As soon as I picked up on Turmeric SOA as the engine that powers my research, one of my supervisors warned me: be careful, or you’ll be caught in technology hell. As much as I hate to admit it, this has inevitably happened. The point is… I’m using Turmeric SOA which is open-source and open-source is great for research. Everything is so open that I can afford to publish literally everything I do. This means that all the claims I make with my research can be easily verified independently by other researchers.

I love this transparency.

The problem comes when the transparency is the result of emptiness. More specifically, Turmeric SOA is open but its documentation lacks vastly. In the inception of its open-sourcing by Intalio, Inc. their software engineers were working night and day to adapt the wiki pages (which apparently are the only public form of documentation) from mentioning “EBAY” to mentioning “TURMERIC”. However, as the dust began to settle and eBay decided to go in-house with the open-sourcing, the work done on Turmeric SOA has greatly diminished and what once was a promising open project is now a graveyard. eBay’s software engineers keep a low key and aren’t exactly supportive of other people using Turmeric SOA which is very disappointing. It seems common sense that if a project is open-sourced, the main goal should be for it to get a large user-base. The more people contributing and using a piece of software, the more ideas and bugs will be found and thus, the more refined the project will become.

This has not happened. As an outsider, eBay’s stance on open-source seems that of a beach-goer who’s too afraid to go for a dive and instead just keeps probing the water with their toes. This is bad. It’s bad for eBay because it will inevitably taint their reputation with open-source, it’s bad for the community who now get a half-baked services platform and it’s bad more specifically for me. Now I have to deal with a promising but ultimately difficult to use platform. Most everything I do with Turmeric SOA requires copious amounts of manual debugging in order to figure out what’s happening and ultimately, these debugging sessions reveal that what was advertised as a feature, really isn’t one.

In sum, the lesson learned is: be wary of large open-source projects. Unless there is a strong community around it, you’re gonna have a real tough time.