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From Alex Harui <>
Subject Instead of a Bill how about a Booklet? (was Re: [DISCUSS] PodlingBillOfRights)
Date Thu, 20 Jun 2013 16:22:02 GMT
Hi,  As a newbie, I've generally quietly watched from the sidelines, but
now I'm jumping in.

+1 about "expectations" vs "rights".  In fact, it occurred to me that a
booklet or pamphlet more like the "What to expect whenŠ" book would be
better.  IMO, correctly set expectations make for happier people.  Here is
my draft of  "What to expect when you enter the Apache Incubator".

1)  Apache is staffed by volunteers, and a few paid, but overworked IT
folks known as Infra.  As such, there is a very good chance that you will
get different answers from different respondents, and responses may be
delayed.  This is not like your paid corporate job where there is
administration and infrastructure whose mind-share is fully dedicated to
serving you.
2) Apache has been around long enough and is large enough to have its own
culture, with its own societal rules and tribal history.   Lots of it is
written down, but it is hard to find.  Try to remember the last time you
started at a new company or team or club and how, even though there were
documents to read, there was always important stuff that you had to learn
some other way.  Apache is no different, but with volunteers, even less is
written down, and people's recollections of history can vary widely and
nobody is paid to serve your needs except Infra which is overloaded.
3) Some folks are quiet, some are noisy, some complain, some are
optimistic.  If you've worked on a large team, you've probably found this
to be true on that team as well.  Success usually comes from finding out
which folks you deal with are of which personality type, and how best to
work with those people.
4) Often you just have to be patient.  Pick your battles.  Prioritize your
needs.  Ask politely once for really important things, then plead again a
few days later.
5) Learn how to use an internet search engine.  Try to find information
before you ask.  The results may be hard to understand or confusing and be
careful about reading snippets without taking in some of the larger
context.  But then your question will be better defined.  Bonus if you can
quote a web page as part of your question.
6) Some folks want there to be a "bill of rights", but you don't have any
"rights" because there are no authority figures at Apache to enforce those
rights.  Any "violations" have to be dealt with "socially".  You can seek
help from the IPMC or even the board, but even they are volunteers and
will try to address the problem socially as well.  You can expect and
demand respectful discourse, but sometimes tempers will boil over.  That
happens in many workplaces, homes and other gatherings of people.  Expect
it here as well, even more so sometimes, as there are relatively few
face-to-face encounters to encourage civility and limit chances of
7) Your mentors may get too busy to follow the details of activity in your
podling.  Use the [MENTOR] tag in the subject to try to catch their
attention.  Escalate to the Incubator IPMC if they still don't have time
to respond.
8) Embrace diversity.  Every podling is a little bit different and your
new podling may not exactly match up against existing documentation or
prior history.  Ask for guidance, keep in mind that answers may vary, and
make your decision keeping these things in mind.
A) The primary goal is to cover your and Apache's butt legally.  This may
require you to change build scripts and release packages in  a way that is
painful for you and your customers.
B) Apache only officially releases source code.  This may be a pain point
for any existing customers used to downloading binary packages.
C) At Apache, open source isn't just about making released source code
available.  It is about trying to get the community involved early and
often before the source code is "release-ready".
9) Expect the unexpected.  Sometimes, a document you find may be
out-of-date, and/or mention things that don't apply to you and when you
ask about it, you'll get a totally surprising answer.
10) Expect a ton of email.  The temptation will be to unsubscribe from
some of the lists you are told to subscribe to, but it is important to
learn how to filter out stuff and skim other stuff as it helps you learn
about the people and personalities you will be dealing with
post-graduation on occasion, and if you end up on your project's PMC, you
will be responsible for mining important information from that email

Now this may seem like it should make you run away screaming, but it all
adds up to one thing:  This is the "cost" of getting a group of volunteers
to provide free software to a community of developers and users. You are
doing a good deed by coming to Apache.  You could just go to GitHub, but
Apache provides some legal and logistical processes that should make your
customers feel more secure that the code you want to work on will be
available to the customer "forever" without fear that some individual can
disappear and sink the whole ship, or some legal issue will arise later.


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