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From Louis Tribble <>
Subject Re: Whoa Bessie... Was -- Re: [Proposal] AntFarm
Date Mon, 18 Dec 2000 19:33:21 GMT
James Duncan Davidson wrote:
> On 12/15/00 5:25 PM, "Peter Donald" <> wrote:
> > you may have noticed I just checked in a proposal AntFarm. It was developed
> > by Matt Foemmel <> and is a different approach to
> > both other proposals.
> Ok, so that makes how many?
> I have to admit that I'm a bit disturbed by the number of proposals here.
> It's interesting to see that *so* many people have so many different takes
> on what Ant should be.

> <major snip>

> Yes, I'm being selfish here. Full disclosure time -- I've been approached
> and am going to write a book for O'Reilly on Ant. I want that book to be
> about Ant the way I see it. And I want to protect these benefits of coming
> up with Ant that I've got. And I don't see anything wrong with that.
> Otherwise, I should've just released Ant off of and set it up as
> Open Source there. But that would have been stupid since the last thing that
> we want to do at Apache is have our developers feel that they can't code
> here.
> So, what do you think? Am I being an arrogant pig? Or do these rights matter
> to Apache developers? If these rights don't matter, should I just ask for
> the copyright to AntEater back so that I can go fork the code and do it
> elsewhere as a castway from the ASF? (which, btw, would be pretty weird
> since I'm an officer of the Foundation).

Hi James,

I'm speaking as a long-time lurker and occasional poster:

I saw the month or two of chaos when there were essentially no active 
committers. Sam Ruby nominated some solid people before completely 
disappearing and they picked up the pieces, got Ant to a respectable 
1.1. release, and facilitated a very inclusive and constructive mailing 
list dialog which has carried Ant forward while not discarding its
original goals. Ant 1.2 improved many things and it was clearly 
articulated that major changes/improvements were slated for Ant 2.0 
early next year. 

The main reason I'm writing is that some of your recent messages have 
sounded as though that recent history did not exist and it's bothered 
me a bit. Like overhearing a dad visiting his kid off at college still 
treating him like the fifteen year old he used to be. Stefan, Conor, 
Peter, Glen, Jose Alberto, Matt, and all the others (sorry to leave out 
names) that have contributed code and dialog deserve better.

It seems clear to me that whether AntEater is developed to where it
can replace the current code base, or whether the good ideas of 
AntEater (and other proposals) are incorporated into the current code 
base, Ant 2.0 is going to be a cool and useful tool worthy of an 
O'Reilly book. I don't see how the latter path makes your book any 
less valuable than the former path (maybe you don't get to say "I" as
often :-).

I do believe that an Ant 2.0 that ignores Ant's recent history and
ignores the other proposals will not be as good as one that respects
it. Take AntFarm, for example. ThoughtWorks makes _heavy duty_ use
of Ant, from what I can tell, and I expect that AntFarm reflects that
experience and should be carefully considered (further, Matt
contributed the BuildListener patches, which were themselves a major

A build tool is used in so many different contexts that one developer
can't possibly support all that's needed. It has to be a community

Thanks for reading,
Louis Tribble

Louis Tribble                               
Metamata, Inc.                         
Tools for serious Java developers.                       +1 510 796 0915

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