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From Berin Loritsch <blorit...@apache.org>
Subject Re: Cocoon and Axis
Date Thu, 04 Oct 2001 14:48:43 GMT
Sam Ruby wrote:
> 
> Whee!  A fun philosophical debate!  ;-)

I hear you--and am not shy in these things ;P

> Let me tell you, bootstrapping a community is HARD.

I agree whole-heartedly.  When I joined the Avalon community, there was one (1)
active developer: Federico Barbieri.  What got the Avalon community going was
that everyones thoughts and ideas were considered carefully, and the discussions
included things from non-committers as well as committers.  The final solution
was decided on by the committers, but the users did feel included, and the
reasoning for all the decisions was out in the open.  In the end, due to the
stability and enthusiasm of two of the developers, the community grew and
is actually doing well today.  You need some dynamic folks who are vocal
and evangelize your project.

> > It looks as if IBM controls the commit, does a poor job of following up with
> > all the people, is surprised at fundamental workings of Open Source.
> 
> IBM in no way controls the commit.  SOAP 2.x was largely an IBM effort.
> Axis represents an new community based beginning. The one person who
> undoubtedly has been the most consistent leader of this effort over the
> past year is Glen Daniels (MacroMedia).

Let me tell you, I hear his frustration.  Maybe the finger is pointed in
the wrong direction, but the point does need to be heard.

I feel sometimes that my questions, input, and code fall on deaf ears in
this community.  There are a handful of active committers, and each of them
are hard at work on the respective pieces.  The frustration comes when there
is a _useful_ patch that can help many people, and it is given lip service
and never committed.

Part of why Cocoon and Avalon are relatively healthy communities is that
there is a responsiveness to ideas and patches.  Basically, first code
wins--and not alot of time is spent "re-engineering" the patch.  When people
get ignored (in their perception), they figure they will go someplace else.
Personally, I am stubborn and opinionated--but I do listen to other people.
In a sense, I am not satisfied that I am wrong unless someone can give an
intelligent reason why--and what would be BETTER.  I have publically conceded
when I was in the wrong.

> The problem I was referring to comes in when people identify attachments as
> a significant omission, and someone who has established a track record for
> contributing good code volunteers to take that assignment, works on it
> briefly and then disappears.  And this process gets repeated.

I hear your frustration.  The attachments issue is theorhetically simple,
yet practically difficult.

> Clearly, my explanation of the problem wasn't complete.  We have had a low
> threshold for admitting commiters, but this wasn't enough.  We also need a
> "critical mass" of core developers.  We clearly dipped below that level a
> few months back, but we are now working back to a workable level.

To achieve this, the developers you have need to be responsive, and include
new developers and users into the process of developing the project.  Instead
of ignoring questions and patches--be quick to address them.  As to questions,
let the one who asked Yes/No/Can you clarify?  As to code--if it isn't harmful
commit it.  If you choose not to commit it, let the patcher know why.  They
aren't going to do better unless they know what you are looking for.

> > What you are going to see is forks if you don't remedy the situation.
> 
> Cool.  Let me know when and where and I will follow you there.
> 
> Look, most of the commits to SOAP 2.x post the 2.2 release are mine.  I'm
> probably only second to Glen in terms of commits to Axis in the last three
> months.  I'm serious, make something better with a more viable community
> model and I'm there.
> 
> Meanwhile, I am going to try to see if we can make this one work.

I am with you.  I want to see this community work.  The biggest frustration
I have with it is that information and general direction are hard to come by.
I am more than willing to do my part.

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