Post updated on August 1st, 2016. Changes are in bold and the former version is available here.
Every project — whether it is related to Open Source software, entrepreneurship or non-profit — is the result of team work, of men and women who work together to achieve a common goal. For several months now, disagreement has been growing within the Cozy leadership team, with an increasing risk of slowing down the project. It has been decided by both Benjamin André (CEO) and Frank Rousseau (CTO) to ask the board for an arbitration, as shown in this email from Frank Rousseau sent on May 28, 2016:
« we did not find any agreement and we have decided to take the situation to the board with a clear understanding of the consequences from this decision. » — Frank Rousseau.*
On July 19 2016, the board has voted and decided that Frank Rousseau would leave his CTO position.
This decision was difficult but necessary at this point in time for the project. It will enable the Open Source Cozy project to gain new momentum, freed from conflicts that have hampered decisions.
This decision is not tied to the recent funding round and has no impact on the participative, Open Source nature of the Cozy Cloud project nor the recognition that Frank deserves for his past contributions.
Signed : Benjamin André (CEO) and Tristan Nitot (CPO).
FAQ (updated on August 1st, 2016)
What was the dissension about?
For several months now, Benjamin André and Frank Rousseau, Cozy Cloud’s cofounders, disagreed on many topics. Their disagreements were mainly about functional decisions for Cozy Cloud. For example, as Frank explained it to NextInpact (article in French), should we sell directly to the end user and risk to compete with our hosting partners or should we build partnerships with major brands to reach the end user? Anyhow, there has always been a consensus about one thing: Cozy is a free and open source project, built by and for its community.
Will users and contributors be impacted?
Users and contributors will not be impacted. The decision only impacted managerial and functional elements of the project.
Will Cozy change its goal?
Our mission is more than ever about making the personal cloud more accessible; our day-to-day decisions are more and more driven by data, which implies that we need to decentralize the Web again. Everybody should be able to get their personal cloud, their digital home where they can have access to powerful services. Instead of disseminating your data around the web, in silos, you can aggregate them in your personal cloud and have access to great services and full privacy. This means more control and more possibilities!
Will Cozy remain free and open source ?
Cozy remains an open source software aligned with the free software values and with a community driven development. This decision is in no way questioning our identity nor the future of the project. There will be no license change and no changes in our attitude towards the community. Our users and our contributors remain our priority.
Is this decision linked to the recent investment round ?
No. Our founders deeply disagreed on many managerial and functional topics, so they ended up asking the shareholders for an arbitrage about Cozy Cloud’s governance. The shareholders didn’t ask for this arbitrage. They voted against Benjamin André’s revocation and for Frank Rousseau’s revocation during the general assembly.
What is the impact on Cozy Cloud?
The decision taken during the general meeting did not aim at changing our strategy but make the project more efficient freed from any cofounders’ disagreements. The only changes will be inside the company Cozy Cloud, and the Open Source project Cozy will enjoy a quicker and better development, to help people take control on their personal data.
*Disclaimer: The email was written in French, this translation is only here to give context.