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From Morgan Delagrange <mdela...@yahoo.com>
Subject Re: Commons - TLP
Date Thu, 18 Dec 2003 18:52:08 GMT
Hey all,

I've been hesitant to join the holy war, but what the
hell.  By the way, for simplicity's sake I'll be
referring to Jakarta Commons, past present and future,
as a "project".  Get over it.  :)

Regarding promoting Jakarta Commons to a top level
project...
--------------------------------------------------

I'm neither for nor against it.  I'm satisfied with
the visibility and activity of J-C today, but if there
is sufficient interest in moving I would not be
opposed.  However, I believe some board members in
past conversations have expressed that they would not
support such a project, since they have already formed
a top level "Commons" project and would not be
interested in introducing another.  For my part, I
agree that it would be confusing to have another top
level project, although maybe there's a way to make it
work.

Regarding moving components to Apache Commons...
------------------------------------------------

The committers for a component can vote to join Apache
Commons if they like.  Personally, I still have
reservations concerning A-C and at present would vote
-1 on a move.  I've expressed my views on many
occasions, but I'll summarize some of the points here.

1. I'm not convinced that a language-specific project
is a bad thing.  For example look at the Commons
charter:

  http://jakarta.apache.org/commons/charter.html

It contains specific details about Java coding
conventions, release formats, JDKs, JavaBeans, etc. I
think that in a project which encourages small,
well-constructed components, this level of detail is
important.  J-C had nearly all of these details
committed to its Charter BEFORE it was approved by the
Jakarta PMC.  A-C has yet to scratch the surface.

2. I don't like their component karma policy.  

  http://svn.apache.org/repos/asf/commons/STATUS

Currently only Greg Stein has supported universal
karma for all Apache Commons committers, like we have
in Jakarta Commons.  All the other PMC members support
per-component karma (some with an unspecified and
dubious-sounding "self-chosen aggregation").  Back
when Apache Commons was first advocating a mass
migration of Jakarta Commons components to Apache
Commons, Peter Donald was advocating that the
component developers could be more selective than the
Apache Commons project itself and actually deny commit
access to their component.

I have joined several components simply because I saw
something that needed fixing or thought of something
useful.  Raising the barriers of entry by requiring a
vote or intervention by a CVS administrator is not
reasonable to me.  Existing veto procedures should be
more than sufficient for the occasional rogue commit.

3. Apache Commons decision making seems too top-down. 
Only PMC members can make binding decisions concerning
the makeup of the project.  At J-C all along we have
made our final decisions by majority vote, and the
Jakarta PMC would only intervene if there were a legal
issue or an unresolvable impasse (which IIRC has never
occurred).  When we were forming J-C we went to the
main Jakarta mailing list and actively solicited
volunteers to work out the details of the project, and
from that point onward IMO it has been a group effort.

In comparison Apache Commons had formed its PMC before
most of us were aware of its existence, and certain
decisions concerning karma, version control etc. have
already been made by that small body.  Things will
probably loosen up in time, but I'd like to see some
evidence that the project management will not be so
heavy-handed before I would support a move. 

4. I don't see sufficient benefit yet.  If making
Jakarta Commons a top-level project would be a lot of
effort, merging with Apache Commons would be even more
so.  Converting our code (and our developers) to
Subversion, creating separate karma for each
component, hammering out all the detail which the
Jakarta Commons charter already possesses, and for
what?  A top level domain?  Who cares.  Better
oversight?  I think we're doing fine.  Synergy with C
projects?  That can be accomplished without ripping up
track.

In conclusion...
----------------

Jakarta Commons is a 2 1/2 year old project which had
(and still has) a lot of effort invested in it.  I
think it works well.  If we were to become a top level
project or merge with Apache Commons, I'd want to make
sure that we ended up with a better arrangement, not
one that is worse or merely different.

- Morgan

=====
Morgan Delagrange
http://jakarta.apache.org/commons
http://axion.tigris.org

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