Happy new year! 2018 is here. And it looks like a very exciting year for midPoint. There are new development plans for 2018 but also interesting changes in our business model. There is so much to look forward to in 2018.
But first let’s have a look back at 2017. This was yet another busy year for midPoint. Especially the Comenius release brought huge amount of new features. This was followed by Darwin which brought a wide range of evolutionary improvements. MidPoint is now planted deeply in the identity governance field. In fact it is the first (and only) full-featured identity governance system in existence. Which I guess makes it a best-of-breed solution, doesn’t it?
The plan for 2018 is, as usual, to have two releases. MidPoint 3.8 is planned for early spring, midPoint 3.9 will come in autumn. We have quite precise plans for 3.8, but there are preliminary plans for the whole of 2018. Let’s start at the beginning.
The development of midPoint 3.8 is already in full swing. There are two major focus areas: scalability and data protection. The goal is to run midPoint efficiently even for massive deployments. Currently it can handle deployments with few millions of identities – assuming appropriate configuration, environment and quite a bit of patience. But midPoint 3.8 should be able to go beyond that limit. Our team is working on the scalability and performance improvements right now. The second area where midPoint is being developed is data protection. Yes, that means GDPR. Identity management systems are almost ideal tools to support and automate data protection mechanisms. But midPoint goes a step further by introducing features specifically aimed at data protection into the base product. This is still a bit of a secret (as much as anything can really be a secret in an open source world). We are going to unveil the details at FOSDEM conference. So it might be a good idea to head for Brussels in first weekend in February. This is going to be fun.
Precise plans for midPoint 3.9 are still open. Significant part of development time is reserved for platform subscribers. But the preliminary plan for this release tentatively aims at improving user experience (UX) of the user interface. There was a gradual evolution of the user interface in every release to date. But current situation asks for a bigger review of the UX principles of midPoint user interface. The extent of the improvements is still not entirely certain. There are a lot of ideas and suggestions and it is quite clear that not all of them will make it to midPoint 3.9. Which improvements will be included mostly depends on preferences expressed by the subscribers. Therefore, it is perhaps a good idea to purchase your subscription now to make sure that your voice will be heard. There are only a few months left before midPoint 3.9 development starts.
There are also a couple changes to Evolveum business model. First change affects the lifetime of the releases. Up until now every release was supported for two years since the initial (minor) release. This was a good model when midPoint was young. It was ideal for early adopters that wanted new features very quickly. But now when midPoint is a mature product stability is much more important than rapid feature delivery. Therefore, in 2018 midPoint will be adopting the system of long-term support (LTS) releases. There will be an LTS release every two years and those releases will be supported for a longer time. The other (non-LTS) releases will be supported for a shorter time. There will also be a direct upgrade path between LTS releases. Therefore, the LTS releases are for those that prefer stability. Other feature releases are for those that prefer rapid delivery of new features. There is something for everybody.
The other change in our business is the strong preference of subscriptions over sponsoring. Up until now there was a possibility to directly sponsor a specific feature. We will be phasing out this offering during 2018. Sponsoring can pay for the development of a new feature. But it does not cover the maintenance cost. Only subscription can do that. MidPoint is now a mature system and feature stability and continuity is crucial. Therefore, we decided to support this stability with appropriate business model. From now on the right way to get your feature into midPoint is to use platform subscription.
These are our plans for 2018. MidPoint is the biggest open source IDM system out there. It is actually bigger than all the other open source IDM systems combined – both in the quantity of the code and quality of the features. MidPoint is the only open source system that implements strong identity governance. The midPoint project is a great success. All these years of hard work were worth it. Vast majority of the work was done by the core team in Evolveum. But the project would not be possible without community, contributors and especially subscribers. And we would like to express our deepest gratitude for that.