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From "William A. Rowe Jr." <>
Subject Re: A proposal from Symantec for cleaning up the SSL-related documentation for Apache's HTTPD
Date Wed, 04 Apr 2012 00:56:06 GMT
On 4/3/2012 6:01 PM, Geoffrey Noakes wrote:
> Symantec (previously VeriSign/Thawte/GeoTrust) is willing to take on – for free –
> rewriting of the SSL-related content for Apache HTTPD, but it is important to us that
> work ends up being useful and valuable to the Apache community, and is not just a
> make-work project.  We will do this in a CA-independent manner – we do not seek any
> advantage here, we just want to make it easier for Apache HTTPD users to understand what
> they need to know when implementing SSL (and 100% of them will do so, at some point).
> expect to leverage our skills around writing/publishing meaningful content, along with
> rich set of experiences we have from working with so many Apache HTTPD users as customers
> (e.g., what problems end up in our Customer Support that could be easily be fixed with
> some Apache documentation?).


thank you for your offer.  There is no part of our documentation which couldn't
benefit from closer attention, rewriting and even refactoring followed up by peer
review/acceptance cycle.  That is a good idea.

This whole conversation jumps the shark when we begin suggesting "Corp Co will..."
and I'm afraid you will not have a positive response from this specific line of
inquiry.  The docs team welcomes documentation authors.  The docs team is not
soliciting a writing shop, editing shop or publishing shop.

Corporations are appreciated by the foundation, but not respected.  No corp will
ever be a project committer.  No corp will ever be credited as an author.  The
ASF is entirely about the contributions of specific authors (code, and docs) and
their contributions to the project's ecosystem.  This is just one reason why some
incubation efforts at the ASF may fail, a simple culture war.

The way this project works is write a patch.  Make it small enough for review.
Post it to docs@ (or dev@ or the issue tracker or the wiki, but turn right back
around and point to it in a note to docs@), respond to criticism, and the more
reviewable it is, the quicker it can be reviewed and potentially accepted.  As
a given author becomes trusted, and gains experience in interating with the team,
the faster their patches are accepted.  When that individuals patches don't need
editing before commit and are too numerous, that individual inevitably gains the
commit karma of their own.

So you are right, doing a 360% review without acceptance is wildly frustrating
and probably not worth doing without committed reviewers.  Ask for specific offers
of review from the team so you know several will review the work.  Do this in some
incremental and measurable phases which the team can follow in their own limited
volunteer time commitments.

I think we all respect that your crew seeks to be neutral in offering good SSL
guidance to the community.  But the very tone of your note suggested to me some
request for a banner "This documentation donated by Symantec, your trusted source
for SSL cryptographic solutions."  Which might just well be fact for some of the
readers, but would not be entertained.  The collective work of Apache httpd is
wildly diverse and represents hundreds of employed and volunteer contributors
from hundreds of companies.

The mark of a successful committer is that they have enough pride in their own
contribution that they might continue to maintain and improve it, even after the
company who paid them as they wrote it is no longer their employer.  Sorry if
we are all coming at this from different perspectives, but the project has a very
rich history of leaving their employers at the side door when they come in to
collaborate with their 'competitors'.  Our competition here are colleagues.

If an author steps forward, they will find reviewers, I've read that commitment
on this list several times in the past month.

Respectfully yours,


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