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From Jeff Jirsa <jji...@gmail.com>
Subject Re: DataStax role in Cassandra and the ASF
Date Sun, 06 Nov 2016 17:57:55 GMT
Now that I have clarity on what can and can't be relayed to the community /
dev@, I'm going to reply to this email, and then I suspect I'm done for
today, because I'd rather watch football than reply to this anymore.


On Sat, Nov 5, 2016 at 6:30 AM, Mark Struberg <struberg@yahoo.de.invalid>
wrote:

> Having a bit insight how the board operates (being PMC-chair for 2 other
> TLPs) I can ensure you that the board did handle this very cleanly!
>
>
I'm going to disagree with this, in a way I hope lets everyone see where
things went wrong, and more importantly, the path forward to fix them.

The board correctly identified that Datastax had a majority of the PMC and
could exert control.
The board correctly identified that Datastax violated trademark policies
(multiple times).
The board correctly identified that the PMC was not adequately policing
Datastax (or really anyone, there were plenty of trademark issues to go
around).

The board appears to have incorrectly attributed the lack of policing to
the fact that Datastax controlled the PMC. This is an honest mistake. The
real blame lies somewhere closer to a lack of understanding of
responsibilities, and a lack of visibility into what other parts of
Datastax were doing.

It's clear I'm not alone in this conclusion - you seem to say the same
thing:


>
> PS: I strongly believe that the technical people at DataStax really tried
> to do their best but got out-maneuvered by their marketing and sales
> people. The current step was just part of a clean separation btw a company
> and their OSS contributions. It was legally necessary and also important
> for the overall Cassandra community!
>
>
Unfortunately, when faced with an example of a trademark issue, there were
two very senior members who replied with very hostile, unprofessional
responses. One forwarded the example to board@ and private@ with a blanket
statement about wanting to "jettison every single Datastax employee from
the Apache Cassandra PMC". Another replied with "hammer time?", and
 youtube links to Game of Thrones clips were sent. One member of the board
(properly, in my opinion) noted that their reactions were premature and
inflammatory. Other members of the ASF noted (correctly) that in any
sufficiently large organization, it takes process and time to make sure
marketing is aware of policies, and the fact that no such process exists
isn't cause to jettison the PMC, but it should be something that is
corrected.

What didn't happen, though, was any admission or acknowledgement that the
premature and inflammatory behavior was wrong on the part of the very
senior, very vocal folks that said it. Instead, they've continued making
inflammatory comments - often because problems continue to happen where
they need to be involved, but the tone is such that it's very easy to
interpret it as hostile, which makes it very difficult to keep peace in the
community.

It's often said that when the board acts, they act as a sledgehammer
because they have no scalpel. That's true, but the board never actually
swung the sledgehammer - they threatened it, but they never needed to
jettison every Datastax employee from the PMC, because the Datastax
employees actively worked in good faith to correct problems. Sometimes that
work was insufficient, and sometimes the PMC as a whole is less responsive
than we should be (because many of us are still learning). We (the PMC)
have been fairly open about acknowleding our shortcomings, and working to
correct them.

Unfortunately, while there was acknowledgement from the board that the PMC
acted to correct problems (visible in the minutes, we're TRYING to do
better), there's never been an acknowledgement that members of the board
acted inappropriately - there was, at most, a single statement that it was
out of frustration (which appears to be a half-acknowledgement that it may
be out of line, but nowhere near an apology for being out of line).

I can't speak for Datastax, but if I were in their shoes, and someone
threatened to jettison me from the PMC for something I had no prior
knowledge of, and then continued to act in an aggressive manner without
ever acknowledging that they, too, were wrong, I would also distance myself
from that group - not a "take my ball and go home" mentality, but a "these
people act in ways that I don't understand, they seem overly hostile, and I
should protect myself from them". What's frustrating is that it appears, in
many ways, that basic empathy and professionalism on the part of the ASF
board members could have potentially prevented this situation entirely. I
suspect that members of the ASF who believe the board handled this cleanly
re-evaluate that assertion, and ask themselves whether board members acted
with empathy, friendliness, and professionalism in their communication with
Datastax.

If the members of the board take that recommendation to heart, and re-read
threads on private@ in an objective manner, and agree with my assertion
that they have room for improvement as well, I encourage both the board and
Datastax management to reconsider their decisions made in the past few
months, for the sake of the community.

Because that's why we're all here - the community.

Mime
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