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From Shane Curcuru <...@shanecurcuru.org>
Subject Re: [DISCUSS] Review of OpenOffice.org Forums Agreement
Date Wed, 12 Oct 2011 00:22:01 GMT


On 10/11/2011 5:58 PM, floris v wrote:
> Op 11-10-2011 23:46, Dennis E. Hamilton schreef:
>>> *H.* Should the ASF or the Apache OpenOffice.org project decide to
>>> terminate its support of the forums, it will grant a period of at
>>> least 90 days for the transfer of the contents and structure of the
>>> forums to another host as decided by the Administrators, Moderators
>>> and Volunteers.
>> The PPMC is not empowered to agree to a clause that reads, "The ASF will
>> grant 90 days to someone". Only the board and officers can make
>> commitments on behalf of the org.
>>
>> That's just the legal side of things and is not the same as the question
>> of whether one should expect the ASF, should any of its entities decide
>> to take the forums down, provide advance warning or migration codepath.
>>
>> The relevant entities in this case include IPMC, Infra, and Board.
> How exactly should I understand this? Is this meant to be discouraging,
> like: forum people, you might as well leave right now?

Er, no, it shouldn't be discouraging.  It's just stating the fact that 
the PPMC here doesn't physically own the servers we'd be hosting on - 
they belong to the ASF.  Remember that the ASF's purpose is to provide 
software for the public good, so I can't see why the ASF would ever just 
"turn off the server" unless it was for an security breach.

----
Given the greater - or lesser - degree of trust in this matter, I really 
don't know how to make people feel better about this than to show an 
example.  Bear with me for a moment as we learn about the Apache Attic - 
the place Apache projects go when they're no longer active.

Apache projects rely on healthy, diverse communities to function.  As 
technology changes, older projects sometimes lose community energy. 
Take Apache Xalan as a current example.  Back in 1999 when I started 
when Xalan was started as a project at the ASF, XML and XSLT were The 
Next Big Thing, and were the huge buzzwords of the day.  The project 
flourished, and provided a great product that ended up within 2 years at 
having over 80% marketshare (by a rough calculation).  Things were great.

Fast forward 10 years later to 2009.  The XML/XSLT processing stack is 
old news; the core features haven't changed in ages, and even minor bug 
fixes are rare, given that the software is so mature.  Vendors that had 
originally put employees to work on Xalan had focused elsewhere, and the 
community was quiet.

Come up to 2010.  The Xalan project still answers the occasional 
questions, but it's reports to the board get monotonous.  Nothing's 
really happening - nothing bad is happening, but nothing much good 
either.  The board starts to ask what's up, but some remaining PMC 
members say that they still hope to do more work on the project.

Come to 2011.  The project fails to report sometimes, and fails to give 
a real response to the board when they are asked if they still have a 
healthy, viable community.  A resolution to move Xalan to the attic is 
put on the board agenda, but is tabled a number of times because 
directors want to make absolutely sure that the whole of the Xalan 
community has had a chance to show sufficiently diverse activity to 
continue.

Wait!  They have a new committer and PMC member, with a new plan! 
Great, the board says: see what you can do with some new energy, and 
report on your progress next quarter.  The board passed a resolution 
"rebooting" the Xalan PMC to give them a new chance.

Even if Xalan hadn't found a sufficient community to continue working, 
the code still wouldn't have been gone.  Projects that show no healthy 
activity are given plenty of chance, and then are carefully "boxed up" 
and put into the Apache Attic, where all resources are carefully 
preserved in a read-only state, available for anyone to fork or take as 
they please (under the Apache license).

So I really don't see *any* need to fear that Apache will turn off the 
servers.

- Shane

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