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From Rob Hartill <>
Subject Re: hello to the lurkers, comments please
Date Tue, 07 Apr 1998 22:33:43 GMT

>From the perspective of an inactive former-contributor..

On Tue, 7 Apr 1998, Dean Gaudet wrote:
> 1) Do you feel that the Apache group is behaving like:
>   (a) pre-teens
>   (b) rebellious teenagers
>   (c) young ideallistic adults
>   (d) mature adults
>   (e) idiots

(f) a collection of talented individuals who are trying to perfect
  the art of never finishing something.

> 2) Are you happy using a product which is clearly managed by bumbling fools
>    that can't make any decisions?

I hardly ever use Microsoft software so my answer is 'N/A'.

> 3) Oh hey, do you want to vote for the two naming proposals?
>   (a) I believe that documentation is the place to define the API, and I
>       really just want a solution to the name space collision issues, so I
>       would like everything to be prefixed ap_.  I recognize that this is
>       a time-honoured solution, even ANSI and POSIX use this technique,
>       a leading _ is protected namespace, but by no means does it mean that
>       the function/keyword is private.
>   (b) I believe that we should spend a bunch of effort right now deciding
>       what is part of the API, and what isn't, and what won't ever be part
>       of the API, and we should include this information as documentation
>       in the symbols.  I clearly don't believe that documentation is
>       sufficient.

I missed the big flare up on this issue and then chose to delete 99% of
the discussion on it 'cos it didn't look worth getting sucked into even
from an observers point of view. I prefer humourous flamewars.

Not knowing the facts or who's on what side, my opinion is this..

Anything that delays 1.3's final release any further is a real bad idea
no matter how well intentioned it is. Leave the quest for perfection
to the design of 2.0 because you've got the rest of your lives to argue
about 2.0.  Ship 1.3 while it still works. Change anything that isn't
broken and we're effectively back to 1.3b1

> 4) Do you feel that watching Apache make a decision is a lot like watching
>    government try to accomplish anything?
>    (a) yes
>    (b) no

(b), I've never seen anyone here get bribed to change policy.

> 5) Do you think that the development guidelines
>    <> are a sign of a
>    dysfunctional group who can't trust each other?
>    (a) yes
>    (b) no

The key here is that everyone working on Apache (past and present) is
here for different reasons. Rules and guidelines wouldn't be needed if
everyone's motivation was the same. Some people care lots about efficiency,
others about configurability, others about spec compliance, etc. Life
would be so much easier if the primary goal was (as it is at MS) to ship
any old piece of junk as long as it contributes positively to the balance
sheet or negatively to the balance sheet of your rival.

Apache needs guidelines to keep a check on how far any individual can
push change in a controversial direction.

Whether the guidelines work properly or not is another matter. They
are needed and their intented purpose is/was desirable.

> 6) (essay) Compare and contrast the terms "democracy" and "meritocracy".
> 7) (essay) Do you have any suggestions as to how improve the Apache
>    development process?
> 8) Would you like to start working on Apache 2.0?
>    (a) Yes I think that would be cool.
>    (b) No, I think you're a bunch of losers I'm going to join some other
>        httpd effort.
>    (c) No, I just like to watch the fighting.
>    (d) What is Apache 2.0?

What's missing at the moment is a will to see anything to completion.
We all want and say we want(ed) 1.3 released soon, but the bottom line
is that nobody here *needs* 1.3 released. What do I care if I run 1.3bx-dev
or 1.3 ?. Release 1.3 and I'll start running 1.4, 1.3.1 or 2.0a or whatever
its successor is called. We have no external forces that make a 1.3
release a necessity; the netcraft stats keep adding %age points to
our collective egos. I bet if we lost 5% in a survey 1.3'd be released
before the next one got published.

How do we create release necessity ?. We probably can't, which is why
I'd prefer a switch to periodic releases that only require stability
to see them happen. Get rid of counterproductive betas.

I'm running 1.3-dev from about 4 weeks back. If it hasn't been broken
in the meantime I'd say ship it today, warts and all and divert all
this wasted talent and energy towards 1.3's successor. If 1.3-dev
has been broken in the last month or so, back out the breakages first.

Rob Hartill                              Internet Movie Database (Ltd)   .. a site for sore eyes.

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