is very creative.” This is such a typical example of the twins’ thought process: she was really asking a question, but stated it in a declarative manner. I gently rebuked her: No, I don’t think that at all. I don’t know enough about the guy to know whether he’s creative or not. He has some good ideas, but I just don’t agree with the way he operates.

I continued to explain that WordPress, because it’s being partly driven by a company now, is less open to new participants and their potential contributions. With Habari, we genuinely want people to share their ideas with us, and we ultimately want to allow those people to add their new ideas on their own, without requiring us to do it for them. I detailed briefly the way in which our committer base has grown in the last couple of months, because people with good ideas have been invited to help us work directly on the code. Tyler joined in the conversation at this point, and exclaimed that she wanted to help with Habari! After a moment’s pause she hung her head and said sadly “But I’m too little.” I had to stifle a giggle: she was so cute. “It’s not that you’re too little, Tyler. It’s just that you don’t know how to program in PHP!”

The discussion continued on for quite some time, reaching the ultimate conclusion that both the girls want to use Habari instead of WordPress. I’m delighted that they’re so interested in my hobby, and it really reinvigorates me to have a couple of people close to me really supporting my efforts.

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