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From Stefano Mazzocchi <>
Subject Sun and the ASF [was Re: Marc Fleury reacts (Fw: [JBoss-dev] July 2003 news)]
Date Sun, 10 Aug 2003 08:35:44 GMT

On Sunday, Aug 10, 2003, at 01:13 Europe/Rome, Andrew C. Oliver wrote:

> Not so fast Danny,
> There are some issues you are apparently unaware of.
> I find it interesting that we would allow a JSR to be based on an ASF
> project to be licenses back under a non-opensource friendly license.  
> I find
> it interesting that we sit quietly while this JSR is run under NDA to 
> the
> severe detriment of the Jetspeed project (on which it is based).
> Its even more interesting that the TCK may not be available for 
> Jetspeed!
> (Sun has chosen for this JSR to be under the JCP 2.1 process as 
> opposed to
> 2.5).
> I was intrigued how my Microphone was cut during the "Independent look 
> at
> the Java Community Process" (formerly "Why The JCP is better than Open
> Source"), when I attempted to query on this issue despite the 
> objection of
> Jason Hunter. (I have witnesses)
> Its even more interesting that the ASF is allowing the "pluto.jar" to 
> be
> checked in despite the questions on its license.
> I would like more information regarding the operation of the JSR-168
> process; however, its under NDA.  Presumably if those privy were to 
> talk to
> me about it, as a member of the ASF, I'd probably be bound by said NDA.
> So I do feel that some concerns from those who question the 
> independence of
> the ASF are justified even if they do prove to be off base and I think
> you're remiss to dismiss them scornfully without studying the issue in
> greater detail.  I don't/didn't want to believe it, but there is some
> supporting evidence.  Granted it may be an illusion, but there is not 
> an
> overall appearance of propriety at the moment.
> I have other concerns that I cannot vent publicly as well.  I do not 
> plan to
> say more on this issue.


are you saying that the JCP isn't perfect? well, guess what, everybody 
coming from the open source already knows.

How this is related to the "Sun controls the ASF" is yet to be 

I have personally partecipated in four different JSR (that's probably a 
record) and I can tell you that only one of them was a good experience 
(the Servlet API JSR, when run by James Davidson). The other three were 
run as a political fight, most of the time, with vendors blocking API 
if they couldn't implement them in their current implementations of the 

The ASF made several mistakes in the past regarding the JCP, but it was 
*because* of the ASF that the changes between JCP 2.0, 2.1 and 2.5 
happened. What is good is that the JCP people are (slowly, corporate 
time, not open source time) willing to listen.

I have rumors that 2.65 will even more friendly to open source 
communities, allowing JSR lead to public a public draft as early as 
they can. This is very good news: if the draft is public, the NDA 
remains but it's bound only to what happens *inside* the group, while 
the API is publicly available for review as early as possible. I find 
this a *very* useful step forward. Sure, it won't be as open as open 
source, but, hey, there are much more issues on the table that open 
source doesn't care about.

And the interesting thing is that these suggestions come from 
corporations who are sick of other corporations playing political 
tricks to slow them down.

So, the JCP isn't perfect? agreed and Apache has been suggesting ways 
to "improve" it.

The ASF did mistakes with the JCP and is sometimes influenced by 
external pressure? yes, that is true, but it's not the ASF it's the 
communities that work on this. If the Jetspeed community is fine with 
the way the portlet API is handled, well, up to them. I personally, 
wouldn't touch that political mess with a stick, but should my personal 
opinion veto their ability to influence them?

Sun is controlling the ASF board? Sun has a strong business 
relationship with CollabNet, which is partially owned by Brian 
Behlendorf and employs Greg Stein.

That's how far it goes.

Is this enough to control apache? no, because you, I and many others 
who are not related to CollabNet in any way, are part of the decision 
making process.

You have partecipated in the discussions about Geronimo and you know 
that several people (myself included) presented valid points about 
potential problems in accepting Geronimo but they were resolved in a 
consensus process, which is the way the ASF does business.

Implying that a consensus process in more than 100 members can be 
influenced by a few members (even if highly respected) with reasonable 
arguments, is silly.

A single commercial entity can influence the view of those people 
affiliated with it (as happened to you, being affiliated with JBoss 
Group) and might trigger resonation with other people who share the 
same vision, but this *alone* is not enough to pressure everybody else 
to follow you.

Even admitting (and this is only an hypothesis, mind you) that a few 
key ASF individuals were influenced by external pressure, the ASF is 
today too big to be influenced by a single person without reasonable 

What convinced the ASF members that Geronimo was a good thing, were the 
reasonable arguments, not the reason why those arguments were proposed.

Are there things in apache that can be improved? you bet. there will 
always be and the more we become big, the harder it will be to change 
things (it's implicit in the social inertia of the system), but 
throwing FUD is not a way to help.

What we need is constructive criticism.

So, everyone that wants to give us that will be welcome.

The rest will just go by as social noise.


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