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From David Pollak <>
Subject Re: Nobody from the ASF is helping (ESME) sustain or build momentum or community
Date Sun, 03 May 2009 17:16:43 GMT
On Sun, May 3, 2009 at 2:25 AM, Richard Hirsch <>wrote:

> I agree with Vassil in that the main issue deals with the creation of
> exceptional open-source code and the different ways to build the community
> to support such code. Much of the debate revolving around the ASF concerns
> unspoken expectations - what should / can ASF provide emerging projects. As
> Gianugo puts it
> > The actual community building is however a task for the project itself:
> the
> > ASF isn't Midas and won't be able to
> > turn an unattractive project into sexy stuff that gathers time and
> > enthusiasm from volunteers.
> IMHO, the ASF provides the structure - based on years of experience - and
> infrastructure to support such communities.  I
> think all open-source projects want to succeed. There is always some hidden
> hope that the ASF's Midas touch will lead to a stream of new developers
> contributing to this success.  I think in the ASF the focus is on doing
> things the "Apache" way as a means of creating this community.  Although
> can provide guidance based upon what has been successful in other Apache
> projects, it can't be expected to do the grunt work for all its projects.
> We could expect more "lessons learned" from other ASF projects coming from
> the mentors but the actual application of these ideas has to come from us.
> Speaking of grunt work, we should probably be considering what to do about
> the necessity of rewriting the ESME codebase as  David and Erik describe.
> We
> can have the best wiki in the ASF but ESME is a software project and
> without
> a solid code base we aren't going to get very far.


I'm a fan of burning down code.  Code has little value compared to
institutional knowledge.  The problem as I see it with ESME is that the
institutional knowledge is slipping away because the momentum is slipping
away.  The code is a lot less material to the process.  The project momentum
is a lot more valuable.

Put another way, I think about 50% of the Lift code needs to be burned down
and over the next year, I expect that will happen.  I also expect that once
that's happened... in a year, another 50% of the Lift code will need to be
burned down.  There is no code base that I've ever seen that doesn't need
some substantial re-writing.  Doing this while preserving backward
compatibility is always a fun challenge.

As opposed to you, I expect that part of the structural value of the ASF is
the structures that help build community.  Please see my prior post.



> D.
> On Sun, May 3, 2009 at 12:22 AM, Vassil Dichev <> wrote:
> > Without trying to get into David's mind, I'd like to point out that
> > David's blog post was more of a reaction to defend the Rails
> > community. I must say it's possible to get the point across even
> > without the unfortunate comparison with the ASF. The point is this:
> > it's hard writing exceptional software. I think you both agree on one
> > count: even guidance and support don't guarantee a groundbreaking
> > software project. If success was easy to reproduce, someone would have
> > discovered a way of generating groundbreaking software projects on a
> > mass scale.
> >
> > Now I don't think that a software project has to be groundbreaking to
> > be useful. I have no illusions that ESME is destined to be as
> > groundbreaking as e.g. Rails. I still hope it has the chance to be
> > useful.
> >
> > With that said, I hope that any heated arguments originating from the
> > Rails scandal are over soon, because there are probably no two people
> > who agree on which software is useful or groundbreaking. And the time
> > and effort spent in a discussion like this could be spent creating
> > software.
> >
> > Vassil
> >

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