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From Brian Behlendorf <>
Subject Re: [VOTE] Graduate Derby from the incubator
Date Fri, 22 Apr 2005 15:55:14 GMT
On Fri, 22 Apr 2005, Geir Magnusson Jr. wrote:
> Well...  the three committer rule is (although there are exceptions for 
> corner cases...), but we have a bit of dissonance between how we are defining 
> "independent committer" here ( 
> Incubation_Policy.html#Minimum+Exit+Requirements) and the general Apache 
> custom of leaving our employers "at the door" and participating as 
> individuals who have earned their karma through individual merit and 
> demonstrated interest.  (Yes, in incubator one might argue that isn't the 
> case always...)

It's not so much "dissonance" as an exception.  In an incubating project, 
the developers are usually new to the ASF, and skipped the meritocracy 
step by virtue of association with the project before it entered Apache 
("here's the list of committers"). Therefore it's reasonable to ask the 
incubating project to prove that not only can they write code, but they 
can build an active multi-participant community.  If there really is still 
just one outside committer, then in my opinion the community has not yet 
passed that test; and rather than coding, those who care about that 
project should be advocating its existance to others, giving presentations 
at conferences, getting the middleware projects to support it as a peer to 
mysql and postgres, that sort of thing - all in the name of getting more 
outside involvement.

This is actually not limited to incubator projects - we've had issues 
before with projects whose committership was overwhelmingly from one 
employer.  The issue wasn't the employer corrupting the decisions of the 
employees so much as the employees communicating privately with each other 
because they could, leaving out other developers; it also meant they were 
not incented to reduce the learning curve on the code or document 
internals, which would have increased outside involvement.  The solution 
there is to slow down the pace of coding and do more community 
development, and ask "why are there so few other developers?".  Even if 
the project is widely, you should ask "why are so few users of this 
software interested in becoming developers?".

As others have said, what the ASF cares about is healthy developer 
communities; good code is a resulting byproduct.

> For example, we currently claim that an individuals ICLA is sufficient 
> representation of ability to contribute.  Is it?  Clearly, we are implicitly 
> stating here that it isn't - that there is some other binding on these 
> committers by their employer that puts the project health at the risk by the 
> employer.

No, we are not implicitly stating any such thing.  We're not calling 
developers liars or corporate drones, even implicitly.  We're saying the 
independent developer requirement is a litmus test for the ability of the 
initial developers to build a diverse community.  It's awful hard to fix 
that later on.

> In the end, I think it's a judgment call, rather than a hard and fast rule, 
> because I would hate to have to constantly be policing projects at the ASF 
> and sending them back to incubation if they failed to satisfy the 3 "legally 
> independent" committer rule.

We don't "send projects back to the incubator"; the incubator is not a 
jail or a punitive process or the only place where community development 
is done.  Those Who Care jump in and see what's going on if we hear 
something's wrong.  If projects can't solve their own problems to the 
satisfaction of the ASF membership, the board shuts them down.  Usually 
long, long after when it was needed.  :)


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