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From Ralph Goers <ralph.go...@dslextreme.com>
Subject Consideration of OpenOffice.org as a podling
Date Sat, 04 Jun 2011 18:18:16 GMT
I've just managed to wade through some 400+ emails to this list in the last 2 days and I would
estimate that less than 10 were particularly relevant to what my vote will ultimately be on
this proposal. It seems pretty clear to me that there is a lot of emotional reaction to this
but a lot of that is from people who don't really seem to grasp what the incubator process,
and perhaps the ASF itself, are about.  First and foremost reading [1] followed by [2] and
[3] should be a requirement before posting to this list.  

As I read all these posts I found myself wondering what the authors thought they were accomplishing.

Many of the conversations here seem to be focused on whether OpenOffice belongs at the ASF
because TDF is already in place and/or suggested that the proposal be evaluated while ignoring
the licensing.  Frankly, I believe most of the people who will vote on this proposal won't
find these arguments very persuasive. We have admitted many projects in the past that seemingly
duplicated other projects that already existed, in some cases right here at the ASF. Some
were because they were choosing to achieve the same goals in a different way and some simply
because the other alternative(s) were under a license that isn't equivalent to the Apache
License.

As a PMC member who will be voting on this I find the question of collaboration between this
project and the TDF to be somewhat interesting but not a requirement for entry into the incubator.
It is primarily something that should continue to be discussed on the project's development
list once it is created. If this issue is relevant than I would expect it to manifest itself
by having the proposal fail to gain enough initial committers, not by having some consensus
reached before the project enters the incubator.  I understand the desire of those who favor
other alternatives to see those promoted, but at the ASF the way that is accomplished is by
joining the project and working within the community to achieve your goals.

The purpose of admitting projects to the incubator is not about having a fully functioning
project upon admission. Rather it is to provide guidance, encouragement and support to projects
that the incubator PMC believes have a reasonable chance at graduation into an Apache top
level project. Discussions on whether the project will be able to perform builds, keep the
documentation up to date, or even address all the Jira issues raised upon entry to the incubator
simply aren't relevant at this time. These are all the things a project must be able to do
to exit the incubator, not enter it.

The primary factors I consider when voting on a project are:
1. Does the project have value that isn't already being fulfilled by some other project under
a license equivalent to the Apache License  (For example, Apache Harmony), or does the project
try to achieve its goal in a way that is fundamentally different than another project? (We
have several NoSQL variants here)
2. Will the project be able to have a fully functioning code base under the Apache License
upon graduation? A project that requires a huge amount of code rewritten is going to have
problems exiting the incubator in a reasonable amount of time. 
3  Does the project have a significant number of dependencies on components with licenses
that are incompatible with Apache software? Again, a project that requires a ton of rework
is going to have problems. 
4. Does the project have enough initial committers to a) effectively start to work on the
tasks to get the project moving forward and b) attract other committers?  
5. Has the project attracted a sufficient number of mentors who will have sufficient time
to give to the project?  There are many cases where mentors have signed up with good intentions
but have not been effective due to time commitments. 

I am not trying to cut off discussion with this post. I am just pointing out that a lot of
this is just noise and if this volume keeps up at some point I'll probably have to stop following
OOo posts until I see a thread with [VOTE] in it.  If the intent is to provide information
the Incubator PMC members can use to cast a vote then I would recommend focusing on the list
of items above, not discussions about LGPL vs ALv2, Oracle, IBM, Lotus Symphony, hardware,
etc.

Ralph

[1] http://theapacheway.com/ 
[2] https://blogs.apache.org/foundation/entry/incubation_at_apache_what_s
[3] http://www.apache.org/foundation/how-it-works.html#incubator 
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