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From robert burrell donkin <>
Subject Re: [all] Together, and bricks apart
Date Sun, 11 Dec 2005 12:19:09 GMT
(sorry for this being very late and out of sequence: blueyonder has been
v poor all week)

On Fri, 2005-12-02 at 21:00 -0500, Henri Yandell wrote: 
> On 12/2/05, Martin Cooper <> wrote:
> > IMO, what this tells us is the Commons isn't scaling, and that doesn't
> > surprise me at all. In the "old days", there were a *lot* fewer components.
> > Right now, I count 35 components in Proper and 9 more active components in
> > the Sandbox (excluding the ones Henri is about to make dormant). That is a
> > lot of stuff! Very few people, if any, are going to keep tabs on all of it,
> > and most are likely to only track a handful, if that.
> >
> > When Commons was much smaller, the community was much more integrated, in
> > that there was more overlap between the pieces (people-wise, not code-wise),
> > and so we all watched each others' backs. We're no longer in that state.
> >
> > The inability to scale, is, in my opinion, an issue the ASF as a whole is
> > also facing. Unfortunately, as with Commons, I don't have any good ideas.
> > Other than to consciously stop growing, that is, but that doesn't appear to
> > be a popular direction.
> [long reply...sorry]
> Yep. It's my belief that Commons represents the ASF in microcosm,



> So how can we rejuvenate a community without the mantra that we don't
> have focus?
> a) Work together. I don't mean that in a hippy peacenik way. I mean
> actually work together. We need to get a plan for the future of each
> component and then form groups attacking each target, but not at the
> same time.
> So Lang 2.2 might be held up because 3 of us need to work on
> Collections 2.2. Etc.

i think i understand what you're getting at but see it a little

IIRC when the commons experiment was first started, jakarta still used
the old hierarchical organization with deep nesting and an elected pmc.
the rules reflect this: commons was a microcosm of jakarta with each
component being a mini-sub-project. the main difference being the
experimental feature was allowed existing committers to self-nominate.
this was very controversial at the time.

1 most of those who have been here a while now appreciate that this
original design is wrong. the price of being part of the commons is that
we are evaluated collectively: bad press, failure to respond to users or
problems with oversight involving any component effects all. 

2 the voting system here specified in the charter is at odds with way
the ASF is now organized. the only votes which are binding upon the ASF
are those cast by pmc'er and all pmc'ers should be entitled to vote. 

so why do i think that changing the voting system is important?

well, it isn't (by itself) but IMHO the vision in this part of the
charter is now at odds with how most the old hands think the commons is
best managed. at the every least, it's not an accurate description of
the way that commons works now. the charter also permeates into the
culture of new committers: it's just about the only documentation on
committership that we have. 

i would to see the current voting rules simply eliminated: replaced by
the use of the ones for jakarta as a whole. AFAIK these are not stated
anywhere concisely but are simple: only votes by pmc'er can be binding
on the ASF. no official action can be approved without 3 +1's by

in the short term, this is going to increase the stress on our critical
human infrastructure (and decrease the fun) but it will force the
changes that will be needed to scale in the long term. we need to change
the culture to break down the lines between components for important
decisions. we'll probably also need to invest in more automation and

in the medium term, though, i think that fixing the commons will release

- robert

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