Roundcube Next is a crowdfunded Open Source project to modernize the Roundcube email system, including support for mobile devices. The team was successful in raising over $100,000 in an Indie GoGo campaign, and then went radio silent for 84 days, their twitter feed has not received any updates and people who send them tweets are being ignored. Not a good sign.
Because it has been almost 3 months, I decided to raise a little hell and see what was going on. Here is an e-mail that was sent to backers:
While this is great news, gears are clearly turning somewhere in their camp, it is not really the right way to approach a crowdfunded project. There should be frequent communication for the public, as well as special access for backers.
There are 2 significant problems right now. The backers forum has apparently not gone live yet. I have seen a comment from a backer who says he expected it to be online by now, and I would agree. Mr. Seigo says the email sat in his outbox for several weeks, which should be added to any ‘expected’ timeframe.
How long does it take to set up a forum? 2 hours. Maybe a few more if you’ve got a lot of sub-forums and plugins and security concerns. But less than 1 day of work. You install phpBB (anyone who isn’t using phpBB is a fool) and it does most of the heavy lifting for you. So there is really no excuse for why it’s taken almost 3 months.
I hope that the people in the Roundcube Next camp will recognize that the public is becoming concerned, and change the way they treat progress reports and communication. Ignoring people is completely unacceptable, for starters. And monthly reports of progress are absolutely appropriate. Anything further they want to offer to backers is great, but they need to prove they’re actually working, rather than partying on other peoples’ dime.