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From Gianugo Rabellino <g.rabell...@sourcesense.com>
Subject Re: Nobody from the ASF is helping (ESME) sustain or build momentum or community
Date Sun, 03 May 2009 15:42:22 GMT
On Sun, May 3, 2009 at 2:06 PM, Anne Kathrine Petteroe
<yojibee@gmail.com> wrote:
> I have a question for Erik.
>
> In a comment on David's post you say:
> "I just don't see the path, other than perhaps Siemens, SAP, or some other
> sponsor paying people to write the code. Which, of course, would fit with
> other ASF projects."
>
> How does this sponsorship work?
> Does ASF have projects which are commercial open source?

Anne,

I'm walking a fine line here, so full disclosure first (and apologies
if it's perceived as spam): my company provides, among others, those
kind of services and we have been, although in a somewhat different
way, doing something very similar to sponsored work on another Apache
project (POI) on behalf of a "sponsor" (Microsoft). I won't abuse any
further of the public list, but feel free to contact me if you want to
know more about what we did over there.

There are loads of issues to be aware of, and Bertrand correctly
summarized the most relevant, but it's absolutely kosher to hire third
parties to develop code that might eventually land in Apache (if the
community agrees, and if the _individuals_ who are writing it manage
to earn their way into the community). Actually, the Apache license is
designed with that kind of flexibility in mind, and the Apache
community is built on top of a great ecosystem which takes all sort of
collaboration into account, including corporate employees,
contractors, sponsors, services companies, consultants, students and
geeks. We know and understand that the vast majority of code that
lands @ the ASF has someone footing the bill, but the Foundation goes
at extreme length to make sure that such contributions are handled in
a community-friendly way with all the Apache magic (meritocracy,
community over code, etc...) in mind.

So, in short: money can buy development time, and that in turn can buy
you (indirectly!) community outreach and help in building momentum
towards a successful project. It's an added bonus for that development
time to be invested in an Apache-friendly way (i.e. no "code dumps",
people participating to the discussion, meritocracy and all that), as
otherwise you would run the risk of seeing contributions being turned
down. What money will not buy you is any particular ASF love, cut
corners, graduation or bent rules: actually, doing it right might
require some additional scrutiny (e.g. the "three indipendent business
entities backing the project" might require some review if you were to
hire a third party to actually work on your behalf), but it might also
help building an open and diverse community which is able to withstand
the test of time.

HTH,

-- 
Gianugo Rabellino
M: +44 779 5364 932 / +39 389 44 26 846
Sourcesense - making sense of Open Source: http://www.sourcesense.com

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