On state of Mibew Messenger project (as of September 2018)


It’s been a long time (almost four years actually) since the last report was published. There were a lot of changes since then, so probably the time has come for a new document of that kind.

The good

Mibew Messenger (the actual version is 3.2.0) could be considered as a mature, stable, and reliable free/libre open source solution. We’ve done an impressive job to achieve that goal. At the moment we know nothing about any serious troubles related to Mibew Messenger. Once installed it’s just working. There are only 7 open issues in our bugtracker and all of them are either feature requests or enhancements. Moreover some of that issues could be closed once one release an appropriate plugin.

BTW. About plugins. We’ve made some impressive job here too. At the moment there are 15 official and 2 third party plugins in our list. Maybe there are more, we just don’t know. That plugins could be very useful for implementing some custom behaviour of Mibew Messenger without need of altering the source code.

There are plugins for visualisation of visitors’ geographical location (via Open Street Map or proprietary Google Maps). There are plugins for making Mibew Messenger more insistently demand operator to answer the visitor (1, 2, 3). And plugins to completely hide some visitors from an operator (1, 2). There are even plugins to perform some actions instead of an operator (1, 2). Slack integration, GDPR compliance, automaticaly refreshing chat buttons, and even emojis. It’s all there. And if something is missed, one could write a new plugin.

We’ve published a detailed Mibew Messenger documentation. There are information about every major area of the project:

  • installing and updating the software;
  • building Mibew Messenger from sources;
  • development process and the architechture of the application;
  • theming and UI customization;
  • plugins management and development.

And if something is missed or one would like to shed some light on some complicated matter, there is also the forum. We’re doing our best to keep it free from spam, so it’s the proper place to search for the information, ask questions and get the answers.

So, everything has been fine so far… But here comes the second part of the report…

The bad

Well. You see, one of the most important values of any open source project is its community. So it’s sad but neccessary to state that Mibew Messenger has no that value. There is simply no real community. Don’t get us wrong, there are a lot of people all around the world that install and use our software. Sometimes they are even asking questions (either via email, or on the forum) or opening new issues in bugtracker. But that’s all. No new code contributions for the last two years. No new open source third party plugins for the last three years. No third party themes at all (there were publical promises, but there were no any real actions).

Actually, it’s easily understandable. Enthusiastic free/libre software is about fun (and the code of Mibew Messenger is not funny at all), reputation and self-esteem (and Mibew Messenger is not cool), or skills enhancement (and Mibew Messenger is not on the bleeding edge of IT). On the other hand commercial-backed free/libre software is about money, but at the moment we’re not actually backed by any commercial company that has (or plans) any business related to Mibew Messenger.

If there are no fun, personal development, and money earning, there are only obligations and responsibility. And at the moment that responsibility for Mibew Messenger project lies only with us, the core team. Sad but true.

Could something be done with that? Very doubtful.

The miscellanea

And finally some statistics.

The Mibew project has 180 forks of the main repository on Github hosting. It has earned stars from 340 users and is watched by 58 developers. The overall number of commits into the master branch of the main repository is more than 2330.

The download rate of the stable version of Mibew Messenger is around 150 times per week. The largest number of downloads has been made from Germany (25.21%, but it looks like a glitch in CDN statistics). Followed by Brazil (9.75%), Russia (9.25%), USA (8.44%), Colombia (5.52%), China (4.74%), India (3.62%), Mexico (2.36%), Ukraine (2.19%), and Turkey (2.17%).