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From "Charles-H. Schulz" <>
Subject Re: Blondie's Parallel Lines...
Date Thu, 02 Jun 2011 19:48:28 GMT

2011/6/2 <>

> wrote on 06/02/2011 02:42:11 PM:
> > No Rob, I don't question your credentials, have not done that, will
> never
> > done that. Both of us know better than having that kind of talk, both of
> us
> > have worked together for years now, at the OASIS and elsewhere. What I'm
> > questioning is the ability to have two projects, OpenOffice and
> LibreOffice,
> > with so much overlap and only a vaguely defined reason to have two
> distinct
> > projects (the reason being, that some contributors -IBM- might prefer
> the
> > Apache licensing). What I'm concerned is the fuzziness around the
> developers
> > who would contribute to the codebase. For someone who has
> > repeatedly explained that the LibreOffice developers were not that many,
> I
> > think that betting on a sustainable project here is a
> major
> > leap of faith.
> >
> Hi Charles,
> Maybe this will make it a little more plausible.
> As you know IBM develops Lotus Symphony, which is essentially a fork of
> OpenOffice.  IBM has experience in how many developers are required to
> code, test, translate, document, support, etc., a project of this size.
> We've been doing it for several years.  It does not require 400
> developers.  It does not require 200 developers.  It does not require 100
> or even 50 developers.  If you claim to have 200 developers working on LO
> then I suspect this is with a very low level of engagement.

There is a diversity of profiles, obviously, and we can agree that this
diversity is usually found in healthy communities.

> When I check the commit logs for LibreOffice and apply the Apache criteria
> for what defines an "active" participant (a commit within the last 6
> months), I see only 54 names.  And most of those names are making very
> sporadic, but I'm sure very valuable, contributions.  Notably the top 20
> contributors were making 90% of the commits and of those the majority are
> Novell employees.

So we we may disagree on the metrics (but that's not really crucial for the
sake of the argument); but I'm not saying that LibreOffice requires 200 or
400 developers. I'm only pointing out the difference of treatment between a
project that exists and runs, and a project that has stopped to exist (and
has no more developers until now).

> So it is clear that even with LO, a small number of core developers, even
> just 20, do almost all the core coding. This observation is consistent
> with what I know about the development of Symphony.

I'm not surprised by these numbers.

> So I believe that a reasonable goal for Apache OpenOffice, for graduation
> from incubation, is to have a set of at least 20 active committers.  That
> should be sufficient, as a bare minimum, to be the developer nucleus of a
> respectable project.


> Now is it plausible to get to that number?  I think so.  But let's not set
> some bogus target of 400 developers or whatever.

I'm not setting that target, again, I'm just pointing out the fuzziness
around their existence.

>  There is no intent to
> dump the code with no developers.  But I don't think we want to crowd
> source the project either.  I think we want a core group of dedicated
> committers who can facilitate the review and integration of patches from a
> larger number of less-engaged developers.  That is the kind of
> distribution I think we'll want.  But our target metric should be the
> around active committers.
> The "halo" of additional developers is important as well.  But their
> effectiveness is entirely dependent on the ability of the core committers
> to review and integrate their work.  So we need to grow the project from
> the inside out.  That's my opinion, in any case.  But LO is really no
> different.  Its core is developers transplanted from the Novell Edition of
> OpenOffice.  Surely, there is nothing that prevents other companies with
> OpenOffice forks from doing exactly the same thing.
> > I am certainly not going to enter a debate on licensing, and I think
> nobody
> > wants that here. But I just think that there are other ways to cooperate
> > than pretending the elephant in the room (LibreOffice, the Document
> > Foundation) does not exist or does not de facto embody the largest part
> of
> > the OpenOffice community (yes, I know, there are a few exceptions).
> >
> Please, Charles, stop saying that anyone is saying that LibreOffice does
> not exist.  You are here, on the Apache list, at the invitation of Apache.
>  I'm happy to stipulate that you exist, I exist, exists,
> Apache exists and that TDF/LO exists.

Well, would you be happy with the second part of the sentence you're
alluding to? To repeat it, LibreOffice and the Document Foundation embody de
facto most of the community, and even beyond.


> Regards,
> -Rob
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