ant-dev mailing list archives

Site index · List index
Message view « Date » · « Thread »
Top « Date » · « Thread »
From Builds-R-Us <>
Subject Re: So, The Show Must Go On
Date Wed, 17 Jan 2001 14:06:47 GMT
I've never been involved in an open source project, even at
the periphery as I've done so far. So these observations based
on other projects may not hold... but, for what it's worth...

Two generic observations about sucessful software projects:

1. Truly great software is the result of one person's vision. Call
     that person the visionary. Then, a team of developers (the missionaries)
     work with the visionary to carry out the vision. Along the way the
     missionaries and visionary will have discussions, differences of opinion,
     and debate. But the final say is always in the hands of the visionary to
     ensure the integrity and consistency of the vision. Of course, as time
     passes, the visionary may update and improve the vision as a result
     of these interactions with the missionaries.

2. Everyone on the team learns as the project progresses, and the
    software is radically re-written several times, if not completely
    thrown out and a fresh start made using the team's experience.

In reading the following, keep in mind I'm talking about the process,
not the individuals. I have a great deal of respect and admiration
for all those who've contributed to ant, because it has made my
life much easier, and made our project more productive.

Having said that... maybe the visionary paradigm doesn't work in open source. But Ant
still needs to have some sort of  vision of what it should be, and so far it seems
that the committee approach has not succeeded in achieving a unified vision.
Or if it has, I missed it...

I hate to see anyone have to walk away, but the visionary approach does have
it's drawbacks. For one, the visionary may not get anyone to buy into the vision.
That's not true here, because we can see how many have already benefited from

Or, as time passes, some of the missionaries become enlightened and have their
own vision. It's rare that a team of missionaries can follow multiple visionaries -
there can only be one - so strife ensues, a shake out occurs, and one visionary
is "victorious". At least in the open source world, the 'losing' visionaries can
just go set up another shop and recruit a new set of missionaries. And, I
used quotations because I don't really mean that somone WON and others
LOST, I just needed some words to describe the process... in a sense, we
all lose, because progress stops during the period of strife, but the community
wins in the long run, because each visionary and their team of missionaries make
something useful available to the world.

So, having rambled on philosophically for way too long, what's my point???

Well, it appears we have been going through the 'period of strife'. Now
we have to decide whether the missionaries as a whole can define a
vision that they are all happy with, or whether a visionary has to
emerge to define the vision and lead the missionaries.

As several others proposed, we need to get Ant 1.3 out the door,
then decide on the vision, and build the vision, even if it means
completely throwing out everything and starting over.

View raw message