the closing of Fosshost it was a surprise. Even those who did not know the initiative were amazed. All because the cause was the disappearance of the CEO of the organization. But Thomas Markey reappeared to explain what happened. Unwittingly, he also showed the importance of a community project not being in the hands of one person.
Created in 2020, Fosshost had a very interesting proposal: to offer free cloud computing services for Foss (Free and Open Source Software) projects, that is, free and with open source code. The initiative even attracted projects linked to organizations such as Gnome and Debian.
Unfortunately, the last few months have been tense for Fosshost. Supposed volunteers linked to the initiative said that Markey was the only person who had full access to the organization’s bank accounts. But he stopped caring for the platform and responding to contacts from his colleagues.
The consequence could not have been otherwise: the structure began to collapse. While there were other people in leadership positions, none had as much control as Markey. That’s why, this week, admins still active declared the end of Fosshost🇧🇷
Thomas Markey reappears
Where is Tom Markey? Why did he disappear? After the repercussions of Fosshost’s closure, he himself reappeared to give explanations.
In letter published on the initiative’s website, Markey says he and his team made a mistake by making Fosshost grow too fast. As a result, there was an overload of work. That’s when he decided to walk away:
I needed to take a short break after expanding the project because I was mentally and physically exhausted. During the first six months of Fosshost, I barely slept while supporting and processing new applications in multiple time zones (not to mention all of this happened during the COVID-19 pandemic).
In the letter, Markey acknowledges that his departure had several consequences for the initiative. He cites the accumulation of pending issues caused by not having produced adequate documentation for projects based on the x86 platform, for example.
Another example given by him is the AArch64 project, created to support applications based on the Arm platform. The idea met with great acceptance, which is why Fosshost members agreed to expand the service with new servers. However, there were no “physical engineering resources” to activate them.
It didn’t end there. There came a time when the organization operated multiple services. Markey hints that the lack of proper coordination caused this scenario to cause tensions among Fosshost members:
There has been a lot of confusion and misunderstanding due to this lack of leadership. This resulted in a catalog of errors and mistakes.
The Fosshost case leaves a lesson
Fosshost will not reopen. Also in the letter, Thomas Markey stated that he and the other members of the initiative will use what they learned to help other hosting projects prosper.
But we can already draw a lesson from this case. For a fast-growing initiative like Fosshost, it’s important not to focus leadership on one person.
Apparently, Markey meant well, but he got so overwhelmed that he couldn’t lead the project anymore:
We could have done better. We make a lot of mistakes. And we apologize to our partners, volunteers and users. We sincerely hope that by helping other hosting solutions thrive, we can start making things right for all of you.
Probably one of these solutions is the Radix Project🇧🇷 This is an initiative to host Foss projects created by former Fosshost volunteers. Hopefully the future of this initiative will be different.