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From Phil Steitz <phil.ste...@gmail.com>
Subject Re: OpenOffice: were are we now?
Date Mon, 06 Jun 2011 04:43:18 GMT
On 6/5/11 3:51 PM, Niall Pemberton wrote:
> On Sun, Jun 5, 2011 at 9:27 PM, Phil Steitz <phil.steitz@gmail.com> wrote:
>> On 6/5/11 11:21 AM, Niall Pemberton wrote:
>>> On Sun, Jun 5, 2011 at 1:02 PM, Christian Grobmeier <grobmeier@gmail.com>
wrote:
>>>> Hi all,
>>>>
>>>> I have tried to follow as much as emails as possible but it's
>>>> overwhelming. Anyway I feel that several questions do not longer
>>>> belong to the pre-incubation phase but should be clarified after we
>>>> have accepted the podling. Many questions are around "Can/Should we
>>>> have a second office community?", "is ASL better or GPL", "can we
>>>> handle all the dependencies" or "what direction should it go". I mean
>>>> "svn vs git" is really a topic for the openopffice-dev list.
>>>>
>>>> Most of them are all questions we can answer when have a podling - we
>>>> need votes to decide and a podling population. At the moment its just
>>>> noise. And to be honest, a separate ML for these issues would be also
>>>> cool.
>>>>
>>>> My question: are we already able to vote for the podling or not?
>>>>
>>>> If no - what questions need to be answered before we vote?
>>> This proposal raises lots of questions, but the requirements for
>>> entering the incubator are not high and so IMO don't need to be
>>> answered before a vote. The only reason I believe for rejecting this
>>> proposal would be because it would be in the best interests of the
>>> community to not split the FOSS development and compete with
>>> LibreOffice.
>>>
>>> I think we should seriously consider that before voting.
>>>
>>> I agree with all the arguments that ASF members have been putting
>>> forward about the good things for an OO project here at the ASF. I
>>> much prefer the Apache License and the freedom it provides to that of
>>> copyleft licenses. The ASF is a great home for projects and has a long
>>> history with established processes and policies. However, I have great
>>> respect for what LibreOffice have done and the community they have
>>> established. The copyleft license isn't ideal IMO, but other than that
>>> I have great respect for what they've managed to setup and the vibrant
>>> community that they've established. If LibreOffice hadn't happened
>>> then I think it would be better to have an OO project here at the ASF.
>>> But it has and they are too far down the road and have expended too
>>> much effort to make it appealing for them to join in here.
>>>
>>> We should also remember that, with Oracle abandoning OO, we are being
>>> used to facilitate their business relations with IBM. IBM could (and
>>> still can) decide to put its efforts into LibreOffice and while we may
>>> have philosophical differences over license, they surely don't as we
>>> witnessed when they transferred their efforts from our Harmony project
>>> to the GPL'd OpenJDK.
>> Interesting point.  I wonder if there is an explanation for this
>> inconsistency from the IBM perspective.
>>
>>> IMO the only negative thing then about LibreOffice is the copyleft
>>> license - everything else about them is great. When deciding whether
>>> to accept OO we should consider whether that and facilitating BigCos
>>> interests is worth splitting the FOSS community.
>>>
>>> I am considering voting -1 to this proposal for those reasons.
>> I share your concerns; but the fact is we have no "content"
>> requirements in the Incubator.  We have never imposed technical,
>> political or business requirements on podlings.  As a result, we
>> have been "used" to promote silly (IMO) middleware bloat and
>> proprietary code dumps.  On the other hand, we have grown some
>> decent communities around stuff that smelled at first.  Each time
>> something smelly like this shows up, I ask myself whether it makes
>> sense to push for "standards," but I have a hard time coming up with
>> a set of principles that we would likely agree on.  Can you?
> No I can't - but if enough people have concerns then theres probably a
> good reason for it. If not then it deserves to pass.

Agreed.  I wish I had a clearer idea of what constitutes a good
reason to reject an incubator proposal on principle, though - even
just a good enough reason to reject this one.  As long as there is
some promise of building a community and IP / grant issues are not
insurmountable, we tend to say yes.  In the present case, we are
avoiding discussion of two core issues:

0) Where do we draw the line in terms of commercial exploitation of
the ASF and the apache brand - and how do we even define "exploitation"?
1) Do we feel obligated to "do no harm" to OSS communities outside
of the ASF?

I know there is an easy answer to 1) that "competition is OK; we
have that inside the ASF ... blah, blah" but that is rationalization
in this case.  We are talking about *the same codebase* and
basically forking the community.  Is that consistent with our
mission?   If not, is that inconsistency a "good reason" to reject
an incubator proposal?

Item 0) is harder.  I don't think we have anything close to
consensus on what is OK.  Many of us seem to have just accepted the
fact that companies use the ASF to "collaborate as peers" and there
is nothing wrong with BigCos using the ASF as a low risk, low cost
environment for commercial software development.  As long as
individuals can at least in theory also get involved and the paid
developers play by the ASF rules, many (most?) of us seem to be OK
with it.  So other than exclusionary practices or smoke-filled room
decision-making what do we object to?  Projects that produce only
cripple-ware or encourage lock-in to closed source commercial
products?  Projects that damage other OSS communities?

I admit that I am more conservative than most on the issues of
growth and commercialization that we have been wrestling with
@apache for as long as I have had the privilege of being involved 
here.  That conservatism leads me to recommend strongly that we take
the items above very seriously and consider taking a more selective
approach to what we allow in the incubator and a more hard line
approach on how we engage with commercial entities.  I am on the
fence in the present case.  Personally, I think we do have an
obligation to "do no harm" or at least "do no harm needlessly" to
external OSS communities and there is more to the ASF that the ASL. 
I also think it is appropriate for us to consider whether we, the
members of the ASF, should devote the considerable energy and
resources required to support what looks to me like a commercial
collaboration in search of a community.

Phil
> Niall
>
> Niall
>
>> Phil
>>> Niall
>>>
>>>
>>>> I saw there is a lot of support for this proposal and the initial
>>>> committers list has grown immense in just a few days. There is already
>>>> a good amount of mentors and I will add myself too. Code grant seems
>>>> to be OK and all the other entry criterias seem to be taken. If the
>>>> would vote would be today, I would vote +1 clearly, because everything
>>>> we want in the Incubator seem to be solved.
>>>>
>>>> Again are we able to vote on the podling? If no, please specifiy why?
>>>>
>>>> Cheers,
>>>> Christian
>>>>
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>>>>
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>>>
>>
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