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Zend wakes up to smell the roses

From Chris which brings us back to the infamous I am Spartacus where sterling told everyone that he invented PHP4 after he read this article.

I must have missed the backlash this time, but I understand the scorn over Zend's marketing statements. In my opinion, the concern has more to do with the lack of credit given to Rasmus than anything else. When Rasmus is referenced as the creator of PHP, no one objects, nor do they seem to consider it to be hoarding credit from the many contributors to PHP.

Ask a mod_perl developer who created mod_perl, and they'll tell you Doug MacEachern. Ask them who the core mod_perl developers are now, and they'll name people like Stas Bekman and Geoff Young. Doug no longer contributes, but no one else can ever truly claim creation.

Andi and Zeev have made substantial contributions, and it's very likely that PHP would never have reached its current level of excellence without their early involvement. It is understandable for Zend to trumpet their founders' involvement with the language. However, I think there would be far fewer objections if Zend's marketing statements at least shared credit for the creation of the language. I personally think it makes sense for Zend to position itself as a company with key PHP creators and innovators as founders. We all know Andi and Zeev, and we know how substantial their involvement is. For the average company executive, however, they're lucky to have heard of PHP. Zend's marketing tries to make Andi and Zeev's roles sound as significant as they are.

I'm very glad to hear that they have intervened and will be toning down these statements. As for Zend calling itself "The PHP Company," I don't see a problem with that at all. It's no different than Xerox calling itself "The Document Company." It suggests a particular focus, and it's a marketing attempt to position itself as the only or paramount one of its kind. I could say I wrote "the book" on HTTP, and I think that's fine, even though there are others. :-)

But you have to remeber that Zend are making money from their innovations around the Zend Engine which they wrote with contributions from other developers.

Reminds me of back in the day Andi and Zeev decided to make the Zend Engine (which was a rewrite of the parser and extract it from the PHP core.):

Zend Temporary License

This is a temporary license, that is in effect until the final Zend license is available.

* The final license will include the ability to distribute Zend freely, as a part of PHP (in both compiled and source code formats). It may (and probably will) allow to redistribute Zend under other circumstances as well, but at the very least, it'll be freely distributed as a part of PHP.

* The source code in the Zend engine is the property of Andi Gutmans and Zeev Suraski. Parts of this code are based on source code taken from PHP 3.0, which may include several patches and enhancements that weren't made by us (Andi&Zeev). If you're the author of such a patch and you're not willing to give up ownership over your patch to us, please contact us as soon as possible, so we can remove it. We're doing this so that we'd be eligible to sell the Zend engine for uses other than PHP, most notably - as an embedded part of possible commercial products that we'd have.

* Patches submitted to the Zend CVS automatically fall under this license, and by submitting them you're implicitly giving up your ownership over this patch to us.

* Until further notice, Zend is in a status of a closed beta test. That means that only people that were explicitly given the right to access the Zend CVS repository are allowed to use it. If you're reading this file and you weren't explicitly given the right to access the Zend CVS repository from either Andi Gutmans or Zeev Suraski - you're not supposed to have it - please erase the Zend files from your system. When the closed beta period finishes, the Zend CVS tree will be open for the public (in read-only mode, of course).

Any questions regarding Zend or this license should be addressed via Email to zend@zend.com.

It's understandable that they wanted to develop a spin off from prior work that they contributed to the PHP project (even though at that stage the code was released under the PHP License version 2 at the time).

Marketing would say lets over market Andi and Zeev's roles in the PHP community to make it sound like they actually did more than they did (which another marketer did when I was contracting for another company they made it sound like a was this uber uber php hacker that was a huge perl guru and what not at the time).

I don't go around releasing marketing material that says that because I've got karma to certain webbased projects of the PHP Project you know that I'm a good web developer?

I think I should stop rambling on about this subject again. It's also weird that Zend do a certification programme as well, which should not be run by them, but that is another story.

The PHP Credits do credit Andi Gutmans, Rasmus Lerdorf, and Zeev Suraski for "Language Design & Concept" which makes one belive that Zend's marketing statements are misleading.

John, who works for Zend, says on his blog that there has now been a change in Zend's internal policy:

Thanks to some complaining by influental PHP community members however, I'm pleased to announce that Zeev and Andi have intervened within the company and will from this point forward change the wording used in press releases to more accurately reflect the ongoing contributions to PHP by those in the general community. I get the warm fuzzies to see my employer willing to change their ways a little bit and give credit when credit is due! I'm told they'll also be changing the press release which caused the backlash on the web site soon as well.