lucene-dev mailing list archives

Site index · List index
Message view « Date » · « Thread »
Top « Date » · « Thread »
From Otis Gospodnetic <>
Subject Re: Results (Re: Survey: Lucene and Java 1.4 vs. 1.5)
Date Tue, 20 Jun 2006 21:02:49 GMT
I think the decision was made among developers without asking for much user input.  I think
that made a huge difference.


----- Original Message ----
From: Michael McCandless <>
Sent: Tuesday, June 20, 2006 2:30:36 PM
Subject: RE: Results (Re: Survey: Lucene and Java 1.4 vs. 1.5)

Could someone shed light on how the decision to transition from Java 1.3 
to Java 1.4 unfolded?  Any lessons learned or applicable here?


"Robert Engels" <> 
06/20/2006 02:24 PM
Please respond to


RE: Results (Re: Survey: Lucene and Java 1.4 vs. 1.5)

I think your statement "do not seem to fully appreciate the
volunteer-contribution model" hits the nail on the head.

There is a minority that wants everything for free, wants it work exactly 
they want, and then have the audacity to tell the others they should do 
even work to make them happy - all without contributing a single hour of
work to the product (maybe via testing...).

-----Original Message-----
From: Chuck Williams [] 
Sent: Tuesday, June 20, 2006 1:15 PM
Subject: Re: Results (Re: Survey: Lucene and Java 1.4 vs. 1.5)

I think Otis put things perfectly and would like to second everything he's

This is about facilitating more contributions from the majority vs.
creating a version that the minority can use.  To answer Otis's question,
"How small does the percentage of 1.4 users need to be, before we can have
1.5 in Lucene?", I think there are some other factors that need to be

How many contributors to Lucene are generating contributions out of work
they are doing for their companies or other vocations, submitting these to
Lucene to achieve the benefits of community usage/maintenance/enhancement,
and using 1.5 as their daily environment?

My suspicion is that while the user ratio may be 2:1 1.5:1.4 that the
contributor ratio is even more skewed in favor of 1.5.  One of the reasons 
suspect this is that the 1.4 users who have spoken up thus far do not seem
to fully appreciate the volunteer-contribution model of the Lucene 
(e.g., see the thread below).  I think it is safe to assume that potential
contributors will be less motivated if they are forced to back port their

If Lucene makes the 1.5 decision, about 1/3 of the Lucene user base today
will not be able to build off the head, although they will have a fully
supported 2.0.x.  The 1/3 portion will decline continually, but this is
still a substantial problem.  I'm sure the Lucene pmc/committers do not 
to leave so many users behind.

If Lucene makes the 1.4 decision, it will get fewer contributions.  As one
example, I will only submit bug fixes.  I'm waiting to see how this turns
out to decide whether or not to contribute some new features that are all
coded in 1.5.  The question is how many contributors are in a similar
situation?  If this number is say greater than 80%, rather than the 67%
indicated in the usage poll, then making the 1.4 decision is also a
substantial problem for Lucene's future.


Otis Gospodnetic wrote on 06/20/2006 09:33 AM:
> Sorry, for some reason my Yahoo email doesn't prepend ">" on replies, so
I'll use "OG" for my lines.
> ----- Original Message ----
> From: Dan Armbrust <> Robert Engels 
> wrote:
>> People making these arguments against 1.5 sound really ill-informed, 
>> or lazy. Neither of which is good for open-source development.
> Preface - I'm not a lucene developer - just an interested user.
> I don't know - it seems to me that it is the 1.5 crowd that is making 
> the lazy argument.  You are in effect, saying, that the highly skilled 
> developers who would be making lucene contributions are unable or 
> unwilling to write 1.4 java code?  Come on... it really not that hard.
> Which set is being lazy?  I'll stop the name calling now, and try to 
> make a better point.
> OG: I think you are missing or misinterpreting things here.  Lucene
contributors tend to be people who write nice extensions to Lucene, and 
to give them back to Lucene.  Typically those extensions come out of their
day jobs, or at least that is my impression.  When they use 1.5 there, 
contribution will be 1.5.  External contributors already spend extra time
and effort to do this.  Requiring them to modify their code not to use 1.5
would mean they will be less likely to contribute.  I wouldn't bother, if 
had to take extra time and effort to contribute, and even "go backwards"
with my code, when what I really want is for my piece of code to become a
part of Lucene, so I can just use that code instead of maintaining my own
variation of it.
> OG: My main concern is losing those contributions.  We already have a 
of good patches in JIRA that we didn't integrate, and lots of them are 
because patches no longer apply.  I hate treating kind contributors like
that.  I feel ungrateful.
> OG: So, instead of only thinking how if Lucene 2.1 goes the 1.5 route 
won't be able to use the latest and greatest, one can also think about
losing the latest and greatest contributions because they are written with
1.5 in mind.  And this is not a loss only to those who are already on 1.5.
This is a loss for _everyone_ in the long run.  Those running 1.4 now, 
be running 1.5 one day, but they won't be getting Lucene with 
that were rejected, because in the second half of 2006 we were forced to
reject all 1.5 contributions.
> I have some applications that I have written in 1.5 - and yes - it is 
> nice.  But I also have other applications (that use Lucene) that are 
> written to be 1.4 compatible.  And they need to stay that way for 
> quite some time to come.
> OG: Exactly.  There will ALWAYS be people who have to stay with 1.4 or
older Java.  At some point you have to decide not support the older
versions, just like at some point we decided to stop supporting 1.3.
> Also, at my place of employment we have about 40,000 desktop computers 
> that are all centrally managed - down to every point release of every 
> single piece of software.  There are multiple applications using java 
> that are installed on these machines.  Each application has to be 
> certified and fully tested with a newer version of java before a newer 
> version of java can be installed.  As you can imagine, that severely 
> hampers the pace of java updates.  We are just getting 1.4 installed 
> on these machines now.  When you are managing that many machines in a 
> clinical environment - you have to play it safe.  There are no 
> upgrades for an upgrades sake, or for syntactic sugar.  There has to 
> be a real problem to even get the process started.  I'm sure many 
> other people have similar situations.
> OG: Again, exactly.  If this is an environment where upgrades are very
carefully planned and thus probably rare, why does this environment care 
much to have the cutting edge Lucene, when at the same time they are ok 
a old version of Java?
> Also - I don't know much about the Java mobile platform - but I 
> thought I had read before that they are limited to the 1.3 or 1.4 
> If this is true, do we really want to remove an entire ecosystem of 
> potential users?  Over syntactic sugar?
> OG: It is NOT syntactic sugar only.  This is FUD! :)  Really.  I just
found a bug in my code that was hidden for several weeks because I was 
a List instead of List<String>, for instance!  Also, this "entire 
of potential users" seems a bit exaggerated. :)  They certainly didn't 
to take part in that survey.  I think J2ME on mobile devices might even be
1.2 Java, not sure.
> While I'm not completely opposed to the argument that I should just 
> have to stay with the Lucene 2.0.x release with applications that need 
> to run in 1.4 environments - Lucene is an integral part of that code. 
> If performance improvements are made to the core, I want those in my 
>   If bugs are found and fixed - I want those fixes too.  As a matter 
> of fact - until the 2.0 release, I was using a build from the trunk 
> because of a bug that I found in Lucene, (and someone else was 
> gracious enough to fix for me).
> OG: But I benchmarked Java 1.4 and 1.5 a few weeks ago.  1.5 is
_substantially_ faster.  If you want performance improvements, why not 
upgrade Java then?  Ths really bugs me.  People want the latest and 
Lucene, but are okay with the old Java, yet they claim they want
performance, bug fixes, etc.
> Lucene is a low level library that is used to build many great 
> applications.  If you make the jump to 1.5 today - you are going to be 
> leaving people behind.  And judging by the poll, you are
> OG: That is always going to be the case.  I _think_ the question is how
many people.
> going to be leaving a fairly significant number of people behind. 
> OG: "fairly significant number" is quite subjective.  The ratio of 1.5 
1.4 users is currently a little over 2:1.  My guess is that in 2-3 months 
will be closer to 3:1.  Lucene 2.1 won't be released for another 6 months
(2007), I am willing to bet, and yet we are considering rejecting 1.5
contributions now, in June 2006.
> Lucene has great policy on not breaking backwards compatibility in 
> their API - why should this be looked at any differently?
> OG: Lucene 2.0 API is not compatible with 1.4.3 API.  It is the same
situation.  We deprecated some API calls and then we removed them.  Those
who want Lucene 2.0.0 had to update their code to use the new API, 
their code would not compile.
>  > Rather than having the 1.5 developers having to waste their time  > 
> "thinking" in 1.4 when their work is predominately being performed  > 
> using 1.5 features/compilers/tools.
> I don't think that the caliber of developers that are working on the 
> Lucene core are going to be slowed down any by using 1.4 syntax over 
> 1.5.  (It actually takes longer to type in all of those generics :) 
> All of my tools - Eclipse and Java 1.5 - have a check box that will 
> cause them to generate 1.4 compatible code.  Its really _not_ a big 
> deal to write 1.4 code even if you are used to 1.5.  This particular 
> argument just isn't compelling to me.
> OG: Please read what I wrote all the way up.  In my mind, it is not so
much about core Lucene developers, as it is about external contributions.
Core developer will know what we agreed on and will write the code to suit
our agreement.  External contributor will contribute code she/he wrote for
work.  As the poll shows, more people use 1.5 at work, thus...
> My personal opinion for the path that Lucene should take:
> Core bugs fixes must be 1.4 compatible.
> Core improvements must be 1.4 compatible.
> Contrib / sandbox can be 1.5 or 1.6.
> Of course, at some point - Lucene Core does need to advance.  But I 
> don't just don't feel that syntactic sugar in 1.5 is enough of a 
> reason to break backwards compatibility.  I haven't followed 1.6 - I 
> don't know
> OG: Again, it's not about syntactic sugar.  This is FUD.
> what the new features are there.  Assuming that there are great new 
> features in 1.6 - that would improve the lucene core if they were used -
>   I think that that is when this issue gets revisited.
> This isn't the type of question that should be decided by a poll. 
> This
> OG: The poll was about "what do you use", and not "what version of Java
should Lucene support".  I hope this wasn't misinterpreted by those who 
the poll.
> should be decided by thoughtfully looking at the consequences of each 
> choice.  For me - the negative consequences of choosing 1.5 - leaving 
> behind a lot of users - is much worse than the negative consequences 
> of staying at 1.4 - making a couple dozen highly skilled developers 
> check an extra box in their lucene development environments?
> OG: I don't think the checkbox will remove 1.5-style for loops or 
and other stuff if that is already in the code.
> If any developers have actually read this far (sorry - it got kind of
> long) - thanks again for all of your great work - Lucene is a great 
> tool
> - and a great community.
> OG: Thanks Dan, and please don't take my email(s) wrong.  I'm quite
clear-headed in this issue, and am trying to be objective.  I personally
wouldn't get hurt if we stayed with 1.4, I'd just be feeling bad and 
if we had to reject contributions that have 1.5 bits in it.
> OG: How about this.  I noticed th "significant number of people left
behind" statement in a few people's arguments.  How small of a percentage 
1.4 users do you think we should look for before we can ove to 1.5?  What
does the 1.5:1.4 ration need to be?
> This is not a question for Dan only. I would really be interested what
others think about this.  How small does the percentage of 1.4 users need 
be, before we can have 1.5 in Lucene?
> Thanks,
> Otis
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
> To unsubscribe, e-mail:
> For additional commands, e-mail:

*Chuck Williams*
V: (808)885-8688
C: (415)846-9018 <>
Skype: manawiz
AIM: hawimanawiz
Yahoo: jcwxx

To unsubscribe, e-mail:
For additional commands, e-mail:

To unsubscribe, e-mail:
For additional commands, e-mail:

To unsubscribe, e-mail:
For additional commands, e-mail:

To unsubscribe, e-mail:
For additional commands, e-mail:

View raw message