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From "Craig R. McClanahan" <>
Subject Re: cvs commit: jakarta-ant/lib - New directory
Date Tue, 28 Nov 2000 04:34:03 GMT
Jon Stevens wrote:

> Somehow checking in the .jar's for Turbine has solved the low cost of entry
> problem quite nicely. Maybe you should try doing something; that is known to
> work; in your project as well to see what happens. :-)

I would suggest that you consider a different "cause" to the happy "effect" that
you are observing (people find it easy to download and install Turbine).  The
cause I would nominate is that you started distributing the all-in-one download
"Turbine Development Kit".  (The same cause/effect happens with Cocoon now that
an all-in-one download is available).

Note that the availability of the TDK as an all-in-one thing is not directly
related to whether or not the JAR files are actually in the CVS repository or not
-- rather, it depends only on the creation of a source distribution (by someone
who is willing to
take the time to create a cron job to do so) that includes the appropriate JAR

The only people who will observe a difference between these two approaches are
those who use direct CVS access *and* want to compile your project (as opposed to
just using it) in order to contribute to it.

As an experiential point of reference, the vast majority of Tomcat downloaders
want only the binary distribution (which has all the JAR files they need except
JSSE -- you wouldn't *believe* the US government paperwork it would take to solve
that one) even though these JAR files are not included in the CVS repositories.
Result:  Download a JDK + download a Tomcat binary ==> happy user.

For people interested in the sources, the Tomcat community subdivides into two

* Those who want to actively participate in Tomcat development.

* Those who want to understand what is going on, so they can provide
  more useful bug reports.

The former group does need to go to a little more effort (clearly described in
the README files in the top-level directory of the source directory).
<personal-opinion>The ability to set up a build environment succesfully, once, is
a pretty good filter for potential committer candidates :-)</personal-opinion>

The latter group has generated a surprisingly large number of bug reports, and
suggested patches, because we include the majority of the source tree in the
"src" directory of even the binary distributions -- not unlike the JDK releases.

The net-net of the long-winded comments above is that ease-of-use (with the
corresponding increase in participation) is a result of the distribution format
more than it is based on whether JAR files are included in the CVS repositories
or not.

I believe that it is possible to accomplish the same desired results in a
different way -- create a *source distribution* (on some reasonable schedule like
nightly) that includes all the things you might want or need.  This helps the
casual developer who might be looking to get involved, without causing grief for
the experienced developer who knows what he is doing and gets royally screwed
when you include an incompatible version of a dependent project in your CVS tree.

> -jon

Craig McClanahan

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