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From Danny Angus <>
Subject Re: Future of labs
Date Wed, 27 Apr 2016 08:45:41 GMT
> I'll add my own thoughts..

> 1.1/ What is the purpose of Labs, what are we offering that isn't
> available elsewhere

I think this was, and has remained, little more than version control
repository space for committers to use on projects that benefited the ASF.
I don't think we ever achieved the goal of making it easy for committers to
spin up a personal projects or run experiments.

> 1.2/ Is that still relevant in today's ASF

Yes, but its very niche.

> 1.3/ If yes to 2 why does it appear to be underutilised?

I think one reason is that we don't encourage learning by failure, in spite
of our name we don't foster a culture of experimentation.
Another is that we don't do our internal PR well at all, our website is
tidy, but dull, it doesn't inspire people to dive in and do things.
And the third is that the process for starting a lab is quirky, "DOAPizer"
is going to put some people off right away, I can create a github project
with a wiki in a few minutes and see my lame idea die before tea time.

> 1.4/ if no to 2 is there an alternate "mission" that labs could fulfil?

I think that a role focused more on encouraging innovation and experiment,
and of building cross project communities of interest might be useful. But
I don't have any evidence.

> Having done that we can then take one of the following actions
> 2.1/ close down the project and move it to the attic

I don't want to do this, I don't think its necessary, but I do think that
if my first board report is "Nothing much happened." its something we may
have to face up to.

> 2.2/ pivot the project to serve a new purpose
2.3/ address the points raised in 1.3 above
> Questions i have for the group are...
> a) do you agree with this synopsis?
> b) if so should we reach out to the whole committer-ship to encourage as
> wide a participation in the debate as possible, or keep it to either the
> members or just this self selected group?

I think we should do three things, inform the board and the members that we
are reviewing the role of the project, inform the whole commiters that this
debate is taking place, simultaneously send out a poll to measure their
opinion and gather input from people who don't want to get embroiled in an
email debate.


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