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From JLCastle <lemoyne.cas...@gmail.com>
Subject Re: [VOTE] Accept OpenOffice.org for incubation
Date Mon, 13 Jun 2011 18:38:53 GMT
I see this is too late to count but I offer my thoughts anyway.  
It was already late before it lurked in an outbox for a while.

[-1] (non-binding)  Vote to reject the OpenOffice.org PROPOSAL 

I reject the proposal not the community or the project.  

I am still a bit of an open source newb and do not have a long history
with either the code base, IP issues or the community.  
Please be free to correct or work around my misapprehensions.
Please accept my remarks as offered in the spirit of contribution to the
proposal's goal of continuing the creation, "as a community, [of] the
leading international office suite".  

I am a TDF contributor but that is not the reason I reject the proposal
as it stands. 
I am powerfully drawn to contribute to ASF and the OO project, despite
my preference for an LGPL license. [1]   
I do not see the primary goals and interests of the Apache
OpenOffice.org community and the TDF community as divergent. 
I believe that all open source branches of the OpenOffice family tree
(linked by their still mostly common code base) will thrive best when
they all thrive.

The primary reasons I must reject this proposal (not the project!) come
from my understanding of ASF and from a few years of maintenance
development on a large old app: 

1) The Rationale doesn't work for me at all: 
"Both Oracle and ASF agree that the OpenOffice.org development
community, previously fragmented, would re-unite under ASF to ensure a
stable and long term future for OpenOffice.org. " 
-1A) This sentence speaks for ASF.  I have seen several emails where
this is frowned upon within the Apache community, but I will assume the
true Sponsor (the Incubator) can speak as ASF through the proposal (back
to itself?).  A bit convoluted for the Rationale.  More to the point is
TDF's first value: We commit ourselves to eliminate the digital divide
in society by giving everyone access to office productivity tools free
of charge to enable them to participate as full citizens in the 21st
century.  --
http://wiki.documentfoundation.org/TDF/Next_Decade_Manifesto
-1B) The 're-uniting a fragmented development community' meme is
disingenuous or just plain wrong.  The permissive nature of the Apache
license is called pragmatic because it is intended to allow and
encourage a variety of proprietary downstream development branches: this
is a fragmentation of development effort, nu?  Also, LibreOffice
development with its maturing timed release schedule and replacement of
OpenOffice in many Linux distros is neither a figment nor a fragment.  
-1C) The Rationale for the project might simply change 'agree' to
'intend' and 'would re-unite' to 'could re-unite' to break down the
resemblance to the Borg's infamous 'assumed close' technique. [2]  

2) The Meritocracy section is broken. "Apache was chosen specifically
because Oracle as contributor, and IBM as Sponsor [...] want to
encourage this style of development for the project."  Leaving aside the
veracity, what does "IBM as Sponsor" mean?   The Incubator site says the
Sponsor must be part of Apache - here the true Sponsor is the Apache
Incubator.  And I don't think 'IBM as Sponsor of ASF' works either.
Open, democratic and transparent aren't about style - they are
requirements for success and graduation.

3) The missings:  
3A) Initial Goals section:
It is sudden (tho' not surprising), a bit of a mess, all new and there
is a lot to sort out.  
The Initial Goals could be a series of assertions of 'by when' critical
aspects will get sorted out.  
-- Accessible, buildable repo: Unless it's just about to happen, this is
initial goal 1.
-- If the build system, code, artwork, etc have IP issues that make a
dev repo unavailable then they become goal 0.
-- Germ of Release Plan: Release what? when? OK, then: By when goals set
= initial goal
-- Idea of Core Team: how many FTers? From where? How many others to
balance as community? Enough in #? Enough in coverage? How many
community + non-sponsored developers to balance that into a community
project? (by when have #s)

3B) There is other suggested content here --
http://incubator.apache.org/guides/proposal.html --  that appears to be
germane in this case of a large, established (OO has code older than
Apache) project with a history checkered by 'management issues'.  

3C) The Community section is missing translators, help/doc and only
lists users and only infers the presence of national orgs with
"supporter[sic], promoters, trainers, consultants, e.g., an extended
ecosystem". In fact, the whole Community section reads like a business
analysis: it speaks almost entirely about various releases. And as
either a business analysis or community description it fails to mention
the centralizing OOo brand. 

The flaws in Rationale, Meritocracy and Community with missing Initial
Goals all add up to this stopper: 
  --  The proposal doesn't just have hat problems, it looks like the
case of The Wrong Trousers. [3]

The proposal has existed a couple weeks and drawn out a nascent
community of near 100 contributors.  I understand that an incubation
proposal is normally written by the [representatives of a] community
seeking to enter incubation.  While the project file delivery is sorted
out and the infastructure is set-up there is time to set your course as
a community.  I can see the AOO community is eager to work on status and
goals.  Developing 'where we at' and 'where we going' will call out a
rationale worthy of your community.  

I have been tremendously impressed by the skill and principles of the
Apache community. 
The enthusiasm and experience of the community gathering around this
project is inspiring.  
I would have voted for the proposal as is (X-P) with the addition of one
initial goal to rewrite the proposal as a community.  
I apologize I did not get to figure much of this out for myself till the
weekend. 
Projects are multiplying in my life like rabbits in summer, many besides
AOO.

There is a potential for AOO to come out of incubation in ~1/2 year as a
TLP that promptly puts ~all of itself back into incubation as 8, 10 or
even 20 subprojects [each app (or functional section? or both sets?),
users, translators, build/release/package, qa, help/doc, site/wiki,
etc.].  
I truly wish you well in this endeavor.  
It *IS* epic.  

Blessed Be! 
LeMoyne

[1] If you wish to discuss 'the dread licensing issue' on this thread
you are, of course, free to do so.  Please change your subject line and
please restrict your comments to relevant licenses that are held by The
Dread Pirate Roberts, Judge Dredd or someone with dreadlocks.  
[2] It pains me to follow through on the analogy and see ASF cast in the
role of Locutus.
[3] A Wallace and Gromit movie by Nick Park.  You don't want to wear the
pants if they're The Wrong Trousers.  

 



-- 
JLCastle <lemoyne.castle@gmail.com>


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