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From David Reid <>
Subject re: a few steps before approving a project
Date Sun, 04 Sep 2005 07:24:12 GMT
Cliff asked me to reply on this subject following the discussions on
board@. I'm not trying to interfere, just add some thoughts from someone
sitting on the outside looking in.

> 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.

I don't think anyone but yourselves knows the answer to this.

> - 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.

I actualy thought you'd have already have done this! Having a standard
template should make it easier for both the people submitting and the
people doing the evaluating.

> - 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.

When people submit a proposal they've invested their time and effort in
getting to that point, and they probably know the projects that are
related in the open source (and probably commercial) world quite well.
Asking them to list them and give some background about where the
proposed project will sit seems like a logical step and one that will
help those making the evaluation consider the wider ramifications.

As Cliff says, I don't think a proposal should be rejected just because
there is a similar project in existance, but knowing about the other
projects makes it easier to judge the merits and likely impact of the

> - 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.

If you think people have the time then sure, but honestly who has the
time for this level of interaction on a regular enough basis that it
would take for it to work?

> - 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).

This seems like a good idea as well.

> 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.

Your actions in the incubuator don't occur in a vacumn :-)


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