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From "Siberski, Wolf" <>
Subject RE: Whoa Bessie... Was -- Re: [Proposal] AntFarm
Date Thu, 21 Dec 2000 15:08:02 GMT
> Pier P. Fumagalli wrote:
> James Duncan Davidson <> wrote:
> > On 12/18/00 8:28 AM, "" <> wrote:
> > 
> >> To come back out of the blue and announce that Ant is out of control
> >> must be reigned in is more than a little arrogant IMHO.
> > 
> > So, I take it that you would answer yes to my "Am I being arrogant pig?"
> > question. :)
> > 
> > I said that because other people have said it to me. Jon, Pier? Ya
> > There's two people right there.
> Yep... Kinda late on emails (around 500 yet to read on this list) but
> somehow here. What I told James (since he's the person closer to Ant I see
> most) is that I hated how that little creep changes every single attribute
> on every single release... And I have to go ahead and modify my bazillion
> makefiles. 

There were just two releases. And how many build files do You have

> Gee, just take a look at the other build tools available: GNU Make. I
> recompiled recently my old mod_jserv (almost 2 years without a change)
> the latest version of GMAKE and IT WORKS! It doesn't say "that **** is
> deprecated, use another".
IIRC, make is over 20 years old, Ant not even 20 months!
Do You really expect backwards compatibility from day 1?
Besides, no one was forcing You to switch to a newer version.
Although I admit that changing the properties behaviour forth and
back caused some hassle, I think You are overdoing it a lot.

> I stopped posting on this list when someone started saying that they
> to put JavaScript in makefiles, and to repeat myself, I said "I'm going to
> checkout my own local copy of Ant and maintain it". That's what I did,
> because over here, in ANT land things change way too often.

Didn't You notice that the current committers blocked 
that request successfully?

> Now, when I ranted with James and he later on showed me his proposal, I
> so happy to see that someone was "re-analyzing" the problem from bottom
> and trying to bring some order I almost cried.

The same thing was done on ant-dev, with the only difference
that more than one person was contributing to that "re-analyzing".
> And my 0.02$ are, from what I read here, everyone is scared that James is
> going to take over the world, scared to loose their own little piece of
> "kingdom" because the new "dictator" is arising, without even listening to
> what he has to say "technically". 

Quite the opposite. When James announced he would spend more time and
effort to Ant, everyone applauded. The dispute started when
he claimed to have special rights to determine the direction of Ant.
And, frankly, this is a disputable question (I'm appreciating
a *lot* what he has done for Open Source in the meantime).

Three weeks ago no one on this list had any "kingdom".
Stefan and Conor (and others) were directing the Ant 1.2 
progress without showing any "royal" attitudes,
while a lot of people were discussing the direction 
Ant 2.0 should take, without anyone dominating.

Then James started claiming he had the right to dominate.
Unfortunately instead of resolving that dispute directly,
people were starting to publish lots of proposals to
block James's claims. We still discuss technical arguments
on the surface, while the real issue remains unsettled.

> I listened, it made sense, it's what I want, so I would 
> love to see it happen...
I think one of the problems is that when Ant started it 
was a helper tool for the Jakarta projects, but in the meantime 
a lot of people use it for other purposes successfully.
As I see it, one of the most fundamental differences
between James's vision for Ant and the vision of
some other committers is that in James opinion
Ant should focus on Java projects (with support
for other uses seen as 'nice to have' at best),
while others are heading towards a more general
build tool or even task engine (with support
for Java projects the most important requirement).

> I didn't cry when Giacomo came on
> the Cocoon mailing list and took over "my" Cocoon 2.0 (as Stefano didn't
> it when I revolutioned his Cocoon 1.x). Revolutions happen,  and if we
> care about loosing our "prestige" or "leadership" but look at their
> technical value, we'll find out that most of them are very valid...

If I'm not completely wrong every single committer 
has agreed to a revolution for Ant 2.0 and this
decision was made before James showed up on ant-dev 
again. Besides, no committer even dared to present
his proposal until James checked in AntEater, 
although they had already done their prototypes. 
I interpret this as sign of modesty, not of hunting 
for "prestige". I really can't see Your point here.

Honestly, I feel Your statements are more than
biased, and You do no one a favour with it,
not even James. Instead You have largened the
gap between the 'Jakarta VIP group' and
the 'Ant committers group', and that is a pity.

You seem to take the position 'either James gets 
control or Ant will fall apart', but the
reality has already proven You wrong. James
has done great work in inventing and designing
Ant, but the current committers have also
done great work in making Ant useful for
a large count and broad spectrum of users,
and they already had started a successful
discussion about the next-generation Ant.
And while I'm convinced that James can
contribute a lot to the future of Ant,
I'm also convinced that its future will
be even brighter if *all* committers
finally manage to join forces.

I hope that all contributers will soon start
to resolve the status questions instead of
hiding behind pseudo-technical arguments,
as is happening now.
My (biased) opinion is that James would have
to take the first step by explicitly giving 
up his claim to be the decisive voice. I see
neither a formal rule nor a strong enough
moral obligation that would support 
this claim. I do hope that this is no
'either I'm the leader or I'll leave'
decision for him.

The next step should be getting consensus
about vision and main requirements.

If these steps are taken successfully, I'm
optimistic that all those bright brains 
on ant-dev will be able to find the best 
design for Ant 2.0 easily.


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