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From "Cliff Schmidt" <cl...@bea.com>
Subject RE: PR issues (was: several messages)
Date Fri, 23 Jul 2004 21:08:33 GMT
Noel J. Bergman wrote on Friday, July 23, 2004 12:54 PM:

> Without wanting to mention names, I agree with Brian about the
> problem, but also observe that this has happened with the source
> having been visible prior to Incubation.  So that's why I separate
> those two issues, and concur with a goal to improve participation,
> and prevent abuse of the Incubator for PR purposes.
> 
> I have suggested to the PRC folks some basic guidelines for Incubator
> related PR:
> 
>   - promote the ASF as a place for exciting new things.
>   - attract developers to help build them.

agree - this is hopefully an area where BigCo PR can help the ASF.

>   - require Incubator branding since while these communities
>     are in the Incubator incubated, they do not have the
>     imprimatur of being official ASF projects.

We need to be more specific about this.  AFAIK, the only specific
requirements we've set so far is around disclaimers in the README
file, branding on the web site, and filename's of releases.  I don't
believe we've ever formalized a policy that any PR around an 
incubating project needs to specifically mention the Incubator status,
or that project t-shirts should have the incubator mentioned on it.

However, I think most of us agree that these would be reasonable
requirements.  So, I think we should have a policy that any marketing
materials that refer to an incubating project at Apache must 
prominently mention its incubating status, whether the marketing 
material is a press release or a t-shirt.

My point here is that we should make sure companies understand how
far this requirement extends.

>   - discourage PR prior to actually bringing the project to the ASF.
> 
> The last item gets into timing issues, but we don't want a situation
> were we have an extensive period of PR and have to keep prodding the
> Grantor to start incubation.

This is an interesting area that I'd love to help figure out 
guidelines for.  Here are some of the issues involved:

- Does the ASF care whether a company announces plans to open source
a technology before proposing to the Incubator, if the company isn't
making any claims of where it will be hosted?

- Is there some timeframe from project acceptance to initial code
drop that we would want to establish?  What if the timeline is 
exceeded, does it require another vote?  My only concern here is 
that it is quick and easy to throw code over the wall that a 
company isn't really committed to for the long term.  There's 
inherently more involved if a company wants to move their 
internal development of a technology to an open, collaborative 
community...and continue to be committed to supporting and 
shipping the work of that community.  So, if a company wants to 
wait for the proposal to be accepted by the Incubator before 
doing the work to move their project, we have to realize there 
will be some time involved.

- So, given the above, should we try to put limitations on what
a company can say about the project after it is accepted, but
before code is in Apache?  The tricky part here is that every
company is going to want to "control their story".  If the media 
picks up on a newly accepted project in the Incubator, and the 
company doesn't have the opportunity to explain why it is open 
sourcing the project, there's a danger that it will be 
misunderstood (e.g. The Wall Street Journal recently ran a 
story entitled "More Old Software Is 'Open Sourced'" with the
opening line, "Old software programs never die -- they just go 
open-source."  A company proposing a project at Apache probably
(hopefully) doesn't have that intention and will want to make
that clear.

There are other issues, but I think I could be in danger of 
rambling (if not already past that point).  Having seen the
BigCo concerns first hand and also having thought a lot about
what would benefit the ASF in this area, I'm very interested in 
this sort of discussion.

Cliff

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