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From J Aaron Farr <fa...@apache.org>
Subject Re: [VOTE] Stephen McConnell as a committer
Date Mon, 27 Sep 2004 00:33:18 GMT
David Leangen wrote:

> I know I don't contribute much to the project. I am merely a user that began
> using Avalon recently. I hope to become a contributor to the project, but
> for now, I'm not. So, it's probably not really my place to make any comments
> here.

You're comments are very much welcome.

> However, from an "outside" point of view, this whole debate is really
> difficult to understand. Since whatever happens will have a large influence
> on my project, I have a vested interest in understanding the current
> dynamic.

I understand the feeling.  I became an Avalon committer a bit over a 
year ago and was using Avalon for about a year before that. 
Unfortunately during that entire time there have been debates so it may 
be rather difficult to understand the current situation.

One thing is certain though.  We will go to great lengths to ensure 
users are not left high and dry.  The code will be available and as well 
as developers willing to support it.  That may be here within Avalon or 
within other projects.

> However, it appears to me
> that Steve is setting an important trend, one that at least for me inspires
> even greater confidence in the ASF. Isn't this the type of image that that
> ASF _should_ be projecting?

Stephen is VERY good at new user support.  He helped me a lot when I 
first came on.  However, there are other issues at hand which relate to 
Stephen's willingness to work within the larger picture of the ASF.

> Now, IIUC Leo is the chair of the Avalon PMC (though it's not clear to me
> what "PMC" means, or what it does). I have no doubts that Leo's concerns are
> valid. My problem is, though, that I don't understand what these concerns
> are. I would really appreciate your explaining your position (Leo), keeping
> in mind that I do not have the context or the history that you guys all
> have.

First off, I am the Chair of the Avalon Project Management Committee 
(PMC).  Usually the PMC is a quiet place where little happens other than 
some official paperwork to keep the ASF running smoothly.  However, has 
the responsibility to oversee the project in all aspects.  This has to 
do with the fact that the ASF is not just a group of fun lovin' 
developers but also an actual non-profit corporation.

The entire history to this mess is in the public mailing list archives, 
but it's a long story and would take you a long time to read. 
Personally, I'd start with:

   http://avalon.apache.org/central/community/history/story.html

   http://www.jadetower.org/muses/archives/000146.html

For the record, this is my version of the events:

Stephen disagreed with many others about the role and purpose of Avalon. 
    There was plenty of bad behavior and poor communication skills on 
everyone's part but Stephen explicitly worked to drive out those who did 
not agree with his vision (ie- Merlin).  Eventually, many developers 
left in disgust and exhaustion.  Stephen not only showed an 
unwillingness to support non-Merlin code in Avalon, but reguarly blocked 
and argued anyone who _was_ willing to support that code.  In other 
words, he did not want to *allow* such code or support in Avalon, even 
if he wasn't the one developing or supporting it.  Mind you, all of this 
code was here before Merlin and much of it before Stephen.

In other words, Stephen plays very well with his own code, own users, 
own fellow Merlin developers, but not always with others.  This has 
caused numerous problems in not only Avalon but many other ASF projects.

I have no doubt that Stephen could build a wonderful development team 
around Merlin and have some of the best support one will ever find.  But 
in the process of building up Merlin he has torn down much of what 
existed before.  He will probably tell you that it was for your own good 
-- the old stuff sucked.  However, many of us disagree with his 
assessment and find his eagerness to bulldoze the previous code and 
community to make room for his own designs offensive.

In summary, his actions have not been in line with the principles of the 
Apache community and thus I cannot support his entry back into Avalon. 
That may come across as rather harsh and I am usually very soft spoken 
on the public lists, but I am tired of cleaning up these messes and feel 
some record other than Stephen's version of the story needs to be told.


On a positive note, the situation is salvagable.  It will likely mean 
some "rebrand, refocus, restaff, relocate" work as Peter Neubauer put 
it.  Things will be worked out and I will personally ensure that code 
does not disappear and that users will not be left without recourse.

jaaron

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