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From Berin Loritsch <blorit...@apache.org>
Subject Re: [Proposal] Breaking up Avalon
Date Tue, 19 Nov 2002 05:02:32 GMT
Peter Donald wrote:

>I had hoped that it would not get to this point but unfortunately that does 
>not seem to be the case. However it looks like the best thing for all parties 
>involved is to break up Avalon into different projects. One of the first 
>things I am going to propose is the graduation of Phoenix and related 
>infrastructure to a new top level project.
>Below is the outline of my reasoning why I believe this to be in the best 
>interests of Avalon. Over the next few weeks I plan to put together a 
>"vision" document and proposal - if anyone else wants to help (or do it) then 
>they are welcome to take over ;) 
>It may be best to start from the start. I initially started observing avalon 
>when it was pretty dead. Nothing was happening so I went away. Then all of a 
>sudden this Berin guy started doing stuff and then there was life. Fede and 
>Stefano also came back and together they kicked the tires and started the 
>I was building another component based server framework at the time and thus I 
>used this as an opportunity to bounce ideas off Berin. At the time what I was 
>writing was much more monolithic, lower abstractions and used a lot more off 
>the shelf components (w3c DOM/JDOM, JNDI, Properties etc). I eventually 
>managed to refactor into something nicer - more in the way Avalon was going. 
>A month or so later I came on board and stuff progressed. We started to break 
>apart the monolithic avalon project into bite sized chunks that more 
>accurately modelled the units in which they were used. We also became able to 
>actually release parts that were at different maturity levels. It was still 
>"big ball of mud" style programming but we were moving forward.
>We regularly rewrote the whole codebase - as many as three times in one 
>particular month. Along with that was the flamefests - far more excited than 
>has been seen in Avalon for a long time. However they were of a far nicer 
>variety than what is now present in Avalon - at least then we were all 
>interested in promoting Avalon as a whole and there was mutual respect 
>between developers. Even when we were competing for our ideas we went out of 
>our way to help other - I even recall Berin helping out with JDOM stuff which 
>he wasn't too fond of ;) Some of the code was not too hot but the level of 
>collaboration and cooperation was great.
That history is fairly accurate.  It is important to note that there was 
also a lot more discussion
*before* things got committed to CVS.  The recent mindshare battles 
fought in CVS is very bad
all the way around.

>Fast forward to now. Most of the problems arise from committers who were added 
>into Avalon before they had demonstrated any capability or desire to 
>cooperate with the existing committers (and some to this day have not 
>committed a line of code). As a result there is whole codebases that are one 
>man jobs - a nomans land which other committers avoid like the plague. 
>It also seems that we have aquired that condition of "try to block competition 
>via politics" which previously we had avoided. On a few occasions Stephen has 
>tried to block improvements in Phoenix because it competed with his pet 
>And thats not to mention the personal attacks that have recently become a 
>distinguishing quality on the avalon lists. Add that to the behaviour 
>regarding code ownership and it just gets messy.
>So things are changing - right? Appologies have been made and Avalon may 
>become a TLP - which will supposedly "fix" the problems that have occured in 
>the past. 

Many of the problems are social in nature.  The TLP will help provide a 
mechanism to resolve these
issues.  I fear though that the PMC can be abused just as well as it can 
be used.

>Rather than seeking consensus for major decisions (like becoming a TLP) we 
>have seen Stephen try to push through his own ideas - even when it was 
>obvious that a large proportion of active developers chose not to engage the 
>proposal, it was still sent along to the board. 

I don't like the quick timeframe at all.

>Also discussion about the way the "new" avalon will operate disturbs me. It 
>has been implied that the PMC will be making development decisions to solve 
>some of the problems. 

I have a lot to catch up on.  What "new" avalon are we talking about?

>Putting all these things together it becomes obvious that Phoenix is hurt by 
>staying in Avalon. The users are hurt because they are subject to trolling 
>and the developers are hurt because they constantly have to work around other 
>people who don't participate in the development but can still cause harm.
>So the solution? The solution would be moving phoenix development out of 
>avalon into a product-centric project focused on Phoenix and supporting 

If it would be better for Phoenix to become its own TLP, then I will 
support it.  However, I would be
reluctant to support it if the cheif issue is social.  If there is real 
technical benefit to the Phoenix TLP,
then +1.

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