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Audience Targeting 2.0 and LCS Will not be Compatible with Liferay Portal 7 Community

Today I’m writing to announce that we are discontinuing support for Liferay Connected Services and Audience Targeting for Liferay Portal 7 Community. The main factor behind the decision was the lack of community adoption for both offerings. 
 
Regarding Audience Targeting, there was low adoption by community members compared with most other Marketplace Plug-Ins. Surprisingly, Audience Targeting actually had more interest from Enterprise Subscribers, as you can see by the number of downloads here: 
 
 
While our Community is an order of magnitude larger than our Subscriber base, the enterprise version of Audience Targeting as of today has 2567 downloads compared with 1951 downloads for the community version. We take that as a sign that most community members aren’t as interested in the functionality provided by the plug-in, which is usually used for Digital Marketing scenarios. 
 
A similar train of thought holds true for Liferay Connected Services, a cloud-based set of tools for monitoring Liferay systems in production and applying patches and updates. After holding a public beta for over a year, we saw almost 3x uptake by enterprise users vs. community users: 
 
 
Focusing on a single version of both products will also allow us to evolve Audience Targeting and LCS more quickly into mature products. When targeting and LCS become more feature-rich, we may re-visit the offerings and packaging them in a way that’s attractive to the community. 
 
I’ve made two announcements in a row now that are negative from the Community's perspective and it probably looks like Liferay is moving away from our commitment to open source. But our focused approach to targeting and LCS will also free up resources for us to invest in other things that are more valuable to the community in the short term. We have been thinking about Community a lot here at Liferay and I’ll soon be announcing some of the ways we want to invest more in all of you and improve your overall experience with Liferay, so stay tuned. 
 
Hi Bryan,

Audience Targeting is a major component and I do not think that difference between downloads is big in numbers.

It's a very nice component and must be available to show power of Liferay for community users.
Liferay CE 7 already does not have support for Enterprise databases, Clustering etc.

Removing this plugin will be representing focus over Enterprise side only!
Hi Vipin, thanks for the feedback.

I do agree that we should not remove features from Liferay Portal 7 Community and our long-term vision is to add more and more value to the community.

With AT, it really is about focusing our investments, which we have to do because we aren't able to grow our revenue as quickly as proprietary traditional software and SaaS / cloud-based software vendors. Rather than continuing to support multiple versions of AT, we want to support the version that is being used more and possibly re-introduce the feature for the community at a later time.

From your LinkedIn, it looks like you used to work at CIGNEX, who is one of our SI partners, and now are at NetCracker, a subsidiary of NEC. We would love to partner with NEC and/or NetCracker. I think NetCracker provides business and operations support systems, which are pretty important for your customers, so if you're using Liferay at NetCracker you probably really should have a relationship with Liferay.

I couldn't find revenue figures for NetCracker but if the acquisition by NEC went for $300 million, probably your annual revenue is higher than $100 million. I think our companies are a roughly similar size. Now at Liferay, we also pay for software subscriptions that are more expensive annually than Liferay's subscription is. So it seems to make sense for both of our companies to support other companies like ourselves to continue building up the technology industry and provide jobs for people like you and me.

Thanks again, Vipin, for your long investment in Liferay at CIGNEX and now at NetCracker. If I've misunderstood your situation in any way, please let me know!
Hi Bryan,

Last thing first emoticon

Yes, we are using Liferay a lot but only few of them are on enterprise version and not directly by us and even I am not so sure about it.

About relationship, we are already connected with Lliferay bangalore team to train my team on Liferay 7. As soon as they are done with pricing and content, we are good to go!

I agree that maintaining two streams is a tough job, but that's how Liferay earned it's name emoticon

It was good to connect with you.
Hey Vipin, great to hear you're connected with Manish and the Bangalore team. They've been asking me to come to India for a visit so next time I'm out there I hope to meet you in person! You can show me the best chaat places in the city. emoticon
Hi,
Will you please kindly tell us final decision of "Liferay Corporation" about CE version. It is impossible to use a software that lacks some features from time to time. In this way how we use CE version without a reliable upgrade roadmap ? Eventually there will be no Liferay 8 CE !
And please kindly tell us "How CE version could be useful without key features like clustering ?" Will You please answer this question : HOW a 6.2 CE site could be upgraded to version 7 WITH FAILOVER without clustering !
Thanks
Hi Nadih,

I'm committed to continue to improve and invest in Liferay Portal 7 Community and to make it a valuable piece of software for many deployment scenarios.

For clustering specifically, the current decision is to keep it out of community. If we can find a way in conversation with folks like you to provide a better solution than this that still addresses the concerns we have on the business side, I would love to implement it.

Meanwhile, there are avenues for organizations like yours to access the Enterprise subscription in an affordable way. I've personally offered to explore that avenue with you, and happily await your reply to my private email regarding this.

Thanks Nadih for your passion and concern for the Community.
I have been including Liferay as an option in my projects since 2008 and it never get picked as the CE is really buggies. Some even went blank after installation and started back in 5.x and 6.x. I guess there is something wrong because CE is becoming worst and worst when the major version is increasing. Setting properties won't do what is exactly mentioned. Can read data suppose cannot. Can search data outside of security. Private Page cannot turn off. Making my CPU screaming. etc. etc. etc. I once POC it for my own use, the portlets development is so painful and the complexity as well as limitation to extends or develop are deadly awful. How do I mention to my Boss the cost of tens thousands with this buggy toys. And now you have discard features of CE such as Cluster (how do you live on without a webapp that can't cluster in this era?) It makes me think of openerp or odoo. Making big profit but day by day acting more and more like SAP which he aimed to beat just a few years ago. Please, don't put CE on the CE version, it make the CE bad text, I suggest you put it something like "Trialware" or "Freeware" or "Shareware".
Hi Adam, thank you for your feedback. I'm going to talk to my VP of Engineering to see if he shares your perspective, because he feels that Liferay has improved its quality and reduced its known issue count dramatically from 6.1 to 6.2, and again from 6.2 to 7.0. However, it is possible that there have been more visible bugs than before and that could affect the perception of overall quality. And certainly, having any significant bugs isn't a good thing.

I'm not sure if your profile is here:

https://web.liferay.com/web/adamtang

But if so, I can see that you have been in the community for some years and that you are based in Malaysia. I do think Malaysia is one of the countries that definitely suffer from our decision around clustering, because you probably have a lot of smaller IT groups and professionals supporting government and industry projects that don't have large budgets.

Adam, if you can tell me more about the kinds of projects you do, what the budgets are, and how you could see Liferay Community Edition being more useful to your needs, it will help us figure out a better way to address situations like yours.
Yes, that's my old account that I didn't remember the password because I can't continue with Liferay. Working in Liferay is like working in office or house. I am still including Liferay whenever I am trying to start a new project. When a new major or minor version out, I will download and test it. The issue is the product seems to be discarded before it reach my clients. I have mentioned the reasons in the previous post. I noticed that our EPF agent or www.kwsp.gov.my is using Liferay + wicket 5 / 6. Due to our currency drop, it's always 3x or 4x when paying USD and it's quite difficult to quote as the pricing is high. I am working with a company which spent almost 2 mil for Dynamics and I have introduced Liferay 2 years ago to bring together all 600 staff on a platform that can collaborate and share knowledge as well as files. The other IT staffs are testing but it was not satisfy. Few months ago, we are tendering projects 1 for gov., 1 for uni. and 1 for college. We have reviewed on our EPF website but they pick up either HippoCMS or EnonicXP after considering. For me, HA / Clustering / Scaling / Failover is a must have feature for any web project now. Introducing an open source web project without this feature is like going battlefield without equipments. You can answer the client the feature will be there after you have signed up for a contract costing around 0.3 mil per year. blah blah blah for another paragraphs... I have a new project which is going to serve modules such as HR, Inventory, Health and etc. to the users. My client will be offering it either (demo mode with tenancy on a db) or (live mode with tenancy on a db for each tenant). It's a startup for the client and we will need to see the return before considering ROI on signing up with enterprise. And I am testing on liferay-ce-portal-7.0-ga2 then found that Cluster, LCS, AT and so on no more in this blog. In addition, asking only pricing need to give company email domain and mobile phone number? What's wrong with this vietnam guy. Microsoft, Oracle, Google, HippoCMS, Magnolia and so on all never asked for company email domain and mobile phone number when I asking about pricing from them. When I click reply as, the pop up dialog is empty...
Hi Adam,

Just a quick comment to start—I'm not sure what you mean by "this vietnam guy." Perhaps you mean one of our team members in the Singapore office. Regardless, where a person is from isn't relevant to our discussion, right? I'm sure you didn't mean it in a negative way, so let's just remember to be fair and gracious to people in our discussion.

Regarding the commercial email address, what we find is that when someone is willing to provide a commercial email address they're usually much more serious about Liferay. Here's why that's relevant to the community—Liferay the company tries to do the most we can with the least amount of company cost, so we can invest, among other things, in the software and the community. That means we don't hire a lot of salespeople. We only have one person, Claudia Cheong, taking care of sales in ASEAN, along with Kang Wei (sales engineer) and Hoang Nam (sales assistant). Claudia has limited time to focus on the most qualified leads, so we try to make sure she talks most to serious prospects, which is why we ask for the commercial email address.

Now, the reason why I keep asking about things like "what's your project budget and what's liferay being used for" is because I'm trying to work with my team to define a Liferay offering that fits the market needs for projects like the ones you work on. Of course, you could say, "We already had that—it was CE with clustering!" but I do believe that not having any kind of vendor support or maintenance isn't good for the end customer.

So the information you're providing is helpful—for example, the currency drop is quite relevant here. More information of this nature will help us understand the conditions you're facing out there and figure out a better solution than the one we have.

Thanks Adam for your patience and for investing time in to this issue.
Hi Bryan, first about this pricing enquiry. I have already stated in contact form that we are going to use liferay as our service platform. And before that, we need to estimate what will be the cost for the implementation. There is a team but the company haven't formed yet. Then there will be no business domain. It makes no sense for me to give my working email as it's not related. That's why I use my personal email. What's wrong? Which part of email broadcast I am not serious? Talking about liferay. CE is not working properly in mobile or tablet. I came back because I remembered this software. But it seems CE has less and less feature and the most important cluster support no more. It bring me the same feeling after working with odoo.com for 2 major version. How do we poc the cluster or HA using CE before the launch or after going for enterprise. Nvm, I will not come back anymore. Liferay sucks and the company is weird. After trying it still won't win unless spending money like fortune 500 corporation. Farewell.
Hi Adam,

I'm sorry that you don't feel there's value to being part of the Liferay community member. I hope we can turn things around and perhaps see you again in the future. Best of luck with everything!
I Agree with Adam. Anything without fail-over support must be considered as shareware or trial version, suitable for non-critical occasional or research usage. Business reject such solutions. Say "This solution missed fail-over mechanism" to your client and he immediately drop any connection with you.
Sorry, typo error.

You (can't) answer the client the feature will be there after you have signed up for a contract costing around 0.3 mil per year
Hey Brian,

i want to comment on this privately and say, that I am not using Audience Targeting (and Clustering), so decide for yourself, if the following is true or not and if it applies:

You say, "it probably looks like Liferay is moving away from our commitment to open source". Maybe i don't have to remind you, what "commitment" means, but here are a few quotes, i found interesting:

You always have two choices: your commitment versus your fear. - Sammy Davis, Jr.
I believe in commitment. I believe in being open and trusting each other and respecting each other completely. - Anna Kournikova
If we prove capable of showing a pioneering commitment, we shall create a commmunity listened to around the world. - Jacques Chirac

It is not about the people, who said this. I cannot know how every single one on this forum useses Liferay and how much he or she shares (or whether at all) and it is not my business, if i am commited. Maybe I don't even want to share with anyone, how I am using Liferay, not because i am afraid, that you will make profit out of it, but because of your credibility. But, do I have the right to suck everything out of the community and sell it as my own? Seems like a profitable business. Now its about credibility.

We live in a world, that makes it harder than ever to provide for family and children. And we live in daily fear, whether we can do so tomorrow. Would you stop caring and providing for you child? Of course not, because you are commited to it. Commitment is a commitment, and should never be broken, otherwise it was noting but a lie. From my personal experience everything, that is build upon a lie will not persist. There is a huge gap between providing and accumulating riches, you know this.

When i started developing Liferay in the first place, i thought, it was something, that would last, but it probably looks like Liferay is moving away from being a sustainable solution. Please provide the further strategy for liferay, so that we can decide, whether we stay or not. Maybe, it will not hurt you so much, when we leave, because, we are not paying for EE. Maybe this says a lot about "Put people at the heart of your business"... For me, this means: every single one is important. But we have paid. A lot! For attending Liferay events, that were not so good at all, especially the workshops sucked, sorry. I hope, you had a nice time with our money.
Hi Bob,

Thanks for the honest feedback. I think it's great that you are keeping us accountable to our vision and reminding me personally what the word "commitment" means. I think your message is that commitment is a decision you make at every moment, and it's not something you can waver in just based on the circumstances. I do agree that it's important to be consistent—consistency leads to credibility.

At the same time, I personally strongly believe that grace is what makes the world go around. You may know the musical Les Misérables, where the character Javert is a person of very strong commitment, and Valjean has been given a second chance. At the end, Valjean's life is a testament to his character and perseverance, but it was made possible by the grace given to him.

Now, I think grace and commitment go hand in hand, and they apply equally to both parties in a relationship, which is one of the reasons why so many of us are upset by my decisions. Let's see how grace and commitment play out on the other side of the table.

So let's say our decisions around Audience Targeting and Clustering are mistakes. How will you respond? Will you invest in the hard work of having a conversation with us and making the arguments—fairly and clearly—why you think we are making a mistake? Will you be gracious, because we will definitely mess up sometimes, and stay committed, not only to me, but to the Liferay community, trusting that in the long-term we will fix our mistakes and continue in the right path?

You see how important it is, not only to have commitment, but to show grace, and for grace and commitment to be expressed by both people in a relationship?

Bob, we've both invested a lot in Liferay. I've given my youth!—the last 12 years of my life, and I'm not that young anymore. emoticon You've invested your time and energy in using the software, you've attended our conferences (please tell us what didn't meet your expectations and how we should change things), and you've recommended Liferay to others. And probably a lot more that I don't know about.

This probably sounds funny, but it's not always easy for me to stay committed to Liferay, either. But the personal rewards—meeting awesome people around the world, providing something of value, making a difference around the world—are greater than the costs. I hope that's true for you also, and that you'll stay committed to us through the ups and downs of this relationship.

Finally, I think these discussions are best had as real people—do you mind using your true identity instead of a pseudonym?

Here's why I ask: you mention that it's harder and harder to provide for our families (I totally agree, and part of our motivation is to do that for 650 employees around the world). I know that there are plenty of people in the Liferay community that provide for their families using Liferay CE and maybe you're one of them. If so, I can better hear your voice and address your needs when I know who you are and what Liferay means to you. I'm not talking about getting this information to take advantage of you. It's really just the best way to understand your needs and develop empathy. I can't empathize with pseudonyms.

I know a group of guys in Toulouse, Boubker Tagnaouti from Beorn Technologies. He's a brilliant guy with a brilliant team. They do really great work on Liferay Community. They're not a partner, they don't pay us any money, but I am extremely happy that they invest in Liferay and participate in our community. I worry about them when I think about the consequences of the decisions I've made. I know they're providing for their families through Beorn. It's for them that I will try to think of a way to still solve the problems we have with big SIs, but in a way that doesn't hurt them.

But I can feel this connection with them because I know who they are, I gladly see them every year in Paris, and I know how much they've invested in Liferay. Let's have that kind of relationship as well so we can actually solve problems together.
Hello, I am sad. I have some customers than use CE version for 6.2. There would be any posibility to compile audience targetting from source code and install in Liferay 7 CE?
This is really bad news. Very very bad. For two reasons
a) Audience targeting is one of Liferays big differentials, and a very powerful tool. Without audience targeting the value of Liferay isn't nearly as great.
b) Audience targeting was (and still is) one of the big showcases for the switch and rewrite to OSGI.

I have a few questions:

1. Will the audience targeting source still be available, so we can build it ourselves for CE?
2. If the answer to 1. is no, how have you handled external contributions and licensing issues? Have you removed all external contributions, or have you re-written from scratch? something else?
Hi Brendan, I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news to you. I do look forward to bringing it back when it's more mature in the future.

Just to get to know you better, what other products do you consider besides Liferay? Also, do you use Liferay professionally for your company or for your clients?

Regarding your questions:

1. Yes, for the 1.0 version. I'd be happy to point you to the right place to find that.
2. I believe AT was written by our internal engineering team, but in general our contributors do allow us rights to make licensing decisions, and you're right that we also re-write code provided in contributions.

Did you contribute to the code for AT? If so, we can talk to you about getting access to the appropriate version.
Hi Bryan!

Let me first clarify. I work for a partner, hence professionally I only work with EE. So I'm not speaking as a professional here.

On the other hand, I dabble with Liferay a lot on my spare time, and play around with my own projects. I've committed my fair share of code to the blade repository (yay osgi). I was planning on submitting some improvements to AT that I did for a customer, and talked to the AT-team about it. But in the end, the amount of refactoring needed, made it such that I never got around to it (since I became interested in the blade-project instead).

Here is my train of thought. Any plug-in I can play around with on my spare time, with source available, that I find interesting, like AT, I'll tend to use more often profesionally (specially since most of our customers need a lot of customization). Now, if I can't get my hands on the source for AT, make changes, and run it on CE, I'll most likely not be able to use it on EE either (since I don't know the product and the code, and since customization will be much harder).

I also feel that the will to submit code to the whole projects decreases the more "closed" things become. After this change, I would have to think twice before doing a pull request to a plug-in, knowing that the plug-in might suddenly become EE only in the future. Note, I have no issues with EE-only plug-ins, as long as they are EE-only from the start, and don't suddenly become EE-only at a later point in time, like AT now has.

Finally I'm not sure I agree with the statement "Focusing on a single version of both products will also allow us to evolve Audience Targeting [...] more quickly into mature products." Basically. I would much rather have access to a broken AT codebase that doesn't run properly on CE, that I can play with, fix, and adapt than AT being a black box that "just works" on EE, if you happen to only need the exact out of box features.

Just my 0.02$ ;)
Hi Brendan, cool, thanks for the info.

I agree that there is a lot of benefit to having folks like you, who are personally and professionally invested in the technology, having access to the source. There is a good amount of overhead on our side, still, since we have to test, package, and release two separate versions. I think that was part of the calculation for us: how many people like you are actively participating in the project? It seemed far less than we would have wanted.

You're also right regarding how contributors like you will feel if things become closed in an unpredictable fashion. In retrospect we should have just started AT as an Enterprise thing and then made it open to the Community in the future. I'm sorry about that. I know words are cheap, but we're getting better as an organization in managing these products and projects and making target market decisions beforehand. So we shouldn't see this kind of "taking away community projects/features" in the future.

Overall, I really do agree with your perspective on how things *should* work, and ideally we'll get better at approaching that model/spirit as we evolve.

I think there's a lot we can learn from understanding your relationship to Liferay—is it ok if we reach out to you in the future to pick your brain?
Hi Bryan!

Thanks for your reply. Feel free to pick my brain at any time. emoticon I'm going to miss James picking my brain at devcon this year emoticon