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From "Geir Magnusson Jr." <ge...@apache.org>
Subject [project policy] Author credit and attribution
Date Sun, 02 Oct 2005 04:10:48 GMT
Might as well do this, now that we are getting in code by the bucketful.

One of the fundamental notions of an Apache project is the notion of  
community ownership - that this is _our_ project, collectively.   
However, this collective project is composed of significant  
individual contributions, contributions which we want to recognize.   
So the problem we have to solve is how to balance these two ideas.

The Apache Board has recommended that projects not employ author tags  
in their source code.  The main motivation for this recommendation is  
to remove "territorial ownership" from code.

I've worked in projects that did it, and some that didn't.  When tags  
were there, I think it gave people a chance to 'sign' their work, and  
I'll be the first to admit that when I did my first-ever commit that  
had my name on it, I was proud!  It's a natural thing to be proud of  
our work.  The flip side was that I've seen it lead to people  
believing they "own" a piece of code because of the tags, I've seen  
"keeping up with the joneses" where every contributor adds an author  
tag, no matter what, leading to strange feelings about what is the  
level that makes on an "author"....  For example, reformatting w/  

When we started Geronimo, we decided to not use author tags, and  
we've never looked back - it just didn't matter.

Now, if you look around the foundation codebases, there are author  
tags historically, and some projects just chose to ignore the  
recommendation and use them.

My preference is to not have them here in Apache Harmony, but that  
said, I want to make sure that contributors are recognized for both  
general participation as well as significant 'bulk' contributions.   
To solve that, I can think of two things offhand :

1) We should have a page like the HTTP project (you know, the "Apache  


where we have a list of our committers and their ongoing activities,  
and a section noting the contributions that the project accepted.

2) In order to get attribution closer to the code, we could also have  
an "AUTHORS" file per module, so that we'd easily know who is working  
on what - if you are a committer working on a module, you'd add your  
name to the list.  Additionally, if there was a bulk contribution  
that seeded a module (like the three contribs we have now), we can  
have a note about that at the top of the AUTHORS file such as  
"ArchieVM originally contributed by Archie Cobbs"  (yeah, I know we  
aren't calling it ArchieVM...) or something like that.



Geir Magnusson Jr                                  +1-203-665-6437

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