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From Rob Weir <apa...@robweir.com>
Subject Contributors versus Committers versus PMC members
Date Fri, 24 Jun 2011 13:48:33 GMT
Since almost all of us are new to Apache we're learning a lot about
how Apache projects organize themselves.  Based on my reading, I
understand that Apache projects have three degrees of participation:

1) Developer (or Contributor might be the preferred term, since it
doesn't depend on coding), who is a project member that contributes
patches, helps with support, reports bugs, etc.  The main thing they
cannot do is commit changes directly to the product repository.  They
need to submit patches, which are then reviewed and checked in by a
"committer".

2) Committers are elected based on their sustained contributions to
the project.  They have an apache userid and email alias.  They can
commit changes to the repository.  They are also responsible for
reviewing patches submitted by other contributors.  A Committer must
have an ICLA on file.

3) Project Management Committee (PMC) are Committers or Contributors
who are elected, based on merit, to help provide oversight to the
project.  They approve releases and elected new Committers and PMC
members.

As the Apache OpenOffice podling was bootstrapped, all of the
volunteers who signed up on the wiki, before the vote, were
automatically able to become Commtters and PPMC members.  But to
actually take on those roles, a number of steps needed to occur,
mainly dependent on the new member submitting the Apache ICLA.  Once
that is done, account creation, etc. takes some time, but is routine.

What we need to decide going forward is how we define the details of
the Contributor/Committer/PPMC roles.

Specifically:

1) In the future, will all Committers be PPMC members?  In other
words, will these two groups be identical?  I've heard that other
Apache projects have a subset of Committers serve on the PMC, but they
rotate membership, so all Committers get a chance to be on the PMC.

2) If the Committer and PPMC groups are not identical, then what
criteria should we use to determine who becomes a PPMC member?

3) If someone is offered the role of Committer, how long do they have
to sign ICLA?

4) If someone is an incredible contributor to the project, say in
testing or event planning, can they become a PPMC member?   Would they
need to sign the ICLA even if they are never actually need to commit
project resources?  In other words, can someone be a PMC member
without being a Committer?  Or should we think of these as being
progressive degrees of involvement, strictly Contributor --> Committer
--> PMC member?

5) Is there an term limit on PPMC membership, or criterion for
sustained contributions and activity level?  In other words, is it a
case of "Once elected, always a PMC member"?

6) Similar for Committers.  Is there a minimum threshold level of
activity that is needed to sustain that role?

-Rob

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