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From Stefan Bodewig <>
Subject Topics for Talk at FOSS Backstage Micro-Summit in Berlin
Date Wed, 01 Nov 2017 09:51:26 GMT

as I've already told some of you I'll be talking at the FOSS Backstage
Micro-Summit in less than three weeks[1]

I'll be talking about learnings from 17 years of Ant and the challenges
of aging open source projects.

I'll claim that to the best of my knowledge nobody of us has ever been
payed to work on Ant - we have created occasional patches during working
hours but nobody was payed to work on Ant full time. Am I wrong?

This is what I've planned right now (apart from an intro to Ant) is
there anything you think I should also add?

* Ant filled a void and was the right idea at the right time

  This means I have no clue what it takes to form a community as we've
  simply been lucky.

* "every release of Ant breaks my builds"

  The roots of our backwards compatibility mantra and some things we
  consider best practices now (and maybe we've overreacted)

* the Ant2 fiasco

  I'll try to be objective and point out the dangers of forking the

* the power of user lists and the value of non-coding contributors

  To me the user list has been instrumental in forming a community
  beyond the committers and helped recruit new committers. I must
  admit that I'm not sure how te replicate its success with the Stack
  Overflow world we now live in.
* dealing with "drive-by contributions"

  How the amount of tasks shipping with Ant we couldn't maintain grew,
  how we tried to solve the problem with antlibs - and how the later may
  be responsible for decrease of contributions and influx of fresh
* the missed opportunity of dependency management

  Could something like Ivy have saved the world when introduced when
  it was first discussed? Why didn't we do it? IMHO Maven Central was
  more important that Maven (or Ivy could have been) for dependency
  management to work and it took a company with commercial interest to
  create it.

* Aging project

  Running out of itches to scratch. Very little easy tasks remain to
  be done. Finding new contrubutors becomes very difficult (and we may
  be making it hard for new folks to join). Committers age as well,
  prepare for losing them.



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if anybody is interested in coming along and chat.

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