The SPIP charter, for instance, which outlines the principles for contributing to the project, explicitly states the following values: "to promote freedom of expression for all on the Internet," "a mistrust of money," and "the respect of everyone's identities" (translation by myself).
In some aspects, the differences between SPIP and Symfony also map the "free software versus open source" controversy that is very present in the free/open source community (Stallman, 2009).
I then continue by analyzing two debates, one in SPIP and another in Symfony, where the configuration of users is debated.
Whereas all the code, comments, and documentation in Symfony are written in English, the writing of source code in SPIP looks more like a mixture of both French and English.
The fact that SPIP is largely unknown outside of France, whereas Symfony is well known, is at least partly linked to their respective choice of language.
php, in SPIP names should describe the file's function using a relevant French verb (configurer: to configure, charger_plugin: to charge plug-in).
In SPIP, however, the charter forbids the promotion of a commercial enterprise in the course of the project.
On the other hand, SPIP is often criticized for the messiness of its source code (one actor of SPIP qualified it as "not very beautiful") and the fact that it avoids the more "modern" programming practices, such as "design patterns" or object-oriented programming.
SPIP was born at the turn of the millennium when Web programming was still in its infancy and best practices were not yet stabilized.
In 2008, a blog post and subsequent comments criticizing SPIP received a strong reaction from one important SPIP contributor (who also happens to be a university professor in theoretical computer science).
SPIP is a collaborative project that aims to be open to as many people as possible; therefore, imposing to those who want to collaborate an encyclopedic knowledge of computer languages and practices goes against its objectives.
These debates surround the choices of format and language used to configure web interfaces, in SPIP and Symfony.