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From Sam Ruby <>
Subject Re: [RT] Incubator Reorg
Date Tue, 02 Dec 2003 17:00:18 GMT
Thanks for bringing up this question.

First and foremost, the incubator's focus should be on legal aspects. 
Do we have all the necessary rights to the code base?  Do all committers 
have the necessary CLA's signed.

I am getting nearly daily calls from IBM lawyers asking about one code 
base or another.  Recent lawsuits and kernel hacks have increased 
awareness of this important issue.

Pedigree of code is very important.  Do we know where every line of code 
came from?  How do we know this?  How are we sure?

Part of the assurances that I can give the lawyers comes from CLAs. 
Others from the peer review that cvs commits mailed to the mailing lists 
provide.  And there is the autidability that CVS provides.

Nicola noticed that code is being imported from codehaus into maven. 
While we welcome the code, how are we sure that the code is "clean" from 
an intellectual property perspective?  This does not need to be a big 
deal - it could be as simple as a signed statement from Jason being 
faxed to the ASF secretary, but having some audit trail here is important.

For this to work, the incubator needs to have teeth.  The ability to say 
no.  And people involved from every ASF project.

  = = =

A secondary, but nevertheless important issue, is one of infusing the 
ASF culture into projects.  Peer review, voting procedures, and the like.

Initially, I was very concerned about how the incubator was proceeding. 
  Instead of fostering independent communities, decisions and 
communication appeared to be centralized.

I am considerably less concerned now than I was before.  The current 
thinking is that independent communities are to be created, be allowed 
to grow, and are observed and nurtured.  IMHO, we need to be a little 
more careful not to be overbearing parents in such situations.  Always 
remember that the goal is to make the proposed project independ and self 

For that reason, I believe that there needs to be a clear distinction 
between PPMC members who are primarily observers and vetoers of last 
resort, and those who are active in the construction of the project.

One thing we have talked about is PPMC's.  This makes a lot of sense for 
things proposed as new ASF projects.  This makes considerably less sense 
for donations such as the ones that are coming into Maven.  The PMC is 
already established.  New committers may come online as a part of the 
donation, but that is standard operating procedure for PMCs.  As is the 
role of infusing the culture into the new committers.

- Sam Ruby

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