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From Jeff Trawick <>
Subject Re: consider reopening 1.3
Date Sun, 16 Nov 2003 17:11:10 GMT
Glenn wrote:

> - lack of clear leadership and even basic direction

At present I see most of the time volunteered by developers to be spent 
communicating with users on the bug db and trying to fix bugs.  That sounds all 
well and good to me.

If somebody wants something big implemented that they cannot do themselves, let 
them compel ("lead") the others to want to work on it.  If not, so be it.

>   scratch-an-itch development is fine and good, but not in total chaos

What is this total chaos?  That everybody doesn't get in a room and map out 
what everybody is going to be doing?  This is volunteer work.  Some of us are 
spending quite a few personal funds this week flying somewhere to get in a room 
together and hash through some issues.

Sure, if everybody running their web site on Apache httpd would pay ASF a few 
dollars a month, things could change, and maybe some of us could spend our long 
working hours working just on Apache httpd.  But that isn't the situation.  And 
I am not interested in this turning into a big business.  And for many of us, 
our day jobs are good influences on our httpd endeavors anyway, even while they 
take away time that could theoretically be spent making httpd the way you want 
it to work.

> - cathedral development
>   it appears that more than a few serious discussions have not happened
>   on-list and instead happen on IRC or elsewhere (board rooms?) without
>   apprising the list of what transpired.  (Or have there been absolutely
>   no recent design discussions?)

As someone who

1) follows development pretty closely
2) works for a company that has multiple skilled httpd developers and could 
conceivably host these "board room" discussions
3) hardly ever logs on to IRC, much less sees much discussed there when I 
happen to be logged on (ooh ooh new conspiracy theory!!!!)

I don't see this being a problem.  YMMV.

> - patch management
>   many patches posted to this list or the bug db languish in limbo.
>   Very little happens until a core contributor decides to take over a patch
>   (more often than not it is more than simply shepherding it)
>   Little feedback; it often feels like nobody's home to answer the phone...

This is a big hole which will be addressed, even if I have to quit my job, 
abandon my family, find shelter from the wind and rain somewhere that has WiFi 
access, etc.  (No, not really.  But this isn't a simple situation that can be 
solved by proclamation.  We already have the will, we just need to have some 
procedures to help us focus that will.)

> - insufficient (developer) documentation
>   sure, there's the source, but it takes a lot longer to wrap ones head
>   around the Apache2 paradigms than it did for Apache 1.3 BUFFs and such.
>   The barrier to entry is much higher; solid design documents would be
>   infinitely helpful

Documentation is a lot of work and largely thankless.  If somebody wants better 
docs, they should be ready to post patches to what is there already.  Or if 
they actually pay somebody for an Apache-based server, submit doc issues as 
defects to your vendor.  Or pay somebody to do it.  Or wait silently for 
somebody to do it for them.

> - many new contributors are frustrated and discouraged

Hopefully keeping focus on patches will be a big help.

But I can't gloss over the fact that this is how new contributers become 
developers and then able to lead themselves to solutions for problems that they 
wish to see resolved:

Post patches for bugs that are central enough to core operations that existing 
developers will be compelled (and skilled enough) to review and shepherd them 
in.  Keep doing it for a while.  You'll get commit access.  You'll be a 
"developer" and be able to fix other non-core issues pretty much as you choose.

Posting patches for something relatively obscure or not generally applicable is 
not the way to become part of the developer community.  Some of these patches 
may find shepherds, but the surer path is to attack problems that affect 
everybody and/or are in areas that more people have the skills to review.

> - dwindling community
>   The apache-dev list focus on 2.0 /to the detriment of 1.3/ is at odds
>   with the rest of the world that relies on the venerable Apache 1.3
> - ...

1.3 works well enough for most everybody.  That explains the situation well 
enough for me.

> So where do we go from here?
> *** We need better patch management


> *** We need to get back many of the disenfranchised Apache 1.3 developers

Who are these people?

> The better option is reopening the 1.3 tree.
> Release 1.4 and open a 1.5 dev tree, with the specific intent on
> having the 1.4 release eventually map _directly_ into a _seamless_
> upgrade to Apache 2.x, with very easy and clear directions for using
> a reverse proxy for those legacy 1.3 third-pary modules.)  While
> upgrading is not hard for developers, Apache is not a simple product.
> We need an even-better (tm) way to get users from There (Apache 1.3)
> to Here (Apache 2.x).  Yes, more trees are extra work, but this
> community is rapidly deteriorating without them.

I don't expect any of the current Apache developers would be interested in 
this.  But plenty of people join the development community over time (see 
previous comments) and theoretically the opinions could change.

> *** We need to get more people using Apache 2.x

FWLIW, I have the impression that this is taken much more personally by 
non-httpd-developers than by we httpd developers.  Maybe that leads to a 
certain confusion about why we don't put more effort into certain things (e.g., 
more doc for module developers).

> Apache 2.x is not going to get any better than it is now until more
> people start using it in the real world (outside the lab).

It's happening.  There are enough production sites using Apache 2 or servers 
based on it to show that it is good enough for many situations.  Personally I 
am not disturbed if a very small percentage of the elephantine WWW is using 
Apache 2.

Note that there is also plenty of feedback from these experiences, we just need 
to catch up :)

Take care,


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