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From "Robert Burrell Donkin" <>
Subject [PROPOSAL] Apache RAT
Date Tue, 23 Oct 2007 19:59:09 GMT has been stable for a
while now so i'd like to throw it open to final scrutiny before i call
for a VOTE. (please don't vote yet ;-)

the name "RAT" has been discussed previously - see
RAT is a good name and popular but i'm still a little concerned that
there are existing open source projects named RAT as well as
commercial software containing RAT in their name. Apache aRAT has the
advantage of being unused but the disadvantage of being a common name
in some other languages. if anyone strongly disagrees with the
consensus that RAT is ok and prefers aRAT please jump in now.

- robert

Rat Proposal
RAT is comprehension and auditing for distributions and source code.

RAT will provide a focus for components, applications and integration
tools for the comprehension and audit of distributions and source
code. It will collect data and meta-data as required. It will create
suitable schemas for this data and meta-data as required.

RAT began as an attempt to automate the technical part of reviewing
releases in the incubator. Following requests for access from release
managers, RAT was developed as an open source project under the Apache
License 2.0.

Reviewing releases for compliance with Apache technical criteria and
policies is time consuming. The Incubator requires that all releases
are reviewed. Though small mistakes are common, this process typically
adds only a little value. It is common for candidates to be presented
with small but significant defects which then must be fixed and the
candidate represented. Significant energy and good will is wasted by
this process.

This is unnecessary. Given effort, these technical criteria are
capable of automation.

Automated continuous checking of the source would allow the Incubator
PMC to be alerted promptly to potential issues. Integration with build
tools (such as Apache Ant and Apache Maven) would allow releases to be
checked automatically and continuously.

Initial Goals
    * Read standard license meta-data for documents without license headers
    * Improved RAT reporting
    * RAT source reporting for major build tools
    * Continuous RAT
    * RAT analytics: using meta-data to verify rules
          o Apache third party documents policy analysis
          o license compatibility analysis
    * Discordia integration to allow distributed binaries to be recognised
    * RAT analytic integration for major build tools
    * Improved recursive RAT scripts for better analysis of release
with many distributables

Current Status
I'm very happy to move from a solo development model towards a
collective one as more active developers are recruited.

The RAT community needs to be developed. Having RAT here at Apache
will hopefully encourage release managers to take a more active role
in developing RAT.
Core Developers

It has been developed principally by myself but with significant
contributions of small amounts of code from other Apache members and

RAT has found itself becoming a standard part of the Apache release
infrastructure. The Incubator needs fully featured release tools. It
makes sense to bring the project here.

Known Risks
Orphaned Projects
This is a project with a set of definite goals aimed at serving the
wider Apache community. There may well come a time when the coding is
actually finished. It has a small set of developers who all have many
other calls on their time. The target user audience is relatively
small. So, this risk is real.

I think that it's clear that something similar to RAT is required. So,
unless another better product is developed, time will be found to push
RAT forward. Even if one day, RAT is orphaned then it will have done
it's job.

Inexperience With Open Source
The contributors are Apache members or experienced Apache committers.

Reliance On Salaried Developers
I know of no one who's paid to work on RAT.

Relationships with Other Apache Products
RAT contains an Ant reporting plugin. Codehaus hosts a Maven reporting
plugin. Analytic plugins for Ant and Maven will be developed. There
are overlaps with Tika and there has been some talk of collaboration.
The discordia lab will likely be used for license and artifact
meta-data. RAT may integrate with Gump for continuous code scanning.

Initial Source
    * [WWW]
    * [WWW]

External Dependencies
Compliant with current Apache policy.

Required to check signatures.

Required Resources
Mailing lists:

    * rat-private
    * rat-dev
    * rat-commits

Subversion Directory: [WWW]

Issue Tracking: JIRA (RAT)

Other Resources: Continuous integration may eventually required hardware

Initial Committers
    * Stefan Bodewig <bodewig AT>
    * Robert Burrell Donkin <rdonkin AT>
    * Nodet Guillaume <gnodet AT>
    * Garrett Rooney <rooneg AT>
    * Matthieu Riou <mriou AT>
    * Jochen Wiedmann <jochen AT>
    * Henri Yandell <bayard AT>

If any other existing Apache committers would like to be grandfathered
into the list then feel free to ask.

Robert Burrell Donkin


    * Yoav Shapira <yoavs AT guess ;)>
    * Ross Gardler <rgardler AT>

I would prefer mentors who have not been involved with RAT. This will
allow a more objective perspective. I doubt that supervision will be
too great a burden.

Sponsoring Entity
The final destination is still uncertain. If RAT accumulates code then
it is possible that a top level project would be appropriate. If RAT
pushes code out to other projects then it might make more sense as a
subproject of Maven or Gump. If RAT is finished before it creates a
viable community then it may make sense as an Incubator subproject.

So I would like to ask the Incubator PMC to sponsor RAT.

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