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I For One Welcome My New BT Overlords

with 25 comments

I’m delighted to announce that the mighty BT has acquired my tiny little company Osmosoft Limited. I’m joining BT as Head of Open Source Innovation, and I’ll be building a crack open source web development team called BT Osmosoft. To say the least, this is big news for me personally, and I hope will have a positive and lasting impact on the future of TiddlyWiki.

bt_logo_static.jpgBT is becoming a remarkable thing: a truly internet-scale consumer company that doesn’t rely on owning “secret sauce” software for it’s business. At the most senior levels, there’s an appetite to embrace open source that wouldn’t disgrace a web 2.0 startup. I’ll be working with a great many talented and interesting people, and I’m looking forward to it immensely.

Meanwhile, TiddlyWiki has benefited from something rather magical: a global community of eager people who have gathered around it and generously contributed to it, striving to make it better in a spirit of good-natured sharing. I’m regularly astonished by the inventiveness and resourcefulness of this community; I feel a part of something much bigger and more significant than I could ever manage on my own.

I’ve always kept TiddlyWiki fiercely independent — for instance, not carrying advertising (or indeed accepting venture capital investments). I feel that to do anything else would be disrespectful to the grass roots users and enthusiasts who make TiddlyWiki so useful and intriguing. Now that I’m taking up a commercial position it’s necessary to take certain steps to enshrine that independence more formally.

I have therefore legally assigned my copyrights in TiddlyWiki to an open, non-profit foundation called UnaMesa. I think that TiddlyWiki is at once too fragile and too important to be wholly owned by any one player in the ecosystem; common ownership allows everyone to work together on a level-playing field. There’s a lot more to say about UnaMesa, and I’ll return to it in a later post.

I’m looking forward to being able to improve some areas of TiddlyWiki that have not received enough attention in the past – like a better plugin catalogue, automated testing, better accessibility, and easier security. This won’t be by BT taking over the project, but rather by supporting the open source process and helping out with resources when and where it can.

I hope BT’s endorsement of TiddlyWiki will open up new applications that we haven’t thought of yet. To meet the challenges that they bring, I’ll continue to strive to keep the core of TiddlyWiki true to it’s origins as a lean, efficient non-linear personal web notebook.


Written by jermolene

May 29, 2007 at 4:08 pm

Posted in bt, jerm, opensource, tiddlywiki

25 Responses

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  1. That’s great news – congrats, JR!

    PS: The nav menu in the lower left of is seriously b0rked, especially in Firefox…


    May 29, 2007 at 4:16 pm

  2. Well done Jeremy !

    John Merrells

    May 29, 2007 at 5:29 pm

  3. Congratulations Jeremy! Couldn’t happen to a nicer chap!

    Phil Whitehouse

    May 29, 2007 at 7:12 pm

  4. Yes can we call you ‘JR’ now 😉


    May 30, 2007 at 7:09 am

  5. This is the way all large companies should view opportunities!

    Julia French

    May 30, 2007 at 6:05 pm

  6. […] Jeremy Rustin sold his company to British Telecom, which at first glance may seem an improbable fit but when you consider the BT Workspace initiative it makes a lot of sense. Also, the fact that the team he will no doubt be a part of is based here in Palo Alto, well it’s actually a very good fit. […]

  7. Congratulations Jeremy – now go and kill off BT Tradespace. Please.


    May 30, 2007 at 6:17 pm

  8. […] a bit slow on this but here goes. Jeremy Ruston has sold the company that owns TiddlyWiki, to BT and is joining the company as Head of Open Source Innovation. As Jeff Nolan says: Congratulations […]

  9. Fantastic, great — all the best!


    May 30, 2007 at 8:48 pm

  10. Hey Jeremy. Good deal. I’m a big fan of your product and a bigger fan of your photography. I hope you’ll have more time now for both. Excellent news.

    Susan Scrupski

    May 30, 2007 at 10:10 pm

  11. Jeremy, congratulations. That’s great news and I’m sure you’ll do excellent things at BT.


    May 30, 2007 at 10:21 pm

  12. […] Osmosoft and TiddlyWiki were purchased. Congrats to Jeremy. “I’m delighted to announce that the mighty BT has acquired my tiny little company Osmosoft Limited.” (tags: wiki) […]

  13. Is it true that your first action will be to rebrand the company British Tiddlycom?


    June 4, 2007 at 10:26 pm

  14. […] why am I revealing this slightly embarrassing artifact now? Well, after the announcement, I was delighted to get an overwhelmingly positive response, with only a couple of (entirely […]

  15. jeremy-dear,
    all the writing sounds rather jabberwock’isch’to me but knowing you a little it seems that you made a very honest decision for yourself and your TW-child.


    June 6, 2007 at 8:30 am

  16. Welcome! Looking forward to your workshop tomorrow.

    Kerry Buckley

    June 7, 2007 at 2:02 pm

  17. […] Tiddlywiki Acquired? Posted June 13, 2007 I was surprised to hear the BT acquired Tiddlywiki – one of my favorite tools. Actually, to be more accurate, they acquired Osmosoft. Jeremy Ruston, creator or Tiddlywiki, has been committed to the open source vision for Tiddlywiki and so BT basically acquired Jeremy. […]

  18. […] am very excited to be joining BT Osmosoft, an open source development group recently set up by BT and the creator of the excellent Tiddlywiki, Jeremy Ruston. I will be joining the team as […]

  19. […] now is the time to dip my toes into the other curious development platform of the Javascript world, TiddlyWiki. Posted in […]

  20. […] bringing in wiki and open source experience, in the shape of Jeremy Ruston. It makes perfect sense for BT to aggressively support OSS, given it wants to be be in the […]

  21. […] I’ve actually been learning more and more in the last few weeks as I see what my Facebook friends have been doing. I learned about tiddlywiki, and its founder Jeremy Ruston moving to BT. […]

  22. […] few months ago Jeremy Ruston, the creator of TiddlyWiki, joined British Telecom (BT) as their Head of Open Source Innovation and in the process, his company Osmosoft was acquired […]

  23. […] 13, 2008 Osmosoft is the team of a dozen people that I lead within BT. It is the result of BT buying my tiny open source company in May last year. To the consternation of their corporate finance people, they did this despite there being no […]

  24. […] had been at Osmosoft since it grew from a one man band into an open source innovations team at British Telecom, and had a terrific experience along the […]

  25. I guess someone has to say it for many of us. Sorry we did not have the finance to keep you independent. Hope you can do in your commercial position what you could not in your independent one. Real regards and sincere appreciation.


    November 21, 2009 at 12:38 pm

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