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From Sanjiva Weerawarana <sanj...@opensource.lk>
Subject Re: a few steps before approving a project
Date Wed, 31 Aug 2005 18:29:55 GMT
On Wed, 2005-08-31 at 11:01 -0700, Cliff Schmidt wrote:
> I'd like to suggest a few changes to the process of approving new
> project proposals.  The purpose of these changes would be to allow the
> ASF to consider big picture issues related to the acceptance of new
> projects into the Incubator, which isn't as likely to happen with our
> current set of rules where any of our 30+ PMCs can approve a new
> project for incubation and where the Incubator PMC itself has a pretty
> informal process for evaluating new proposals.
> 
> Here are some of the ideas I have in mind (note that some are
> dependent on the implementation of others):
> 
> - change the Incubator PMC charter (not that we have a official
> charter) to include approving of all new projects, so that once a
> sponsor PMC (if not the Incubator PMC) approves a new project, the
> Incubator PMC still has to give a final approval.

+1.

What if a current PMC wants to start an effort on its own? That is, not
incubation style, where there's a process of "learning the Apache Way"
etc., but rather some ASF committers getting together and starting a new
project and they come to the PMC for approval.

Does the incubator PMC get involved with that too? (I'd be most
certainly -1 to that; I am not agreeable to saying all PMCs are now
throttled by the incubator PMC.)

If not, then doesn't the problem you're trying to solve still exist at a
different level??

> - ensure all proposals use the same standard template -- we've
> recently gotten proposals that simply copied some other proposal they
> saw -- we're not really making sure that any one set of standard
> questions is answered.

Sure, +1.

> - add a question to the template asking whether the person(s)
> proposing are aware of similar open source projects inside or outside
> the ASF.  I'm not suggesting that a project wouldn't get approved if
> there is some similar high profile open source project, but at least
> we are explicitly asking the question and getting the information.

A general "Related Work" section would be good. I think its very prudent
to ask for commercial competition as well, would you agree?? Some of the
concerns that have been stated with open source projects are valid for
commercial stuff too - and its best that the incubator PMC (and PRC) be
aware of such items.

> - consider having a formal liaison at a few key external open source
> communities to give a friendly notice to whenever the Incubator PMC
> knows there's a proposal that could be controversial.   This really
> only works if we add the new proposal question mentioned above and
> create a more centralized process of looping the Incubator PMC in
> *before* a project is approved.

I don't think this is scaleable or necessary to do formally but that's
me.

> - require that the Incubator PMC loops in the PRC on any project that
> could have any chance of media attention (either because of the
> overall significance of the project, the potential for controversy,
> expected vendor press releases, or the opportunity to release a joint
> statement with some other organization).

So this would be no matter whether there's a press release involved?
Justin was advocating that incubating projects be barred from doing PR
at all .. so are you suggesting they can, as long as PRC is involved?
(Which BTW is the current process.)

> I really don't want to add more process than necessary, but as the
> ASFs importance continues to grow, I think there a few issues that

I'd s/importance/successes/. 

> should be addressed with each new project, and I'm hoping steps like
> these could help that to happen.  Of course, an incubating project
> isn't an officially endorsed ASF project, but we still call it "Apache
> foo" and it's certainly perceived by the outside as being an action by
> the ASF when it is accepted for incubation.

Are we solving the right problem then??

> BTW, the XMLBeans PMC just voted to add a single member to the PMC,
> and even that required a 72-hour wait after getting Board
> acknowledgement (which is fine with me)....why should there be
> fewer checks to get an entire project approved?

You're missing a key point: Incubation is supposed to be the *starting
point* for getting a project into the ASF. Graduation is the process for
getting it approved, not starting incubation. Are you seriously
suggesting that we change that?? If not IMO the checks need to be *while
incubating* and not prior to incubation, but YMMV.

Sanjiva.



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