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From Nikita Ivanov <>
Subject Re: [DISCUSS] Mentor neutrality policy
Date Sun, 11 Oct 2015 22:54:00 GMT
+100 on what Ross said. Couldn't said it better (read his blog).
Nikita Ivanov

On Sun, Oct 11, 2015 at 1:29 PM, Ross Gardler <>

> I blogged on this topic some time ago - basically it is my opinion that if
> I am a good employee I would never try to contribute code to an Apache
> project that is not beneficial to the broader community. Such an action
> would be detrimental to her employers business. Consequently, there is no
> conflict between employer needs and community needs an ASF project.
> Here's a relevant excerpt:
> "Jane is paid to deliver results for her employer. If Jane finds that the
> best route to delivery is through community led open source she ought to
> fight for the survival of that community at all costs. It is in her
> interests to do so, both for her community reputation (employability beyond
> her current role) and for her employers satisfaction (employability in her
> current role). If Jane blows her community reputation she loses her ability
> to deliver for her employer as well as her ability to seek alternative
> employment relating to that community’s activities. A double whammy."
> Full blog at
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Reto Gmür []
> Sent: Sunday, October 11, 2015 9:53 AM
> To: general <>
> Subject: Re: [DISCUSS] Mentor neutrality policy
> On Sat, Oct 10, 2015 at 11:40 AM, Roman Shaposhnik <>
> wrote:
> > On Fri, Oct 9, 2015 at 6:07 PM, Daniel Gruno <>
> wrote:
> > > Hi Incubator folks,
> > >
> > > I would like to propose we adopt a mentor neutrality policy for
> > > incubating podlings:
> > >
> > > - A mentor must not be financially tied to the project or its
> > > incubation status.
> >
> > I'm very strongly -1 on this for two reasons. One fundamental and one
> > operational. Fundamentally, this goes against a core ASF principle
> > that we all collaborate here as individuals by checking our corporate
> > affiliation at the door.
> I think it's naive to think that just because the members are individual
> and corporate affiliations don't formally play a role there is no influence
> by the employer. When I'm paid by a company or government agency to work on
> an apache project I don't have an effective protection against the
> directives of my employer. Maybe if I refuse to follow an employer's
> instruction to write some code for an Apache project of which I'm committer
> I could not be fired without notice, maybe I could write the patch and say
> on the list that I wrote this patch for my employer but that as an
> individual PMC member I vote against it (did something like this ever
> happen?), whichever way I'm likely to act against my financial interest.
> In medical journals the author's are also writing in their own name, yet
> they must declare all competing interests. Following your logic such as
> declaration would be unnecessary if the journal says somewhere that authors
> leave their affiliation at the door.
> > IOW, we are explicitly granting our members and committers the trust
> > required to make sure they do the right thing while they themselves
> > (or their employees) can significantly benefit (financially and
> > otherwise) from the projects.
> >
> Even if we trust our commiters that they do not commit a hidden back door
> on behalf of the spy agency they work for, the conflict of interest can be
> much more subtle. The company has a deadline and a release of an apache
> project before that deadline would come in very handy, will you scrutinize
> the notice files at the risk of finding something that delays the release?
> If a main customer of my consulting firm is the main promoter of the XY
> file format, will I by neutral in choosing the best file format for the
> Apache Project I'm involved in? I probably really believe that XY is the
> way to go, but is should be an Apache rule that I declare that I have some
> financial ties to it.
> >
> > This is what makes ASF unique and anything that goes even slightly in
> > the direction of reducing this level of trust will have me up in arms
> > (regardless of whether it is related to Incubator or not).
> >
> > Operationally, this is extremely tricky to enforce. I speak here from
> > experience of somebody who has to be appreciative of the same set of
> > issues while consulting for companies and yet working for my current
> > employer. Even in a corporate world (where stakes are much higher from
> > legal perspective) this typically gets handled by trusting the
> > individual to do the right thing and disclose any potential conflict
> > of interest (financial or otherwise).
> >
> We would not have to ask people for their tax declaration, a self
> declaration of any potentially competing interest would do.
> Cheers,
> Reto

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