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From Ross Gardler <>
Subject Re:concerns about high overhead in Apache incubator releases
Date Sun, 27 Nov 2011 20:09:31 GMT
I sympathize with you're comments, however, I do want to point out that the
problems are more to do with the Project committers and mentors than the
process (although documentation can always be improved).

As evidence I submit the Apache Rave poddling. This project made its first
release within a couple of months of entering the incubator and has made a
release every month since (I've not checked the dates, but I think this
statement is accurate).

Rave achieved this because Ate Douma (mentor) pointed to the appropriate
docs. Matt Franklin read and understood the docs and did a release. Ate
watched and advised throughout the process. The first trekker took a couple
of cycles to get right. All sidewinder releases have been "simple".

Please don't think I'm saying there is no value in your mail, there is. We
can certainly improve in the support we provide. To address your specific

1. Your mentors are the example, if they are not guiding you ask if anyone
here can help.

2. Different views of different people is difficult to resolve (see Roberts
recent mail on the same topic). My advice is to understand the (admittedly
confusing) documentation. If that doesn't help ask on the appropriate list
(here if you don't know which list)

3. Clone or best mentors - sorry nothing better to suggest here

4. Get it right first time (mentors like Ate only let it go to a vote if it
is ready, so 72 hours is called once only). Also know the rules with
respect to release voting (see Joe's mail).

Finally, and most importantly, help us improve the process (as you are
doing with this mail). Given my responses above is there anything concrete
you suggest we do to improve things (patches to docs seem like an obvious
start - most of those docs are written by people who already do Apache


Sent from my mobile device, please forgive errors and brevity.
On Nov 27, 2011 7:13 PM, "Jun Rao" <> wrote:

> Dear Apache members,
> Over the past 2 months, the Kafka Apache incubator project has been trying
> to release its very first version in Apache. After 7 RCs, we are still not
> done. Part of this is because most of us are new to the Apache release
> process and are learning things along the way. However, I think Apache can
> do a better job in the incubating process to make releases much less
> painful. In the following, I will summarize some of problems that we
> had experienced. This is not an accusation, nor is it personal. I just hope
> that we can all learn from our experience so that Kafka and other incubator
> projects can release more smoothly in the future.
> 1. There is no good example to follow.
> As a new incubator project, the natural thing for us to do when it comes to
> releasing our code is to follow what other Apache projects do. However,
> more than once, the feedback that we got is that those are not good
> examples to follow. It seems that those "bad" examples are not isolated
> cases.
> 2. Different Apache members have different interpretations of the same
> rule.
> It seems that there is no consensus on some of the basic rules even among
> Apache members. For example, what constitutes a source distribution and
> what should be put in the NOTICE file? Since all it takes is one negative
> vote to block a release, this increases the turnover rate of RCs.
> 3. Not enough constructive and comprehensive suggestions.
> Some of the issues that are present in Kafka RC7 exist in RC1. Those issues
> could have been resolved much earlier had there been more constructive and
> comprehensive feedbacks from early on. Instead, often, the feedback just
> points out the violation of one or two issues that are enough to block a
> release. People like Ant Edler have made some constructive suggestions and
> we really appreciate that. We could use more suggestions like that.
> 4. Not enough flexibility in applying the rules.
> Some of the rules don't make common sense. For example, if we publish a new
> RC that simply fixes a few lines in NOTICE/LICENSE. We are still required
> to go through a full 3-day vote in Kafka and another full 3-day vote in
> Apache general. This, coupled with the high turnover rate of RCs, can delay
> the release for a significant long time. Both Chris Douglas and Ant Edler
> wanted to relax the rule slightly to help us speed things up. However, not
> every Apache member tolerates such flexibility. Again, all it takes is just
> one vote to kill a release.
> To summarize, our experience of releasing in Apache has not been very
> pleasant so far. I am not sure if our experience is the exception or the
> norm among incubator projects. In any case, I sincerely hope that at least
> some of those concerns can be addressed in Apache to make the release
> process more enjoyable, especially for new comers.
> Thanks,
> Jun

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