What happens to Laravel if Taylor Otwell disappears?
After we talked a bit about enterprise apps on the Laravel Podcast the other day , a few folks in the Laravel community have been talking about what makes a tool enterprise-ready. I have a lot of thoughts about support plans, SLAs, and other such features of "enterprise-readiness", but I'll save those for a later date. Today, let's talk about the easiest-to-dismiss concern: What happens if Taylor disappears suddenly?
This question brings up the point that, unlike a framework backed by a company, a framework backed by an individual relies on that individual's desire and ability to keep the project running. What happens if Taylor decides he wants to retire and be a goat farmer?
I'd like to share a few points in response to this concern.
Note: I also recorded a Five-Minute Geek Show about this back in 2015.
There is a plan #
Most simply, I think the majority of people with this concern have never stopped to just look whether this has been considered. It has. For a long time.
Taylor even shared his answer on Reddit about a year ago:
If anything ever happens to Taylor, Jeffrey Way of Laracasts will take over. Jeffrey has been here since almost the beginning, has access to everything he needs to keep the products and the framework running, and is a great developer and teacher with a vision for the framework.
Laravel, LLC #
Many folks have also said that what they really want is a company instead of a person.
Well, here ya go: Taylor may be the primary creator and maintainer of Laravel, the open source framework, but the ecosystem of tools around Laravel is managed by Laravel, LLC, a company with an owner (Taylor) and an employee (Mohamed Said). If Taylor ever disappears, the company still exists. It still has a flow of revenue and an employee to run it.
Sure, the company doesn't have 500 employees, but it is also not just tied to Taylor's personal social security number and brain. There are systems and structures in place, already.
See: CodeIgniter #
Let's say there weren't a plan, and Taylor did disappear. Let's say Laravel, LLC and Mohamed didn't exist. Let's say the formal plan for Jeffrey to take over weren't already in place.
If, in that non-existent circumstance, Taylor disappeared, Laravel Forge and Envoyer and Spark would be effectively end-of-lifed.
... and, just like when EllisLab completely dropped the ball on CodeIgniter for many years, the community of contributors and users of the framework would continue to develop it, adding new features. If necessary, frameworks would fork off of Laravel and at least one would start as a near-mirror. Laravel itself would get security updates and bug fixes by the massive community of people who submit pull requests to the framework every day.
Tighten etc. #
I can't specifically speak for other consultancies who use Laravel, but Tighten has already committed time, effort, and finances to support the ongoing development of Laravel. This wouldn't stop if Taylor disappeared. Ideologically, we want the work to move forward and would do what we could to support the work and the community of Laravel.
But for those of you who may pooh pooh our ideological goals, there are also pragmatic reasons for us to actively work for the good of Laravel. We love the tool. There's a reason it's the tool we pick for the majority of our projects: it's a fantastic tool and a fantastic ecosystem. We make money using Laravel. We have no interest in it going away and we're committed to seeing it succeed.
And on and on... #
There's plenty more, and I hope to find some time to write more posts about other aspects of Laravel's enterprise readiness or non-readiness. But this is the simplest, easiest to address, so I hope we can stop bringing it up and call this handled. Good? Good.
Comments? I'm @stauffermatt on Twitter