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From Simon Kitching <si...@ecnetwork.co.nz>
Subject Re: RE:Making Daffodil Replicator an Open Source : Suggestion
Date Wed, 18 Aug 2004 04:31:02 GMT
On Wed, 2004-08-18 at 01:13, Ashish Srivastava wrote:
> Hi,

Hi Ashish,

>  
> Thanks for the informative mail. It did go a long way in bettering my
> understanding with regards to The Apache Software Foundation.
>  
> However, based on your feedback, the following come to my mind:
>  
> >Firstly, the code you are considering releasing under an open-source
> >licence is an add-on to a proprietory product. The ASF is unlikely to
> >consider adopting that kind of project......................
>  
> 1. Daffodil Replicator is not an add-on to Daffodil DB (our Java
> database). It is a standalone product developed in-house by Daffodil
> Software. Daffodil Replicator use the standard JDBC driver interface
> to interact with databases. It is not interacting with any Daffodil
> DB's internal API. 

Then that is *much* more likely to be of interest to the ASF. Thanks for
clarifying that.

>  
> 2. With regards to your comment about the 'group of developers' and
> the fact that the 'code you are considering releasing can only be used
> with a proprietary database', the following: 
> Replicator can be used by the following databases - SQL-Server,
> Oracle, Daffodil DB. (Note: These three databases have been tested
> with Replicator. I don't see why Replicator cannot be used with ALL
> others. However, testing needs to be done on the same.) Also, we can
> commit 20 - 30 developers from our talent pool, who can contribute
> from Day 1. Moreover, our forum (http://www.daffodildb.com:8080/forum)
> can be a good place to build up a pool of contributors.

That also sounds good. Knowing that multiple databases are already
supported is nice. An ongoing commitment from a contributing company to
maintaining the code will also be a good point in favour of your
proposal

There is one thing to keep in mind for the future: developing
open-source is different from developing "in-house". There have been
cases in the past where code has been released as "open-source", but the
development procedures of the original team have not adapted to the new
environment. In particular, the existing team need to be able to allow
others to influence decisions, must ensure all decisions are discussed
openly on email lists, etc. Open-source development really is a
different culture. I guess people who know more about this can provide
further advice if this goes ahead.

>  
> 4. Regarding our paradigm and business-model, we can (at this point of
> time) say that the objective for going the 'open source' way is
> singular: To build a robust product and a robust brand, at the same
> time leveraging the advantages of Open Source.

This really is a bit vague. If your company is really going to pay 20
developers to work at least part-time on a product that is downloadable
for free, the question "why?" immediately springs to mind. 

My current employer gave me permission to contribute some code developed
on company time to one of the Apache projects. This is because the code
was useful to us, but not something that gives us any competitive
advantage over competitors. By contributing, therefore, it cost nothing
but ensured that code we use was maintained and improved as part of the
project. 

This argument doesn't apply to you, though. From what you've described,
this tool can be used with many different databases. So what *are*
Daffodil's reasons for releasing this code you've paid people to create
as Open Source?

Do you want to make the company name "Daffodil" more widely known in
order to boost sales of your core product, ie you are using Open Source
as advertising? This is a perfectly reasonable motivation, but you need
to ensure that what you lose (loss of sales of this product + expenses
of development wages) are not greater than your gains. I'm not sure what
the ASF's policy is regarding including info on the original contributor
with future releases (I think they *do* provide reasonable attribution
of code to the original author, but you should check if this is
important to you).

Or do you regard the replicator as an add-on but not part of your core
products, and therefore want to share the development/maintenance costs
of this tool with other db suppliers?

Or do you think this replicator product will be wildly successful and
that as the original author you are well positioned to make money
providing support contracts for the open-source version (the "Red Hat"
model), or by selling "enhanced versions", or by selling the rights to
incorporate the code in other companies' proprietory offerings (the
MySQL model)?

Again, I am only speaking for myself here, but showing the reasons for
your release of code will help people believe that Daffodil is indeed
serious about ongoing support of the code and is serious about
transferring power over the project from itself to the open-source
community that may form around the project. Of course if your company
owners are simply motivated by goodwill to the world and willing to pay
developers to work on something with no expectation of any return, that
is fine too - just not so common :-)

Having good business reasons for engaging in open-source projects is
nothing to be concerned about. IBM, Sun, BEA and others have made, and
continue to make, major contributions to the ASF, and I don't think
anyone regards them as charities. 


If you are still interested in offering this code for adoption as an ASF
project (and I hope you are), I would suggest that you draft a new email
describing the features of Daffodil Replicator (esp. its cross-database
support) and include info on your motivations for this project, then
email this list again. It's unfortunate that no-one other than me has
responded so far, but I think there *will* be interest in this.

Unfortunately, two attributes that are greatly useful when participating
in open-source are Persistence and Patience :-)

I recommend you read the documention at:
  http://incubator.apache.org
for more information about how the ASF starts new projects.

To members of the incubator PMC: now would be a good time to speak up if
you disagree with anything I've said!

Regards,

Simon


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