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From "David E. Jones" <jone...@ofbiz.org>
Subject Re: Proposal for OFBiz to Join the ASF
Date Thu, 12 Jan 2006 20:27:42 GMT

On Jan 12, 2006, at 11:57 AM, J Aaron Farr wrote:

> This proposal has caught my interest.  I'd be willing to help mentor.

That would be great. I've been skimming through the policy emails  
that have been on this list for the last few days and it's sounding  
like 3 mentors is something that would be a good thing. For the  
reason you mentioned (below) and others having a good group of  
mentors will likely be pretty important for a project like OFBiz.

> A couple of points:
>
> The proposal says that this project is to be sponsored by the ASF
> Board.  Is that correct?  Did the Board already +1 on or are we still
> searching for a sponsoring entity?

As I understand it in order to become a top level project the Board  
must be the sponsor, which is why the proposal was written that way.  
We did send a this proposal to the board mailing list and as far as I  
know there hasn't been a +1 from the Board yet, but they said the  
proposal should initially be sent here to the general incubator list.  
I guess after it has been discussed here in order to go forward as  
proposed approval and acceptance from the board will be required (or  
maybe not?).

> Apache has generally stayed away from end user applications and
> instead focuses on infrastructure and middleware.  That's not
> completey true, but is a good rule of thumb.  For example, a lot of
> contributors and supporters of the ASF use our code to create
> ecommerce products.  I'm a little worried that some may view this
> proposal as the ASF attempting to compete with these contributors.

Yes, this was one of my initial concerns and probably why I never  
really thought of the option before (even though I like the Apache  
way of doing things and about a year ago we started looking into  
changing the OFBiz license from MIT to Apache 2.0). This does seem to  
be a bit of a new direction for Apache, though in a way it is just  
going another level or two up a stack that various Apache projects  
have been progressing up over time.

In general where I see OFBiz fitting in the world is not so much an  
"out of the box" use piece of software anyway. Some companies  
certainly can and choose to use it this way, but for the most part it  
is a starting point for customized software for internal use within a  
company or even commercial or open source derivative works. These  
typically have a more specifically defined scope, like a particular  
industry or type of company. Doing things in this way makes software  
projects and products possible that wouldn't be otherwise, just as  
lower level (infrastructure, middleware, etc) open source components  
do though at a different level. OFBiz has a framework oriented for  
data and service driven enterprise apps and a data model, set of  
services, and set of generic user interfaces that can be used in some  
cases as it though in most cases just as artifacts that can be reused  
in other projects.

Not that this wouldn't compete with other commercial and even open  
source efforts, but hopefully this short description makes it more  
clear how I see OFBiz fitting in the world. For those who have home  
grown ecommerce and other enterprise systems (CRM, ERP, and so on)  
for either internal or commercial use, perhaps we can help them out  
by allowing them to share lower level data model and service and  
possibly even UI artifacts and therefore focus on higher level more  
differentiating things. In the end it is the end-users who benefit  
most from this, as is the case with most open source software, and so  
it is from the edge (end users) that most of this is driven and  
service and product providers have a new option to either cooperate  
or compete, but either way they will have to explain their choice and  
direction to their clients, and there is no universal principal that  
says that in all cases one is really better or worse than the other...

One way or another I guess bringing in a project like OFBiz does  
perhaps expand the scope, especially the publicly perceived scope, of  
the ASF. In a way this is a validation of the ASF model and this type  
of licensing and community interaction in general. It shows that  
these things apply to lots of different types of software and not  
just the more common and established perception of open source  
software in operating systems, server infrastructure (web, mail,  
other servers), middleware, databases, etc.

-David



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