Today I was reading through my twitter client the latest news and my attention was catched by all the tweets around the latest Doug post on the Pentaho forum. So I immediately connected through my phone browser to read that post and think about it.
Doug's question was asking how the Pentaho community is going. Following what my Pentaho friends said in their answers to this thread I also agree that comparing downloads isn't a good metric to judge how a community is going. The spirit of a community is made by all the people that every day gives a precious help in coding, helps people understanding the product or coming out from problems (that they think they are hard but they aren't) and talks about the product.
I personally come from another experience with another important opensource community (not a BI product). From the outside, I remember, everything seemed wonderful. The product stayed for a very long time on top as the best project in one of the biggest open source forges. But from the inside everything was totally different and the approach was really cold.
Here may experience is totally different, I'm breathing a completely different air. I found real people that cooperates everyday helping each other to solve their everyday problems with the product or other related technologies. They support people through irc, the forums and the wiki. I'm a software architect so I decided to help mainly with code contributions, but also in the forums and in writing articles about some pentaho topics in my blog .I studied and I'm continuously studying the code and I'm working with wonderful guys: Pedro, Tom, Paul and many other.
In our Pentaho community, the irc channel is the something I really enjoy but unfortunately I can participate only a few times because very often the various proxies broke my ability to connect. It's a sort of noisy room where anyone expose problems and quickly gets solutions. You always find someone available to support you. But it is also a place to talk with friends about everything. A sort of meeting place. That is wonderful.
I said friends not colleagues and this is a very important distinction. These are the things that makes me thinking that IT IS really a community that works and not the number of downloads or any other stupid indicator.