In 2008 the Joomla Core Team and the board of Open Source Matters wrote the following statement of the Joomla project's mission, vision and values.
Our mission is to provide a flexible platform for digital publishing and collaboration
In our vision, we see:
- People publishing and collaborating in their communities and around the world
- Software that is free, secure and of high-quality
- A community that is enjoyable and rewarding to participate in
- People around the world using their preferred languages
- A project that acts autonomously
- A project that is socially responsible
- A project dedicated to maintaining the trust of its users
Mission Vision and Values (with commentary)
Our mission is to provide a flexible platform for digital publishing and collaboration.
- We felt strongly that the mission statement should be short and succinct, the inspiration being the Subversion mission statement: "To create a compelling replacement for CVS".
- The word "provide" is used because it can be taken to imply "design", "develop" and "distribute" as well as leaving the possibility of providing "software as a service" capabilities.
- The word "platform" is used to emphasise not only that the Joomla! CMS can be extended, but also that we will most likely release the Framework as a separate platform at some point and that we might want to develop a non-CMS application on top of it.
- The word "digital" is used in preference to words like "web" or "internet" because many users run Joomla! on an intranet with no internet connection. A use case we kept in mind was of a school in Africa which has a network of PC's and uses Joomla! to disseminate information to students, but which has no internet connection.
- The words "publishing" and "collaboration" were carefully chosen. "Publishing" seems an obvious choice given that Joomla! is a CMS, but "collaboration" was chosen to try to express the kind of applications that we might provide on top of the Framework. With our sites and events we also provide platforms for communication and collaboration so those things are part of carrying out our mission too.
In our vision, we see:
People publishing and collaborating in their communities and around the world;
- Notice that we use the word "people" here and not "users". Users might be thought of as those who build and run a website, but by deliberately avoiding that term we broaden our vision to include everyone, including site visitors, but perhaps even those members of the community who never come into contact with the software at all but are affected by those who do.
- Notice that "publishing and collaborating" is taken directly from our Mission Statement. Our mission is to provide a platform for publishing and collaboration and our vision is that people will be empowered by that platform to publish and collaborate.
- The word "communities" is deliberately vague in that it could refer to the community of people who visit the user's Web site, the Joomla! community, or indeed other communities too. The plural is used because people invariably belong to multiple overlapping communities.
- The words "and around the world" hint at people being able to go beyond their local communities, however we define "local", to reach out around the world. Perhaps they are publishing to a global audience; perhaps they want to invite new collaborators in to their community from around the world.
Software that is free, secure and of high-quality;
- "Freedom" is one of our key values, but the use of the word "free" here deliberately exploits the ambiguity in the English language between "free as in freedom" and "free as in no charge". Translators of this vision statement will need to be aware that both meanings are intended.
- The words "secure" and "high-quality" were added in response to feedback at the Core Team Summit.
A community that is enjoyable and rewarding to participate in;
- This statement is not only a recognition that a community is essential for the future of the project, but also that it must be of a certain character, namely "rewarding and enjoyable to participate in".
- Participation is important since the entire project hinges on it. Although the community could be thought of as including people who do not participate in any meaningful way, it is those who participate that are key to the success of the project. It follows that the community must be attractive enough for people to want to participate in it. This is a statement of our belief that if we can make the community "rewarding and enjoyable to participate in" then people will be attracted to it and will remain a part of it.
- Of course, it doesn't say how to make the community rewarding and enjoyable to participate in because that is not an easy question to answer. It may be different things to different people and it may change over time. The community itself learns how best to reward its members.
People around the world using their preferred languages;
- Again, "people" instead of "users".
- The word "using" should be thought of as including activities such as installing and maintaining a Web site as well as site visitors actually using the Web site.
- The words "around the world" and "preferred languages" are used so that languages are not thought of as being geographically localised. It should be possible for someone to use the software in their preferred languages no matter which country they find themselves in.
- The plural "languages" is used here as people might have multiple preferred languages.
- Our key value of "equality" makes it clear that just making the English version downloadable anywhere is not sufficient; it must be downloadable anywhere in the user's preferred langauge. And once downloaded and installed, it should support people working in multiple languages.
A project that acts autonomously;
- The word "project" is used here instead of "community" as only the project can make decisions. The exact boundaries of the project are ill-defined but could include Working Group members, for example, as they are often closely involved in decision-making.
- That we should remain an organisation that can make decisions autonomously is important to allay fears that we might "sell out" the project to some commercial operation.
A project that is socially responsible;
- The words "socially responsible" echo Google's mantra "do no evil". Society could mean just "the community", but it could also refer to society in general.
- The responsibility can be negative, meaning that there is a responsibility to refrain from acting, or it can be positive, meaning that there is a responsibility to take action.
- An example of the project acting in a socially responsible manner is the work done by the forum moderators in ensuring that the forum is "rewarding and enjoyable to participate in". This is achieved through constant vigilance and upholding the forum rules.
A project dedicated to maintaining the trust of its users.
- This is a recognition that anyone who is part of the community, even if only as a user of the software, places some degree of trust in the project and that is something that the project should strive to live up to.
- One of the most important aspects of that trust is the recognition that project participants can't just think of their own individual interests, or even the interests of a collective, when making decisions.
- "Freedom" was chosen as our topmost value for many reasons. We want to give people the freedom to build Web sites with which to publish their ideas. We want to give people the freedom to collaborate with others in their own language. And we want to give people the freedom to use, copy, modify and distribute the code and protect those freedoms using the GNU/GPL. We also want to provide people with the freedom to be a part of the community and to participate in the future development of the project.
- "Equality" was chosen as our second key value for many reasons. Naturally we want to ensure that the community is open to everyone regardless of race, sex, age or religion. We want to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to download the software regardless of their geographical location, which includes being aware of issues such as limited bandwidth. We want people to be able to use it in their preferred language, whatever that may be, so internationalisation and localisation are important too. We must also consider accessibility, both of our Web sites and of the software we produce.
- "Trust" is a necessary foundation for the project. For example, it should be possible for people to trust that the project will deliver on its promises; that people in our Working Groups should be able to trust each other. Indeed, the project and the community exists largely because of a web of trust.
- "Community" was chosen as our next key value because we are fundamentally a community project and would be unable to achieve anything without the community. Furthermore, the tools we provide are often used in the context of building communities. A sense of community should pervade everything we do. What we do, we do as a community.
- "Collaboration" is another theme running through the project. Joomla! lets people collaborate, which is to say work together on things, which is not necessarily part of community. Also other things we do, such as in Joomlacode and the documentation wiki encourage collaboration, as do all of our work processes. The GPL in general encourages people to work together on things and the applications created by the project and the project's culture encourage this.
- "Usability" is a key value because we want everyone to be able to make use of our software, our documentation, our forums, and all our other sites. By making usability a key value we hope to guide decision-making towards wider use and greater participation.