A Rose by Any Other Name
Around the release of Ubercart 2.0 in October, several Ubercart developers (including myself and Lyle) met in San Francisco to brainstorm and implement our vision for the future of Ubercart. In short, our plan was to re-implement the core systems of Ubercart on Drupal 7 to reflect everything we'd learned in the past three years and to take advantage of D7's killer new features, like entities and fields in core. To do this without disrupting the current implementation of Ubercart and the thousands of sites depending on it, we opened the Ubercore project with the idea of moving Ubercart on Drupal 7 into the packaged distribution space.
This whole process was dubbed the Ubercore Initiative (d7uc), and we carved out a place where developers could more easily brainstorm and communicate about development. The scope of the initiative included efforts not just to rethink the code but also to rethink the processes we used to write and manage it, so we wanted a clean slate to figure out how to best communicate with current and potential contributors.
With the amount of support the initiative received from the community, it was clear that we hit on something people wanted to happen. The end result would be a much stronger Ubercart with a solid developer community and a core module package comfortable in its place as a support module (like Views, CCK,
Hooker) while Ubercart itself would be remade into a full-blown application showcasing the power of Drupal as an e-commerce platform.
All that said, from this point forward, we're having to change our tack a bit. For my part, most people know me as the Ubercart project lead and are passingly familiar with the tale of Ubercart starting as an osCommerce replacement for the restaurant equipment sales company, Prima Supply, I worked for after college. After leaving there to join Commerce Guys, we arranged for me to continue leading the project while Prima retained ownership of various project assets and continued to contribute significantly to Ubercart development.
Unfortunately, we now find ourselves at odds over the future. I and many others feel the architectural and procedural improvements proposed by d7uc are necessary for Ubercart to evolve and to thrive. However, conflict surrounding the execution and governance of Ubercore arose with Prima that we were unable to resolve satisfactorily. This resulted in Prima, on the strength of project / trademark ownership, asking me to either stop the Ubercore Initiative or cede leadership of Ubercart, rename Ubercore, and move on. I still believe in the vision I originally outlined and cannot agree to the terms of continued Ubercart leadership, so I'm going to step down as the project lead of Ubercart and move forward with a renamed Ubercore. The goals are the same, the plans for an upgrade path from Ubercart 2.0 are the same, and the future of products on Drupal 7 is still bright.
Hopefully this can explain what one commenter has described as recent "lazy maintaining" of Ubercart. The last couple of months have been counter-productive all around. I haven't been an administrator on Ubercart.org for some time now, nor have I contributed significantly to the Ubercart code itself beyond quick bug fixes. It's unfortunate that circumstances developed as they did, and I definitely wish I hadn't let the Ubercore momentum flag in the midst of the conflict. While I expect Ubercart will continue to be developed, with a bit of sadness but plenty of excitement for the future, it's time for me to move on.
Thus the title of this post. A rose by any other name is still a rose, and Ubercore by any other name is still the best thing to happen for Drupal based e-commerce since the advent of Ubercart. For at least the foreseeable future, Ubercore will continue as Drupal Commerce, managed similarly to Drupal itself. We'll be working our tails off to make sure e-commerce on Drupal 7 shows just how awesome having fields in core can be.