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From Sam Ruby <>
Subject Re: Corporate Contribution [Blondie's Parallel Lines...]
Date Fri, 03 Jun 2011 02:58:21 GMT
On Thu, Jun 2, 2011 at 10:24 PM,  <> wrote:
> "William A. Rowe Jr." <> wrote on 06/02/2011 03:22:24
> PM:
>> > On 02/06/2011 16:22, Jim Jagielski wrote:
>> >>
>> >> The initial list has grown and I expect it to continue to; up
>> >> until it was announced, no one new about it, so it was kinda
>> >> impossible to get a more comprehensive list. Now that people
>> >> do know about it, people are signing on.
>> >
>> > "IBM plans to commit new project members and individual
>> contributors from its global
>> > development team to strengthen the project and ensure its future
>> success." [1]
>> I have two remaining concerns with this statement.
> .
> .
> .
>> Corporate assignments are notorious at the ASF for disappearing
>> communities.  Sometimes, there is momentum to keep going, often
>> times there is not.  Communities are based on individuals.
> And individuals are often employed by corporations, and are their jobs
> sometimes entail contributing to open source communities.  I think we all
> understand how this works.
> But do you have any hard numbers, for example, showing a higher
> abandonment rate for projects with more corporate assignments?  That would
> be an interesting correlation to show.  Of course, we must also consider
> the projects that never came into existence at all, for lack of corporate
> sponsorship.  That number is harder to estimate.

I can confirm that is is a common enough phenomenon to warrant
highlighting in the standard template:

> And just because corporate withdrawals are "notorious" does not mean they
> are common, or that they are the greatest risk we should consider.  The
> Boston Strangler and Jack the Ripper were also notorious, but you have a
> great risk of death falling down stairs.
> .
> .
> .
>> And should IBM choose in the near or far future to divest itself
>> from an OOo community, in the pattern of Harmony, is it willing to
>> make a statement that its employees will not be discouraged from
>> ongoing participation /on their own time/, again if this is their
>> personal interest?
> As you know, a requirement for graduation from incubation is that the
> podling demonstrate an "open and diverse community".  The guidelines state
> the one aspect of this requirement as, "there is no single company or
> entity that is vital to the success of the project ".
> So I think your own guidelines specify the expected outcome in the case a
> corporate sponsor withdraws.


> To your other point, IBM has Open Source Participation Guidelines that
> generally permit and encourage employee to participate in open source
> projects.  But there are restrictions and exceptions, to protect IBM, but
> also to protect the open source projects, from IP contamination.  Every
> case is reviewed individually.  You can't make any blanket statement,
> especially to a hypothetical.
>> So far, this proposal appears to be the effort of two individuals
>> on behalf of two corporations, with some great enthusiam from others.
>> All recognize that any resulting project at the Apache Software
>> Foundation would be the effort of individuals, not companies per say.
>> So these two answers would go a long way to ensure that the long term
>> project health is not beholden to Oracle's absence, or any threat of
>> withdrawal by IBM.
> Certainly the proposal was drafted by few.  Now it is being reviewed by
> more.  And I hope the project will have participation by many.,  We're
> moving in the right direction.

- Sam Ruby

P.S.  Full disclosure: ASF Board member and IBM employee

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