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From Shane Curcuru <>
Subject Re: Role of ASF board (was Re: [Discuss] Lost in translation)
Date Mon, 05 Sep 2011 17:07:17 GMT
On 9/5/2011 12:54 PM, eric b wrote:
> Hi Shane,
> Le 5 sept. 11 à 18:22, Shane Curcuru a écrit :
>> Ha! Ross beat me to it!
>> Indeed, the role of the board at the ASF is strictly organizational.
>> Technical decisions on any project (or podling) at the ASF are up to
>> the (P)PMC running that project. PMCs are made up of individuals -
>> corporations are never invited to be on a PMC or other Apache body.
> Ok, I see better now.
> Maybe unrelated, but since some key legacy developers,
> initialy contributing to Apache got hired by .. say some
> other companies, I really wonder until which point, a Company can act
> and disturb things.

Many Apache committers are paid by their employers to contribute to 
Apache projects; this is quite normal.  Committers and especially PMC 
Members are expected - when acting within an Apache project - to act as 
an individual working for the Apache project's best interests.  We call 
this "wearing your Apache hat" - which means working for the Apache 
project's interests.

Obviously, there can be (and have been) cases where individuals are 
influenced by their employer when doing work on Apache projects.  In a 
healthy community - i.e. one where the PMC is efficient at working 
together and includes members from various backgrounds - this is usually 
dealt with by the community as a whole.  If the change is truly 
beneficial to the project, the rest of the PMC can approve it.  If the 
change is only for the benefit of one corporation, or is harmful to the 
Apache project, the PMC can stop it.  In some cases, other ASF Members 
may volunteer to help out or mentor a PMC through these situations, much 
like Incubator podlings have Mentors.

Very rarely, a community has to deal with committers from a single 
employer who may not be wearing their Apache hats, and may be acting 
within the project more for the benefit of the employer than the Apache 
project.  In this case, the Apache board can step in to ensure that the 
project's PMC does act on behalf of the Apache project, and can keep the 
project independent from outside commercial influence.

Note that in no case does the Apache board make technical decisions for 
a PMC or project.  The board will only engage on the community and 
governance side to ensure that the PMC as a whole is healthy enough to 
continue to manage it's project independently.

Another document that may be helpful is the PMC Guide, which describes 
how top level project PMC's are expected to work:

- Shane

>> The board does not get into technical decisions; nor do the Members of
>> the ASF, unless - as Ross says - they're acting as individuals on a
>> project. Even there, Members need to earn commit rights on each
>> project separately, just like everyone else.
> Very sane rule.
>> For a little bit of perspective on what the ASF is, see my post:
>> The only part of that Apache by the Numbers post that the board
>> directly works with is the Corporate section. As for the rest, it's
>> the People who make up the Communities that write some Code (using
>> Websites and Mailing Lists) to serve Users. The only reason for the
>> Corporate section there is to provide a legal place to stick all of
>> this stuff that's secure and independent from outside commercial
>> influence. Oh, and to ensure our servers keep running!
>> Although it's rather dry and boring, the official description of the
>> role of the Board at the ASF is quite accurate:
> Thank you very much : like Ross's one, your post is extremely important
> and brings a lot of information I didn't catch before (not being a
> native speaker is really an issue either),
> Eric

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