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From Marvin Humphrey <>
Subject Re: ApacheCon session recording: Releasing Apache Software
Date Sat, 07 Jun 2014 19:34:09 GMT
On Thu, Jun 5, 2014 at 10:59 AM, Joe Bowser <> wrote:
> The only thing that SHOULD be private on the lists is the selection of
> PMC members and security issues, and a part of me doesn't even like
> the latter very much when things are already public elsewhere (i.e. in
> BugTraq).

Well, at the project level there are occasionally legal issues which are best
handled in private -- for instance, trademark violations, many of which can be
resolved with a polite note to the offending party.

> There's also the fact that people use
> private lists to say things that they wouldn't dare say in public.

Your experience matches my own.

> I'll happily be rude to someone in public to their face, because to do
> otherwise is dishonest.

Hmm.  I generally prefer discretion and diplomacy, which need not require

FWIW, many communities have found success with the approach of criticizing
ideas while avoiding ad hominem attacks.

Lots of good stuff here:

>> Ideally, only subjects which truly require discretion such as personnel
>> issues, security, trademarks and so on get discussed on private lists.
>> In practice, things are messy and sometimes conscious effort is required
>> to move conversations public, but the diversity of the ASF Membership
>> guards against subterfuge at the org level just as the diversity of the
>> Cordova PMC guards against it at the project level.
> What sort of subterfuge are you referring to?

Primarily excessive commercial influence.

Apache has a reputation as a place where competing companies can collaborate
on a common codebase.  However, even with our governance institutions, such
collaboration can become unstable when the interests of the various companies
who employ a project's PMC members are not aligned either with each other or
aligned with the interests of the Foundation.

The ASF Board of Directors is tasked with overseeing all Apache projects,
which includes enforcement of rules on project independence.  This starts with
ensuring that projects are operating according to the rules of meritocracy and
that new PMC members are being added and granted a full role in governance,
but in extreme circumstances it can extend to reconstituting PMCs and
terminating projects (both of which have happened, though not lately).

At the Foundation level, the ASF Membership[1] (effectively its shareholders) is
far too diverse for any one commercial entity to hold sway.  The Cordova
PMC[2] is likewise quite diverse -- but that's not true for all PMCs.

> It isn't related to this thread on legal, is it?

[See for the correct permalink.]

Heh.  It seems that Ross got his addresses mixed up and inadvertently sent a
message to legal-discuss@apache (public) that was meant for members@apache

To put that message in context, we're talking about how to streamline the
annual Members meeting while maintaining the safeguards provided by our current

I suppose that subject matter is indirectly related to the "subterfuge" I had
in mind.  Our bylaws are carefully drafted to ensure that the Foundation
cannot be legally hijacked by an illegitimate minority.  There's a *lot* of
money to be made in Apache software and conceivably some entity might be
motivated to pull a fast one if we don't watch out.

Marvin Humphrey


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