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From "Ted Leung" <twle...@sauria.com>
Subject The organization of xml.apache.org
Date Mon, 02 Dec 2002 21:12:25 GMT
Hello all,

At ApacheCon I had a number of great discussions with people from all over the ASF.  One
of the many topics of discussion was around the organization of the ASF.  I'm going to try
to
summarize the organization discussion below.

It seems that there are 2 major issues:

1. The ASF has a legal responsibility for oversight of the ASF projects.  In order to provide

some degree of legal protection for committers, the ASF needs to demonstrate that 
it is providing effective oversight of the projects.  Ultimately, this responsibility rests
with the 
ASF board and is currently implemented via PMCs.  However, within the ASF there is wide 
variation in the implementation of the PMC concept.  In httpd there is a PMC for a single
code
base and most of the committers are a part of the PMC.   Contrast that with XML and Jakarta
where there is a single (umbrella/container) PMC for many code bases, and a tiny fraction
of 
the committers are a part of the PMC.   There has been a movement in the ASF to move 
projects out from under the umbrella PMC's and have them be their own projects.  Some people
believe that this will improve the board's visibility into the projects, others believe that
this will
create an unmanageable amount of work for the board.

2. The ASF is currently membership-based, non-profit corporation.  The legal liability protections

of the corporation apply to the members.  In the event of a legal action against one of the
committers,
the ASF would attempt to defend the committer, but the automatic liability protection of
the corpration would not apply.   At the moment the best way to provide protection to those
working 
on ASFprojects is via election to membership.  There has been some discussion that the ASF
needs 
to find a better way to provide legal protection for all contributors to projects.

So why am I sending this message?

I feel that the level of oversight that is being provided for the xml.apache.org projects
is insufficient.
The ASF does not have the visibility into the projects that it should have, and the projects
are not
getting the help/guidance/whatever that they need from the ASF.  Something needs to be changed.

There are a number of possible solutions -- not all of them are mutually exclusive:

1. Help any xml.apache.org project that wishes to become a top-level project to do so.  Each

top-level project will then have its own PMC which will report directly to the ASF board.

2. Expand the xml.apache.org PMC so that every project has a representative

3. Alter the structure of xml.apache.org to have an "administrative" PMC that takes care of
legal type
stuff, and a "technical" PMC that focuses more on techical issues and oversight.

4. Some option that hasn't been thought of yet.

So, let's have a discussion about how to improve the situation. I'd like to hear people's
opinions on the
options that I presented above, as well as any other suggestions for improvement.   

Please express your opinions!

Ted
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