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From Cliff Schmidt <>
Subject a few steps before approving a project
Date Wed, 31 Aug 2005 18:01:29 GMT
I'd like to suggest a few changes to the process of approving new
project proposals.  The purpose of these changes would be to allow the
ASF to consider big picture issues related to the acceptance of new
projects into the Incubator, which isn't as likely to happen with our
current set of rules where any of our 30+ PMCs can approve a new
project for incubation and where the Incubator PMC itself has a pretty
informal process for evaluating new proposals.

Here are some of the ideas I have in mind (note that some are
dependent on the implementation of others):

- change the Incubator PMC charter (not that we have a official
charter) to include approving of all new projects, so that once a
sponsor PMC (if not the Incubator PMC) approves a new project, the
Incubator PMC still has to give a final approval.

- ensure all proposals use the same standard template -- we've
recently gotten proposals that simply copied some other proposal they
saw -- we're not really making sure that any one set of standard
questions is answered.

- add a question to the template asking whether the person(s)
proposing are aware of similar open source projects inside or outside
the ASF.  I'm not suggesting that a project wouldn't get approved if
there is some similar high profile open source project, but at least
we are explicitly asking the question and getting the information.

- consider having a formal liaison at a few key external open source
communities to give a friendly notice to whenever the Incubator PMC
knows there's a proposal that could be controversial.   This really
only works if we add the new proposal question mentioned above and
create a more centralized process of looping the Incubator PMC in
*before* a project is approved.

- require that the Incubator PMC loops in the PRC on any project that
could have any chance of media attention (either because of the
overall significance of the project, the potential for controversy,
expected vendor press releases, or the opportunity to release a joint
statement with some other organization).

I really don't want to add more process than necessary, but as the
ASFs importance continues to grow, I think there a few issues that
should be addressed with each new project, and I'm hoping steps like
these could help that to happen.  Of course, an incubating project
isn't an officially endorsed ASF project, but we still call it "Apache
foo" and it's certainly perceived by the outside as being an action by
the ASF when it is accepted for incubation.

BTW, the XMLBeans PMC just voted to add a single member to the PMC,
and even that required a 72-hour wait after getting Board
acknowledgement (which is fine with me)....why should there be
fewer checks to get an entire project approved?


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