Thanks for your comments and reasoned approach to the issue. Even though I'm still in a state of disbelief, I agree it is best to wait and see how this works out. I know many of the folks at Moodlerooms and have a lot of respect for them. Some of my concerns are (mainly focused on Moodlerooms because I'm not familiar with NetSpot, however these comments likely apply to NetSpot as well):
- There is even a larger giant influencing all this. Blackboard is owned by Providence Equity Partners who had to be involved in a decision of this magnitude. The bottom line with conglomerates is mega $£€¥. On the other hand, Moodle was not purchased (as you clearly state); only two Moodle Partners were acquired.
- Blackboard does not ('do not' for most of you English speakers ) have a good track record on maintaining acquired products. Those products are discontinued, proprietized or morphed into Bb products. You, Martin, are the main gatekeeper for Moodle and are trusted by the Moodle community to remain independent. However the real danger, in my opinion, is that Bb will pressure Moodlerooms into developing MRs' Power and Joule products into more proprietary products (e.g. 'enhanced' Moodle) to an extent that essentially prevents users from moving back to Moodle core. This is a key issue. If it does happen, then I question whether such a company should be a Moodle Partner. I really, really want to believe Ray Henderson, but I also grew up with the story of Little Red Riding Hood.
- Will Blackboard fully embrace the open source model and provide financial resources for open code development, or will Bb merely be content to reap the profits from the hard work of others?
- Will Blackboard expect a presence at Moodle Moots? These events have a tradition of being locally organized and focused on Moodle. Two major Moodle Partners have been very supportive of the Midwest Moodle Moots I've organized, but there has always been a condition associated with their support: Moodle only; no Moodle LMS competitors (e.g. Bb, D2L, etc.). Frankly, I do not want to see Bb at Moodle Moots.
- What is next? Blackboard makes major strikes behind the scenes, without warning, and by keeping many people in the dark (WebCT, Angel, Elluminate, Wimba, Moodlerooms, NetSpot, etc.). That is the big corporate model; it is Bb's model. It is driven by profit and domination. Even you, Martin, note you were caught by surprise on the most recent acquisitions. It is now up to Blackboard, Moodlerooms and NetSpot to demonstrate they have a commitment to the Moodle community and the open source model.
There are many other issues. Some of the above will pass; others will arise. Thanks, Martin, for your hard work at maintaining an open, community supported product.