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From Stefano Mazzocchi <>
Subject Time to rethink incubation? [was Re: [PROPOSAL] PMC Vote to incubate Directory Project]
Date Fri, 19 Sep 2003 12:48:41 GMT

On Friday, Sep 19, 2003, at 13:56 Europe/Rome, Rodent of Unusual Size 

> Nicola Ken Barozzi wrote:
>> Hence, if the sponsor, as we said, shall be an Apache member, he is
>> already legally "safe", and does not need to be on the PMC. I doubt 
>> that
>> an Apache member that does his first incubation is knowledgeble as a 
>> PMC
>> member that has seen more than one.
> actually, i can see a point in mentors/shepherds being on the pmc: they
> should be aware of procedural and policy discussions and decisions, and
> be able to provide input on how such will affect their podlings.

I still believe that the Incubation PMC doesn't make any sense at all.

The incubation PMC is seen by many (outsiders and insiders) as a 
useless PITA obstacle that the ASF decided to inflict to people to 
avoid rejecting projects alltogether.

                                  - o -

Let's get back to the beginning: do we need an incubator?

Well, I've been oscilatting back and forth on this with yes/no mindset 
for the last several years. I have a long history of incubating ASF 
efforts and I think I know what I'm talking about, but still, I'm not 

Anyway, since there *is* obviously expansion pressure, there must be a 
way to let this pressure be kept on range, otherwise the foundation 
will blow up from the inside.

The question is: do we need "incubating practices" or an "incubation 
facility". I'm more and more convinced that we need practices and 
somebody that helps with them more than facilities.

                                   - o -

Is this incubation facility a project?

No, damn. It's not. An ASF project is such when it produces code. The 
incubator is not a project, it's a task force, a service, a committee 
(much like the licensing, security and infrastructure committee)

                                   - o -

How should this incubator work?

They way it works today, people, it's flawed, it's useless, 
counterproductive and painful.

Lenya, for example, is under incubation, but it's hosted on They recently had a legal problem. Which PMC is 
responsible for this? cocoon's or the incubator's? Who is to blame? 
Who, from the incubator PMC is watching over the cocoon PMC shoulders 
to know that everybody is doing just fine?

The incubation oversight should be performed by the PMC that is going 
to host that project, following the "incubation guidelines".

This worked magnificently well for, jakarta and xml. 
Why shouldn't work anymore?

The rationale is simple: volunteers work best if they have an itch to 
scratch. Tell me: any of the incubation PMC members had any itch to 
scratch about Lenya becoming an apache project? I'm sure not. So, do 
you really think you can help them more than the cocoon PMC can?

can I point out that some people on the PMC have *no* proven record of 
successful community bootstrapping? was that skill required in order to 
have a seat on that PMC? [no, one just had to volunteer for it]

                                      - o -

Here is my proposal:

1) dismantle the incubation PMC

2) create an incubation committee, responsible of the creation and 
oversight of the "incubation guidelines", and provides help and 
suggestions for those PMC that are going thru incubation and need help 
in the process

3) incubation proposals have to come from the various PMCs and are 
discussed with the "incubation committee" before approval

[note: the fact that there is no single 'point of incubation entrance' 
should allow incubation proposals to arrive only when people already 
have a sponsor in the PMC]

This would allow the foundation to grow, yet remove the silly artifacts 
that this incubation PMC created.



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