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From Geir Magnusson Jr. <>
Subject Re: [VOTE] Graduate Derby from the incubator
Date Sat, 23 Apr 2005 03:41:12 GMT

On Apr 22, 2005, at 11:55 AM, Brian Behlendorf wrote:

> On Fri, 22 Apr 2005, Geir Magnusson Jr. wrote:
>> Well...  the three committer rule is (although there are exceptions 
>> for corner cases...), but we have a bit of dissonance between how we 
>> are defining "independent committer" here 
>> ( 
>> Incubation_Policy.html#Minimum+Exit+Requirements) and the general 
>> Apache custom of leaving our employers "at the door" and 
>> participating as individuals who have earned their karma through 
>> individual merit and demonstrated interest.  (Yes, in incubator one 
>> might argue that isn't the case always...)
> It's not so much "dissonance" as an exception.  In an incubating 
> project, the developers are usually new to the ASF, and skipped the 
> meritocracy step by virtue of association with the project before it 
> entered Apache ("here's the list of committers"). Therefore it's 
> reasonable to ask the incubating project to prove that not only can 
> they write code, but they can build an active multi-participant 
> community.  If there really is still just one outside committer, then 
> in my opinion the community has not yet passed that test; and rather 
> than coding, those who care about that project should be advocating 
> its existance to others, giving presentations at conferences, getting 
> the middleware projects to support it as a peer to mysql and postgres, 
> that sort of thing - all in the name of getting more outside 
> involvement.
> This is actually not limited to incubator projects - we've had issues 
> before with projects whose committership was overwhelmingly from one 
> employer.  The issue wasn't the employer corrupting the decisions of 
> the employees so much as the employees communicating privately with 
> each other because they could, leaving out other developers; it also 
> meant they were not incented to reduce the learning curve on the code 
> or document internals, which would have increased outside involvement. 
>  The solution there is to slow down the pace of coding and do more 
> community development, and ask "why are there so few other 
> developers?".  Even if the project is widely, you should ask "why are 
> so few users of this software interested in becoming developers?".
> As others have said, what the ASF cares about is healthy developer 
> communities; good code is a resulting byproduct.

I agree with everything you said and had thought about noting the 
exception of people bring brought in en-masse in the beginning of an 
incubated project so my post wouldn't invite someone feeling they had 
to type it....

But you did state well what I was trying to get at - that the real 
issue we should be concerned about is if the people that already have 
commit status (especially the set of people that came at the start) get 
the "Apache Way", and also as important [to me] is if the community in 
general surrounding the codebase "gets it".  As I read the sentiment on 
this thread, the whole issue will apparently just go away by adding a 
single committer to Derby that doesn't work for IBM or Gluecode.  I 
don't get that.

I'm not trying to make it harder for anyone to get out of incubation 
(or easier), but the rule seems to be insufficient for our intent.  The 
problem is that it's darn hard to measure.  I wonder if we could put 
the onus on the mentors/champions/shepherds, although that would come 
with it's own set of problems.

>> For example, we currently claim that an individuals ICLA is 
>> sufficient representation of ability to contribute.  Is it?  Clearly, 
>> we are implicitly stating here that it isn't - that there is some 
>> other binding on these committers by their employer that puts the 
>> project health at the risk by the employer.
> No, we are not implicitly stating any such thing.  We're not calling 
> developers liars or corporate drones, even implicitly.  We're saying 
> the independent developer requirement is a litmus test for the ability 
> of the initial developers to build a diverse community.  It's awful 
> hard to fix that later on.

Agreed, but how do you define "independent developer"?  Via the ICLA, 
I'm legally declaring to you that I'm an independent developer....

>> In the end, I think it's a judgment call, rather than a hard and fast 
>> rule, because I would hate to have to constantly be policing projects 
>> at the ASF and sending them back to incubation if they failed to 
>> satisfy the 3 "legally independent" committer rule.
> We don't "send projects back to the incubator";

Yes, yes... I forgot the smiley....

>  the incubator is not a jail or a punitive process or the only place 
> where community development is done.  Those Who Care jump in and see 
> what's going on if we hear something's wrong.  If projects can't solve 
> their own problems to the satisfaction of the ASF membership, the 
> board shuts them down.  Usually long, long after when it was needed.  
> :)

Well, it can't be said that we don't give people chances... :)


Geir Magnusson Jr                                  +1-203-665-6437

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