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From "Ted Husted" <>
Subject Re: Top Reason to join the ASF (or not)
Date Mon, 13 Nov 2006 12:13:54 GMT
On 11/10/06, Henri Yandell <> wrote:
> And yet it seems very attractive. Visibility makes it a lot easier for
> communities to grow. Maybe not for a SourceForge success story, but
> definitely for smaller projects. Brand recognition the same.

We have our share of projects with small (but active) communities. And
there are a lot of products outside of the ASF that are wildly

I'd say that the "ASF mystique" is a myth that would should avoid
propogating. I get the feeling that some people come here believing
that if they join the ASF, their backwater project will suddenly gain
recognition. It won't. It's not about the ASF brand, it's about the
character of the individual community.

As a three-time survivor of the incubator guantlet, I would say that
coming here and navigating the incubator can make a project stronger.
But, it's the project that does the work, not the ASF name.

> > > 2. Technical infrastructure
> Googleforge is limited. Sourceforge has a bad QoS record and I'll
> choose JIRA over their issue system any day. is slow (a
> friend just got a project approved...after about 3 months) and I
> dislike how I have to log in to do a lot of things there. tigris is
> domain-focused. I don't know of opensymphony/objectweb/codehaus
> incubators, they're more word of mouth I think.
> If I need to share infra, Apache is high on the list. Instead of
> asking "Why would someone come to Apache?", we could ask "Why does
> Apache exist?". Shared resources would seem to be one of those
> answers.

Except that people expect infrastructure to be a free lunch, which,
here, it isn't.

We have an infrastructure because we need an infrastructure to
accomplish our core mission. But anyone who is coming here primarily
for the technical infrastructure should turn around now. That's not
what we are about. We're about the *cultural* infrastructure.

As it says in the FAQ, our mission is to "provide a foundation for
open, collaborative software development projects", the rest is a
means to that end.

My concern is that we might be failing to communicate to incubator
candidates that the point of joining the foundation is to help support
our mission --- not to be supported *by* our mission.

(Am I saying that its all about us? Yes, I am. There's no free lunch here.)

> > > 3. Less responsiblity
> Another reason to come here. We have shared legal responsibility (or
> at least it's perceived that way); if I'm on the up and up and I do
> something here, it's not just me being sued.

Anyone could setup a corporation to hold the copyright and act as a
legal shield. Other projects, like FreeMarker and Dojo have done
exactly that. Sure, it's a *fringe* benefit of joining the ASF. But it
should not be a prime motivator.

Legal exposure aside, responsibility is one of our core values. When
we +1 a release, we are not just saying the bits are joyful, we are
pledging to support the release, at least to the best of our ability.
Each PMC (not the ASF) is responsible for handling the day to day
management of the project, or for finding other individuals who can.
If a project dies, it's the fault of the PMC, not the ASF.

Likewise, the Members are responsible for the Foundation. We aren't
just "the help". The Members *are* the Foundation, and its our joint
responsibility to oversee everything that the Foundation does, at
least to the best of our individual abillities.

By joining the foundation, we would hope that at least some of the
project volunteers willl go on to become Members, and accept
responsibility for the Foundation. But, up front, I'm not sure that we
are communicating our implicit hope that every committer will become a
Member, and that we all share responsiblity for the Foundation.


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