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From Rob Vesse <>
Subject Re: Instead of a Bill how about a Booklet? (was Re: [DISCUSS] PodlingBillOfRights)
Date Thu, 20 Jun 2013 16:40:05 GMT

Having also come to Apache by joining a now graduated podling (Apache
Jena) I like the idea of a "What to expect" document and agree with pretty
much everything that you lay out here.  I think people outside of Apache
often don't appreciate how a volunteer organization operates and many of
your points describe this in terms new folks can understand, as you
highlight Apache is not that different from many other organizations in
many respects.

I would suggest maybe adding a further point emphasizing the time aspect
you raised in your previous email

4A) Don't forget that people here are geographically distributed and may
be in very different timezones.  There may be a significant lag between
sending a communication and the intended recipient(s) even reading it, yet
alone having the time to actually act upon it.  A communication sent first
thing in the morning in your timezone may arrive in the middle of the
night for the recipient(s) so be prepared to wait for a response.

I think those of us who work in the US or for multi-national companies get
used to dealing with timezones and tend to forget that a lot of people
come from countries where there is only one timezone.


On 6/20/13 9:22 AM, "Alex Harui" <> wrote:

>Hi,  As a newbie, I've generally quietly watched from the sidelines, but
>now I'm jumping in.
>+1 about "expectations" vs "rights".  In fact, it occurred to me that a
>booklet or pamphlet more like the "What to expect whenŠ" book would be
>better.  IMO, correctly set expectations make for happier people.  Here is
>my draft of  "What to expect when you enter the Apache Incubator".
>1)  Apache is staffed by volunteers, and a few paid, but overworked IT
>folks known as Infra.  As such, there is a very good chance that you will
>get different answers from different respondents, and responses may be
>delayed.  This is not like your paid corporate job where there is
>administration and infrastructure whose mind-share is fully dedicated to
>serving you.
>2) Apache has been around long enough and is large enough to have its own
>culture, with its own societal rules and tribal history.   Lots of it is
>written down, but it is hard to find.  Try to remember the last time you
>started at a new company or team or club and how, even though there were
>documents to read, there was always important stuff that you had to learn
>some other way.  Apache is no different, but with volunteers, even less is
>written down, and people's recollections of history can vary widely and
>nobody is paid to serve your needs except Infra which is overloaded.
>3) Some folks are quiet, some are noisy, some complain, some are
>optimistic.  If you've worked on a large team, you've probably found this
>to be true on that team as well.  Success usually comes from finding out
>which folks you deal with are of which personality type, and how best to
>work with those people.
>4) Often you just have to be patient.  Pick your battles.  Prioritize your
>needs.  Ask politely once for really important things, then plead again a
>few days later.
>5) Learn how to use an internet search engine.  Try to find information
>before you ask.  The results may be hard to understand or confusing and be
>careful about reading snippets without taking in some of the larger
>context.  But then your question will be better defined.  Bonus if you can
>quote a web page as part of your question.
>6) Some folks want there to be a "bill of rights", but you don't have any
>"rights" because there are no authority figures at Apache to enforce those
>rights.  Any "violations" have to be dealt with "socially".  You can seek
>help from the IPMC or even the board, but even they are volunteers and
>will try to address the problem socially as well.  You can expect and
>demand respectful discourse, but sometimes tempers will boil over.  That
>happens in many workplaces, homes and other gatherings of people.  Expect
>it here as well, even more so sometimes, as there are relatively few
>face-to-face encounters to encourage civility and limit chances of
>7) Your mentors may get too busy to follow the details of activity in your
>podling.  Use the [MENTOR] tag in the subject to try to catch their
>attention.  Escalate to the Incubator IPMC if they still don't have time
>to respond.
>8) Embrace diversity.  Every podling is a little bit different and your
>new podling may not exactly match up against existing documentation or
>prior history.  Ask for guidance, keep in mind that answers may vary, and
>make your decision keeping these things in mind.
>A) The primary goal is to cover your and Apache's butt legally.  This may
>require you to change build scripts and release packages in  a way that is
>painful for you and your customers.
>B) Apache only officially releases source code.  This may be a pain point
>for any existing customers used to downloading binary packages.
>C) At Apache, open source isn't just about making released source code
>available.  It is about trying to get the community involved early and
>often before the source code is "release-ready".
>9) Expect the unexpected.  Sometimes, a document you find may be
>out-of-date, and/or mention things that don't apply to you and when you
>ask about it, you'll get a totally surprising answer.
>10) Expect a ton of email.  The temptation will be to unsubscribe from
>some of the lists you are told to subscribe to, but it is important to
>learn how to filter out stuff and skim other stuff as it helps you learn
>about the people and personalities you will be dealing with
>post-graduation on occasion, and if you end up on your project's PMC, you
>will be responsible for mining important information from that email
>Now this may seem like it should make you run away screaming, but it all
>adds up to one thing:  This is the "cost" of getting a group of volunteers
>to provide free software to a community of developers and users. You are
>doing a good deed by coming to Apache.  You could just go to GitHub, but
>Apache provides some legal and logistical processes that should make your
>customers feel more secure that the code you want to work on will be
>available to the customer "forever" without fear that some individual can
>disappear and sink the whole ship, or some legal issue will arise later.
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