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From "Robert Burrell Donkin" <>
Subject Re: Projects in trouble or otherwise needing help
Date Fri, 16 Nov 2007 23:31:44 GMT
On Nov 15, 2007 12:32 AM, James Margaris <> wrote:
> I am one of the pimary committers on XAP. As far as the board report, I just plain missed
it until it was too late.

hi james

> As far as the community building is concerned, yes the lists are basically dead. However
work does continue on the project, for better or worse.
> Part of the reason I stopped using the lists is that substantive responses were rare.
The only thing I ever got comments on were things like naming and copyright notices.

most podlings struggling on the stuff like that (so that's why i
posted on those topics) but i probably should have focussed more on
community building...

> Of course that is a chicken and egg problem to some degree, there is no community so
nobody uses the lists to discuss so there is no community.

the list is very good for users: polite, prompt replies by experts are
typical. until someone who's interested in development shows up, this
limits the scope for discussion.

> It would help me if someone could help me understand how to make XAP more appealing and
interesting to the Apache community. Is the problem that there are no good samples and demos?
The website isn't good? Nobody understands what the point is?

i admit that i've been a little bit perplexed - everything i've seen
is good (maybe even too good)

but the key audience is not the apache community (typically,
developers have more interests than energy to pursue them) but new
independent developers from outside apache. it's this mix which makes
developing@apache cool - it's great to work on a project with people
scattered across the globe united by shared enthusiam for a
technology. if you have a little time, review the tika archives: jukka
and bertrand are members and understand community building but tika
really didn't start kicking off until an independent developer showed

> I like discussing technical issues with people but I don't like posting technical thoughts
only to be met consistently by silence. At that point it becomes busywork, just going through
the motions for the sake of appearances.

if it's just going through the motions then it will be useless

but open source projects @ apache only succeed when there are people
who not only love to write cool software but also people who love to
share cool software with others. the open source space is now very
crowded: it's hard to get heard.

talking about a project is a good way to get other people enthused.
should be easy enough - XAP has some interesting and unusual features
and AJAX is hot.

blogs can be a useful side channel. is widely
read and open to all apache committers. if you don't have a blog,
jroller (for example) is read by a lot of java people.

> The XAP project is not like projects like Kabuki that never did any development and never
responded on the lists. There is active development and if someone ever posted to the lists
I'm sure someone would respond.


> Right now posting on the lists feels like playing to an empty theater.

i can appreciate why you say this. i prefer to think of it as
conductive a monologue ;-)

apache is highly ranked and the mailing lists well archived and
indexed. each post is recorded and nothing wasted. words build a
community. engineer the process for serendipity.

- robert

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