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From Berin Lautenbach <be...@wingsofhermes.org>
Subject Re: a few steps before approving a project
Date Thu, 01 Sep 2005 10:41:11 GMT
I've been following this with a little bit of confusion.  It strikes me 
that there is a lot of reaction going on without really thinking through 
the implications.

So just to stir the pot....

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.

What does this add?  The incubator should not be the arbiter of what 
kinds of things the ASF wants to take on board - that's why we have 
project PMCs who can represent the wide and varied breadth of the ASF.

The purpose of the Incubator is to incubate and to make sure that code 
bases and communities are in a proper state before they enter the ASF 
whole.  Let them in!  If there are issues, then the process of 
incubation should bring those issues to light so we can decide what to do.

The only way I would ever be +1 on this kind of idea is if the allowable 
reasons for the Incubator PMC denying a project or proposal are very 
clearly defined and signed up to by all.  Otherwise we have one PMC 
second guessing another PMC.  Sure set the rules for accepting proposals 
or projects, but let the PMCs get on and do the work!

> 
> - 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.

OK - I can see this.  But again I'd be careful not to get too 
bureaucratic.  I'd put forward a standard template and encourage people 
to use it, but God help us if we start turning interesting and useful 
projects away simply because they didn't use the right template!

> 
> - 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.

OK - This is just another bit of information we are asking for.  I 
personally think it's just adding work for proposals, but OK.

> 
> - 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.

+1 to the first part, not sure I agree with the second.  I think we are 
forgetting that a project is *not* "approved" when it enters incubation. 
  It is simply approved to be incubated.  There is absolutely nothing 
wrong with things starting at that point rather than before.  Loop 
people in then - "we have just received a podling dealing with X and are 
letting you know".

Really we are in danger of creating an incubator that you need to get 
through before you get into the incubator.

> 
> - 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).

I think this is true of any PMC now isn't it?  And really, this should 
be the responsibility of the PPMC (or the owning PMC).  The Incubator 
PMC should just be stepping in when it isn't happening.

Otherwise you are asking the Incubator PMC to be involved in every 
single activity of every single podling, when really the aim of the 
Incubator is to make the podlings self sufficient and capable under the 
ASF umbrella and standards.

> 
> 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
> 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.

Another approach is to change peoples perception.  Another again is to 
live with it!

I saw another trail referring to the ASF is a gorilla.  We are. 
*Whatever we do we are going to upset people*.  So rather than focus on 
how to have the right PR and the not upset people, take a step back and 
ask what is important to the ASF first and formost.

*If* the most important things to the ASF as a whole is PR - then lets 
go head first down that track.  But if the most important thing is Open 
Source and community, then lets foster that first and formost.  Lets not 
sacrifice the bigger picture because of some pain and angst.

> 
> 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?

There are far more checks already.  To get a project approved you need a 
full resolution signed by the board.  A better analogy would be voting 
on a new PMC member.  No PMC requires *any* input from anyone else to 
take such a vote.

Cheers,
	Berin


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