The robustness of the community's contributions back to the commons has always waxed and waned as institutional priorities change and as the community expands and contracts.
(The waning periods were especially challenging for me as a maintainer and former product owner/tech lead of community-managed products (Sufia, Hyrax, etc.). "Did I do something wrong? How could I have prevented this? Should I have done more?")
There are now a number of Samvera partners—who in the past were reliable contributors—moving away from @FedoraRepo as a foundational technology, and away from our shared components (Ruby middleware, Hyrax, and so on).
What are they moving towards? AWS- and cloud-native solutions have been a big trend. And there's a growing tendency to explore technologies beyond the Ruby and Rails world (Go, Elixir, others).
This is a healthy development! Experimentation is important. The Samvera community has always said that our primary asset and primary identity is the community *itself*, not any particular technology or stack.
But it's also true that our common technology stack has bound us together over the years, and has delivered on the promise of shared development. (It's done so unevenly, which I think has contributed to the current "drift.")
Meanwhile, the community is still doing important collaborative work on the shared stack, from the components all the way up to Hyrax and Hyku which continue to generate excitement and deliver value.
While observing Samvera from a bit of distance and doing the same with the @iiif_io community, I wondered if the latter might provide a way forward for the former.
(This is where I have a ton of questions but very little clarity in terms of answers, and I welcome discussion, naturally!)
What if the Samvera community were bound by a set of common APIs/protocols/specifications rather than software implementations/products?
What would those look like?
Would they provide enough value for the current partners and community members?
Could we even agree on what they look like?
Would we have the energy and wherewithal to make the shift?
And, if so, where does that leave the community members who *do* rely on the shared software?
Would this fracture the community in a way that hurts us all?
What does, or should, bind the Samvera community together?
The Samvera community is made up of passionate, bright, dedicated people, and they/we are well equipped to answer these questions.
Maybe it's long past due for us to figure that out.
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