The Populous Project is (was?) an open source, student news content management system which received $275,000 from the Knight Foundation’s 2008 News Challenge. It was supposed to be the panacea for college media, solve all of our College Publisher woes, and offered everything but the kitchen sink. CoPress talked to Anthony and Dharmishta a few times in October 2008, was promised an alpha to play with later that fall, but the project shortly dropped completely off the radar.
What ever happened to the Populous Project, and the Knight Foundation’s smooth $275,000?
Questions I have about the project:
- What factors, specifically, contributed to the holdup in progression of the project? (e.g. lack of motivation, lack of pressure from the community, lack of powerful leadership)
- What happened to the money? (i.e. Did they spend it all? If so, on what. If not, what's left?)
- How far did they get before they completely stopped? (e.g. is there anything open-sourceable that others can continue working on even if the original team is done?)
- Do they plan to continue at some point? If so, what resources do they need in order to continue and how will they ensure it doesn’t fall off the radar again? If not, what about the money?!
- What has their interaction with the Knight Foundation been like since they got the money? (e.g. Has there been any pressure from TKF to continue the project?)
- What advice do they have for other Knight applicants to ensure a similar situation doesn’t happen to anyone else?
- On a related note, what recommendations do they have for TKF to better monitor project progression after the money is granted?