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From Jan Lehnardt <>
Subject Re: CouchDB and future
Date Mon, 08 Jul 2019 10:03:25 GMT

While I agree that there are many things that can be improved with CouchDB (we have an issue
tracker full of them e.g.), I want to address these two assertions:

> lack of unique competitive advantage,

There is no other database that does CouchDB-Style replication, that’s a very clear and
long-standing unique feature. Our particular combination of JSON/HTTP/REST API is also pretty
compelling. I’m sure we can make a better job of explaining all that to people and I’m
happy to review PRs for our website, docs, and drafts for our blog and discuss details on
the marketing@ list.

> and unclear future direction

If that was true, the ASF board would shut down the project, as it is one of the things we
have to provide a report on on a quarterly basis. All future direction of the project is discussed
here and for my part, I understand where the project is going, even if I’m personally not
involved in all the initiatives.

If anyone’s specific vision isn’t included in our roadmap, we can talk about that, but
know that we have to be very careful about allocating project resources towards the things
we know we can ship vs. the ones that are a lot of work for not a lot of gain that subsequently
nobody signs up to actually do.


> On 8. Jul 2019, at 11:16, Chintan Mishra <> wrote:
> Hello,
> On 08/07/19 1:32 PM, Robert Samuel Newson wrote:
>> Hi,
>> I understand what marketing is, but I also understand how this project is organised.
The dev@ mailing list is where project direction and development is discussed, and where all
decisions must be made, which is why I asked that the conversation moved here. Not many are
signed up to the marketing mailing list.
>> I hear and share your concerns about “IBM employees” (and I am one, but was not
one for the majority of my involvement with CouchDB, like all the others that are now IBM
employees). We have bylaws and a code of conduct and a PMC with many non-IBM employees. It
should go without saying that those committers and PMC members who are also IBM employees
are mature adults capable of working in open source with integrity. Were that ever to stop
being the case, there would be consequences.
>> The conversations about future direction (foundationdb et al) happened here on this
mailing list and everyone was welcome to raise the concerns you did. Those conversations,
and RFC’s, will continue to happen here. Ultimately, the project moves forward in the direction
that active contributions take it under the watchful eye of the PMC.
>> Chitan’s thoughts on IoT are very welcome, which is why I wanted the conversation
here, where project ideas can be discussed with everyone interested in them. I also hope my
reply that pointed out why CouchDB is not yet ideal for IoT was constructive. It is not just
a question of marketing CouchDB as it is today, it should inform CouchDB project direction.
>> B.
>> either
> Johs raised some genuine concerns.We all are raising our voice/concern because we believe
in CouchDB. I have failed to see the masses love it as I do. I have been using CouchDB for
around 1.5 years, probably lot lesser than most other subscribers here. In this time, I quickly
realized that CouchDB is sitting on an underutilized goldmine. I share the concerns raised
by Johs regarding unclear market, lack of unique competitive advantage, and unclear future
direction while keeping existing user base. These are all the things that confused me in 2016
while deciding a suitable NoSQL Document DB for my use case. After trying 3 NoSQL Document
DB, I was lucky to finally choose CouchDB.
> Robert, I understand bylaws and other rules in place are for us to keep this civil, maintainable,
and organized.
> We are living in an era where products are consumer centric and some discussions will
not have a clear boundary. The discussions will revolve around tech and market. Most of the
time we will end up discussing both. We will talk about arising the customer/developer/industry
needs and how we can build CouchDB which helps them excel. I see why IoT stuff cannot be done
right now. And I wouldn't recommend as it is today.
> CouchDB led the way by realizing that future infrastructure will hugely rely on HTTP
and built the first DB with a HTTP API for accessing and manipulating data. Newer advancements
in technologies will always demand us to rethink our market position. We need to discuss that
few years from now when IoTs, spatial/location-based services(drones, self-driving vehicles),
analytic, etc. are the new normal then who will still use CouchDB despite other products in
the market. Once we have figured who we want to build for, we all can start focusing on building
> PS: If you have 180 seconds to kill:
> Regards
> Chintan
>>> On 8 Jul 2019, at 07:08, Johs Ensby <> wrote:
>>> I find Chitan's reflections very interesting,
>>> even if the current direction for CouchDB points in a different direction.
>>> The problem is that CouchDBs future is difficult to understand, as marketing
discussions are discouraged.
>>> This is a very good example of how it is done:
>>>> Briefly, this mailing list is for marketing only. If you wish to discuss
project direction, post to the dev mailing list instead.
>>> This reveils a total lack of basic understanding of what marketing is.
>>> Just as a hint: Marketing is not the same as promotion. Marketing is a concept
and a dicipline that arose in the 1960's as two previous concepts failed to capture the challenge
of bringing products to the market.
>>> The "producion concept" worked as long as the market was underserved and you
could focus on production, the market would swallow all available products (early days of
mass production and hitech dev)
>>> The "sales concept" was characterized by strategies for pushing the products
to market.
>>> The "marketing concept" turned the whole thing around and focused on identifying
needs and wants in the market to which products could be developed in order to create value
for the user/customer.
>>> A definition of marketing used by my professor at Harvard Business School was:
Marketing is to create value and retain a fair share of that value.
>>> The notion that writing blog posts is marketing, unfortunately brings us to the
pre-1960's thinking of how to bring a product to market.
>>> I am increasingly worried about the CouchDB project being dominated by IBM employees,
and that new versions will require major workovers of CouchDB without concern as to:
>>> - what market is targeted
>>> - what competitive position in this market is being targeted
>>> - how to build on the existing user base for future success
>>> The latter point is crucial in order to make any technology adoption work, this
is based on another theory that has been known since the 60's ("The diffusion of innovation"
by Everett Rogers), popularised and brought to hitech in the early 90's by Jeff More's "Crossing
the chasm".
>>> Chitans reflections on how to serve markets in need of new solutions is the kind
of marketing discussion that CouchDB would benefit greatly from inviting.
>>> johs
>>>> On 7 Jul 2019, at 19:55, Robert Samuel Newson <>
>>>> Hi,
>>>> The main (current) difficulties in running CouchDB on embedded devices is
running erlang there coupled with our clustering stack. To scale everything down to fit within
the typical constraints of an embedded device requires effort, I don’t think couch “just
works” there.
>>>> The future release that replaces the clustering technology with FoundationDB
is what I refer to by “getting harder in the future”. While fdb does scale down well,
it might still need porting to platforms it’s not currently supported on.
>>>> As for suitability for IoT, couch is certainly used in that field, but care
must be taken, especially around the core notion that couch retains information about a deleted
document forever. This small amount of data can build up, and you need to plan for it.
>>>> B.
>>>>> On 7 Jul 2019, at 08:02, Chintan Mishra <> wrote:
>>>>> Dear team,
>>>>> Quoting myself from <>
>>>>> ----
>>>>>> 3. A *way forward for CouchDB is focusing on what it is best*at viz.,
>>>>>> being a database for _*C*__luster __*O*__f __*U*__nreliable
>>>>>> __*C*__ommodity __*H*__ardware_. Being deploy-able at edge devices.
>>>>>> Focusing on this will invite people building for IoTs towards
>>>>>> CouchDB. And this will drive a whole new set of users/customers
>>>>>> towards CouchDB and IBM's Cloudant project. We already use
>>>>>> Cloudant's sync-android and CDTDatastore in our startup's(Rebhu
>>>>>> Computing) product.
>>>>> ----
>>>>> I would like to draw attention to this point. I firmly believe that
>>>>> CouchDB can benefit by targeting IoT device developers. IoT
>>>>> developers don't want to worry about sending data from edge devices
>>>>> to server for processing. CouchDB already has battle-tested
>>>>> replication strategy. Extending this for IoT devs will drive the
>>>>> next age developers. CouchDB is already made for unreliable systems
>>>>> and what is more unreliable than an IoT lying in the sea connected
>>>>> with worldwide GSM/CDMA (2G) network.
>>>>> Quoting Robert Newson's <> response
>>>>> It’s a good point but not for the marketing list unless you are talking
just about producing blog posts or other materials to promote couchdb for that market?
>>>>> I think to make couchdb more useful for iot would require some development
work. Running couchdb on embedded devices is already a challenge and it’s only going to
get harder in future. As a server side hub, the retention of a small amount of data after
document deletion presents further problems.
>>>>> Briefly, this mailing list is for marketing only. If you wish to discuss
project direction, post to the dev mailing list instead.
>>>>> Thanks.
>>>>> @Robert_Newson can you shed some light on the issues that arise while
deploying CouchDB on embedded devices? Also, what is going to get harder in the future?
>>>>> --
>>>>> Chintan Mishra
>>>>> Founder and CEO
>>>>> Rebhu Computing

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