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From Gianugo Rabellino <>
Subject Re: Introducing CouchDB Ltd.
Date Sun, 08 Mar 2009 20:39:06 GMT
On Sun, Mar 8, 2009 at 9:25 PM, Jan Lehnardt <> wrote:
>> You are an Apache project and this just seems counter productive.
> In which way exactly? Getting people paid to advance CouchDB?
>> I also
>> think that several other projects have become entailed  of this type of
>> behaviour and had problems with Apache in the end.
> We'd love to hear about past experiences so we can try and avoid
> the same mistakes.


one of the core values of Apache is its neutrality. Our
meritocracy-based system is one of a kind, and something that allows
commercial endeavors to cooperate on neutral grounds. Think what IBM
did with Tomcat and, later on, Sun did with Derby - you most
definitely wouldn't have seen IBM cooperating on the "Sun Java Web
Server", neither the opposite would have worked with "IBM Cloudscape".
Until not so long ago, one of the requests we used to ask projects in
order for them to enter the ASF was to change name: that was seen as a
way to ensure Apache would have been a fresh start on neutral grounds.

If you are to continue using the CouchDB name in your company, I'm not
sure what the legal situation would be (it could be argued some
trademark issues might be there) but, as you can see, you are likely
to piss people off by sending the message that you are the ones
"owning" the project which, in Apache terms, is a no-no. You are
absolutely fine in having commercial objectives and, ultimately, pay
the bills, but the Wordpress case is not applicable here: Wordpress
chose to walk on his own legs, hosting their project within their own
infrastructure and no leverage on existing communities and branding.
With my ASF hat on, I see this move as potentially harmful, as it
sends the message that you are leveraging Apache, which requires this
community to remain meritocratic and neutral, while owning the project
as you are the core developers.

Believe me - you are entering muddy waters here as any decision on
future directions and/or committership is likely to be scrutinized
anyways as people might and will wonder if you are able to stick to
community values or if, ultimately, you will be driven by your own
agendas. There is nothing you can do other than proving your worth -
which I'm sure you will, but at least you shouldn't make your life
even more difficult. :)

Changing a company name is one of the hardest thing to do - I suggest
you reconsider as soon as possible as it might be too late later down
the road.


Gianugo Rabellino
Sourcesense, making sense of Open Source:
(blogging at

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