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From Raphaël Luta <>
Subject Re: ajax proposal?
Date Wed, 18 Jan 2006 09:31:45 GMT
Sam Ruby wrote:
> Raphaël Luta wrote:
>> Erik Abele wrote:
>>> It's just the initial code, nothing more :)
>> I don't agree with this statement.
>> The code itself is indeed only the initial codebase but along with
>> this codebase come an established group of committers with an
>> interest in keeping their current architecture or at least backward
>> compatibility
>> <snip>
>> I think my point is simply that in a code grant incubation
>> scenario, initial codebase and initial community *do* matter
>> because they'll act as natural forces towards stability and
>> are likely to shape the community and codebase for a long time.
> Hopefully, at some point, these somewhat abstract discussion of concerns
> that are relevant to all proposals will solidify into concrete concerns
> regarding this specific proposal.

I was simply in disagreement with Erik statement that initial code is
not that important. It's tangential to the actual zimbra proposal.

> Is code irrelevant?  That would be absurd.  That's why the code has been
> made available for all to download, inspect and comment on.
> I think a more neutral restatement of what Eric and Noel are trying to
> say is that while good communities always overcome bad code, no amount
> of good code can make up for a bad community.

While I more or less agree with this statement, I think that bad code can
prevent a good community from happening in the first place, especially
when good communities exist elsewhere.
<Disclaimer>I've not reviewed the code so that statement above does not
reflect any quality judgement on the proposed zimbra toolkit</Disclaimer>

> On the other had, Raphaël, I see you making implicit assumptions that
> the committers will have entrenched interests that will be difficult to
> overcome, and that the existing community is "mature".  What evidence do
> you have of that?  I'm sure that you can give examples of other
> communities where that was a problem, and I can give examples of other
> communities where that was NOT a problem.  What do either examples
> prove?  Nothing.
> What specific concerns do you have with this community and this codebase?

If we're talking explicitly about the Zimbra proposal, here's my current
understanding of the proposal :

Of the 4 "Criteria" listed in the proposal, only 1 is met by the proposal:
Alignment to ASF

All 3 others are filled with boilerplate statements that indicate:
- the project does not use at all a meritocratic model right now
- there's no community
- the core developers are strongly bound to a single entity with only Andy
  being easily traced to prior open source activity

Of the 6 warning signs listed:
- 1 is defintitely not met: the Zimbra toolkit is not an orphaned product
- 1 is possibly met: Inexperience with open-source, again 30 minutes of
  Googling for the zimbra team show little oss credentials
- 1 is probably met: fascination with Apache brand, but I'll admit it's a
  personal interpretation
- 3 are definitively met:
  - reliance on salaried developers
  - homogenous developers (I'll admit that IMO if the 2 are often linked)
  - no ties to other apache products

Additional personal expectations:
- the Zimbra collaboration suite uses the AjaxTk so there will be some
  backward compatibility burden attached to the codebase.
- if incubation is accepted, I expect a lot of PR noise around it due to
  hype surrounding AJAX and aggressive communication profile of Zimbra

Positive signs:
- the updated proposal has attempted to fix some of the issues raised after
  the first proposal that could be fixed (scope, number of initial committers)

Negative signs:
- the mentor for this project is salaried by the project sponsor !
- I can trace no public attempt to meet other possible user apache
  communities (myfaces, portals, cocoon, etc...) even after first proposal
- I see negative technical feedback on the proposal from ASF people I trust
  left unanswered

When you put all this together, you can understand I'm hardly enthusiastic
about this proposal.
What would change my opinion ?
2 must have:
- no PR before graduation
- an independant mentor
1 nice to have:
- some ties with a possible "downstream" community, possibly adding some
  of their committers in the initial committer pool

Raphaël Luta -
Apache Portals - Enterprise Portal in Java

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