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From Scott Robert Ladd <>
Subject Re: Of One-man Efforts and the like
Date Sat, 21 Feb 2004 17:56:10 GMT
Stefano Mazzocchi wrote:
> You are mostly welcome.
> There was some negative vibe going on, but we all understand that you 
> didn't realize many of the legal implications of your move.

I tend to get testy when people assign a hostile motive to something 
innocent. Inconveniencing Apache was never my intent.

>> Point taken, though given the complexity of my personal website, I 
>> could probably use just about any web server. 
> Sure. And, with all due respect, given the community we have, we could 
> rewrite Jisp if we really wanted. It's not exactly rocket science.

And neither is writing a web server -- I written a couple myself over 
the years. If you want to argue the value of people's code, I'm not 

> Many thanks indeed.
> As for your experience with companies not paying you back:
> The ASF counts 840 committers. Thinking that all of them are college 
> kids with a bunch of free time or really rich people that don't need to 
> work to make a living, well, it's statistically very poor as an assumption.

I almost think you are spoiling for a fight, since you insist on 
misrepresenting what I say. People on the Cocoon list made disparaging 
remarks about one-man projects; I was stating what I am (i.e., I am not 
a college kid doing this as a hobby), with no aspersion cast on who you 
are or who is working with Apache.

I have great respect for the Apache projects and the people who work on 
them, and have said so many times in many places.

> This community in particular has many companies that started and make 
> profit out of seeling their knowhow to people. I used to do this myself.

Since I no longer do server-side work, I suspect that Apache's users are 
not my audience.  That isn't to say that I don't have a vested interest 
in Apache, or that working with/for Apache is worthless. In fact, 
working within Apache could have some benefits -- but I need to 
carefully pick where my free software energies go, and time spent on 
Apache will take away from a other tasks (say, adding OpenMP to GCC) 
that have more applicabaility to my customer base.

> But selling yourself is an art and pretending that a software license 
> will do that for you is just very naive (with all due respect).

It is not respectful to put words in other people's mouths. Please do 
not imply my motivations.

I switched to the GPL because I participate in several projects that use 
the GPL itself, and to gain the benefit of support for companies and 
organizations that use the GPL themselves. I may quibble with the dogma 
of Mr. Stallman, but joining a larger community of GPL'd software has 
been beneficial.

> Removing my cocoon hat now, my suggestion, if you were asking me 
> personally for advice, would be to donate the code to the ASF.
> This would allow:
>  1) the creation of a community around it (means you don't have to do 
> the maintainance yourself!)

Jisp is a very small project, very focused on a specific task; there 
really isn;t all that much maintenance, and what there is, I like to do 
myself. I participate in a few public and large community projects; I 
also maintain a set of projects written to my standards, my coding 
style, for the purpose of enjoying coding as a personal art and as 
advertisement of my work. Jisp is one of the latter objects.

I am more than happy to find a way for Apache to continue using Jisp; I 
am quite willing to join Apache as a participant. I appreciate (and have 
acknowledged) contributions to Jisp from others. But Jisp is not 
exclusive to Apache, it is a tool used by my commercial clients and 
several free projects.

Do I become more or less visible by "donating" Jisp to Apache? What do I 
give up, and what do I gain? This thread is helping me answer such 

>  2) keep all apache projects happy

While a nice goal, it is not my only goal.

>  3) keep your name attached to it forever (means free advertising)

I get plenty of adevrtising for Jisp already; I've licensed it 
commercially on several occassions, and only one of those clients used 
it in any context related to Apache.

> The situation you are finding yourself into is a common one: a personal 
> project that is successful and is used. Since there is no community, no 
> mail list, not CVS, people bug you personally and this is frustrating 
> and feels abusive.

Again, you find words I never wrote. I like people asking me questions 
about Jisp; I am more than happy to support the package myself. My 
annoyance is that I've had people who expect me to provide free services 
because it's part of "free-as-in-beer Apache. I am annoyed by specific 
case, not support in general.

> The ASF was created exactly to wrap code with communities and protect 
> indiviuals from lawsuits and general abuse, even private abuse like the 
> one you have experienced.

I applaud Apache's purpose. I think the FSF exists primarily to promote 
the egos of certain people, as opposed to caring about the needs of 
working programmers. Apache appears to have its heart in the right place.

> Of course, at that point, even protected, this won't solve your 
> marketing for you or the way you sell yourself to companies. In short, 
> you are on your own for that and you can be successful or suck. We have 
> examples of both kinds in the ASF.

> But again, going the GPL way will lock you out of the ASF world, this 
> means loosing all the visibility you had before.

I'm not certain how "visible" I am in the "ASF world." You and others 
point out that Jisp is a rather obscure, hidden, and easily-replacable 
component of some parts of Apache; that doesn't sound like much 
"visibility" to me.

To attain visibility in Apache, I would need to do something more tha 
Jisp, I suspect. And so the question becomes: Is there something (beyond 
Jisp) that I can contribute, and will my increased "visibility" attract 
customers who need my skills? That is the debate I'm having with myself 
this weekend.

> At the same time, you could find lots of reasonable people with very 
> much in common with you that might help you in many ways in case you 
> feel like joining forces.

I am very fond of the idea of community, in programming and other tasks.


Scott Robert Ladd
Coyote Gulch Productions (
Software Invention for High-Performance Computing

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