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From Isabel Drost-Fromm <>
Subject On wearing multiple hats
Date Tue, 25 Oct 2016 07:50:21 GMT
Pre-text: This conversation started among several members of the ASF, you are
seeing this message here, as it was suggested to have the discussion on a
public mailing list so everyone can participate.


tl;dr: I'm tired of hearing Apache is "where large firms dump code (to break the
market for other or to avoid looking bad for abandoning it", I'm also tired of
hearing that Apache is where projects are controlled by corporate interests
under the disguise of some Apache Way process. I would like to figure out
whether this is actually true based on numbers instead of subjective
perceptions. If it is true I would like to figure out if and how we need to fix

Longer version: Every now and then I hear people complain either privately or
publicly [1] that people working on Apache projects who are not paid to do that
work and have don't have the luxury to participate full-time are facing a hard
time getting into our communities.

Similarly every now and then we see projects running into trademark issues,
conflicts of interest with their employers, trouble with wearing too many hats
[2,3] (though everytime I hear about wearing more than one hat I have to think
of the following lightning talk [4]).

I don't think handwavery statements will get us very far. Maybe it makes sense
to think about the following first:

- If projects are making progress (getting new releases out, getting new
  features implemented, getting bugs and security vulnerabilities addressed), do
  we care about how they are governed? Why do we care if we do? About which
  aspects do we care?

- Given the influx of projects into the incubator (and the number of projects
  making it through) people seem to trust the ASF as a home for their
  communities. What kind of value does that have for us? What is the value we
  are giving back to these projects?

Maybe from there we can come up with stories and metrics that hold (or should
hold) for all of our projects.

Let me provide an example for illustration: In many previous conversations and
talks I stressed that Apache is about communities, that being part of an Apache
project doesn't necessarily mean that the particular human has to contribute
large amounts of code - in the case of Mahout at some point we even had to
communicate that the best way to not be accepted as a GSoC student would be to
propose to implement yet another machine learning algorithm as that would
probably not what the project needed most, nor would it be feasable given the
time frame. Based on that my answer to "do we care about how projects are
governed" would be "yeah, sure we do - our system is based on merit, merit comes
from valuable contributions". The metric I'd setup to test that hypothesis is
true would be to cross-check number of contributions (patches, documentation
fixes and the like) with whether the people making these contributions are
actually being promoted to committer. Makes sense?

Anyone interested in this? Anyone interested in helping get sensible numbers up
- my JIRA magic is seriously lacking...







Sorry for any typos: Mail was typed in vim, written in mutt, via ssh (most likely involving
some kind of mobile connection only.)

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