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From Rob Weir <apa...@robweir.com>
Subject What do we do at Apache versus what do we do elsewhere?
Date Fri, 17 Jun 2011 12:43:29 GMT
I've seen several posts asking about how the core OOo development project
will relate to the other activities such as user forums, translations,
releases, language projects, etc.  I thought it would be good to have a
single thread to discuss the general issues.

As many of us know, with OpenOffice.org under Sun/Oracle, there was a
widespread community of semi-autonomous projects, under the
openoffice.org"umbrella".  One way to divide this is by the
"development" functions, by
which I mean the things that lead directly to the artifacts that were part
of the official OOo releases:


   - programmers, including localization and accessibility
   - testers
   - product documentation
   - UI design
   - content designers for templates, samples, etc.
   - build/release management


I think that it will be ideal to get all volunteers working in this set of
functions into the same Apache OpenOffice.org project, under the same
license, and working together.

And then there are other functions that helped promote and support the
releases and the users who adopted the releases:


   - marketing
   - support forums
   - event organizers
   - and many other similar functions


I think these groups are welcome to join the Apache project, but they would
need to consider the trade-offs.   If they have autonomy now, run their own
servers, elect or appoint their own leaders, etc., then moving to Apache
means merging their structures into the Apache project, mapping their roles
into contributor/committer/PMC member roles, adopting their web sites to the
Apache infrastructure, working openly on the Apache mailing lists, allowing
anyone to work on it, as well as allowing anyone to review and comment on
their work.  In other words, they give up some control and in return have a
potentially larger group of people to help them.

But let's be honest.  If the Romanian language project decided to work
entirely in Apache on their translations, the chances are that very few
existing Apache members would be of much assistance to them, as a volunteer
or as a reviewer.  So I'm not seeing a compelling benefit for all of the
language projects to join Apache.  But I could see something like this:


   - Language projects remain autonomous, but agree to put a compatible
   license on all of their work, e.g., the Apache 2.0 license
   - Each language project appoints one of their members to join the Apache
   OOo list, so we can stay coordinated.
   - Ideally, there will be one or more volunteers from the language
   projects who get more involved, in larger localization issues, and via their
   feedback and patches, ensure that OOo continues to meet the needs of a
   international audience.  These volunteers would likely then be voted in as
   committers and PMC members.

For marketing, user forums, event organizers, etc., I can easily see these
being done in the Apache project, to the extent they are "international" in
scope.  But It isn't clear how in an Apache project we would coordinate a
group that, for example, was only interested in planning marketing, support
and events for Romanian OOo users.

I'd be interested in other views on this.  In particular, if we went down
the other road, and assimilated all language projects into Apache, how does
the process of lose consensus and meritocracy work if project members are
segregated into mailing lists where discussions occur in, e,g., Romanian.

So in summary, I think the different function groups need to consider the
costs and benefits of adapting to an Apache project model, which would
include:


   - Working openly on the Apache mailing lists, allowing anyone to
   participate and allowing anyone to review your work, and potentially even
   veto it.
   - Moving servers and websites onto Apache infrastructure
   - Giving up titles from other organizations and working in the Apache
   project meritocracy
   - Agreeing that your product contributions will be available under Apache
   2.0 license



-Rob

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