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From Stefano Mazzocchi <>
Subject Re: proposal: modify incubation application process to require a reference to the code itself
Date Mon, 12 Jul 2004 21:10:44 GMT
Noel J. Bergman wrote:

> As I see it, community is our concern.  Either we have a strong community
> coming in, or we believe that we have the ability to form one around some
> catalyst.
> If we are accepting a contribution based upon its community, the quality of
> its code is probably not a pre-determining criteria, and we would be
> unlikely to terminate the project when we do see it.  On the other hand,
> perhaps we might have a group of ASF people interested in some problem
> domain, but who feel that without a major starting point, the ramp up effort
> is too great.  Someone comes along and proposes to contribute a starting
> point.  In that scenario, the code could be an important desiderata, and we
> do risk terminating the project if the community decides that the seed isn't
> strong enough.
> That said, if there are ASF Members who want to incubate a project, I would
> prefer that we give them a chance to succeed, even if the endeavor
> ultimately fails.  I don't share the concern that "it's code that the ASF
> will become responsible for maintaining."  I don't see that we have an
> obligation to maintain a failed project, although I would put the CVS
> tarball in the archives, or preferably just do an svn remove, as an audit
> trail.  Nor do I believe that there is any requirement for the Incubator to
> expend extraordinary efforts to make a project successful beyond that which
> ASF Members are willing to contribute as mentors.
> An IP pre-review could cause a problem.  IP made available for review would
> have to be free of encumbrances.  We do not want a situation where people
> who have reviewed it become tainted.  Certainly that can be the case if the
> license were a proprietary one, but it does not seem to matter if the
> license is an OSI-approved one or not.  Claims can be made based upon (L)GPL
> as easily as upon more classically recognized proprietary licenses.  So, no,
> I do not agree that "any legal mechanism that provides for anyone in the
> community to conveniently read the source should be acceptable, even if the
> license restricts distribution, for instance."  If you want it in blunt
> terms, I would not want to see a situation where someone can poison the
> well.  IANAL, but until we have an encumbrance-free contribution, I don't
> believe that anyone, including prospective mentors, should be reviewing it.
> And since the contributor may not want to sign the Software Grant until a
> decision has been made to accept the project, if we make it a *requirement*
> to review the code prior to Incubation, we could have a Catch-22.
> Therefore, since I feel that we could have valid reasons for accepting a
> project without a prior review, and since performing a prior review could
> create problems, I'm not sure that we want to make this a mandate, and lose
> a perfectly good project.

I resonate with Noel.


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