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From Grant Ingersoll <>
Subject Re: Special Board Report for May 2011
Date Thu, 05 May 2011 14:10:54 GMT

I'd like to throw out another idea:

I think we should standardize on rotating the PMC Chair every year.  I think to date, there
have been two Chairs:  Doug and me.  Back when Doug left, no one wanted to do it (both Hoss
and I said we would if no one else wanted to) and so I took it on.  For the most part, it's
a thankless task of herding cats (albeit low volume, thankfully), despite the important sounding
name that marketing types love.  I would like us to share the burden across the PMC by rotating
it on an annual basis.  Many other ASF projects do exactly this and I think it removes any
political pressure.  Have I sold it enough? ;-)  Besides, I just know others are dying to
file board reports on a quarterly basis!

More inline below...

On May 5, 2011, at 8:27 AM, Michael McCandless wrote:

> On Wed, May 4, 2011 at 6:40 PM, Grant Ingersoll <> wrote:
>> 2. I think we need to prioritize getting patch contributors more feedback sooner.
 I think some of this can be automated much like what Hadoop has done.  This should help identify
new committers sooner and encourage them to keep contributing.
> Big +1.  We should be using automation everywhere we can.
> But, really, we (as all projects do) need more devs.  Growing the
> community should be job #1 of all committers.

Agreed, but this dovetails w/ the use of IRC.  I realize live collab is nice, but it discourages
those who aren't "in the know" about the channel being used from ever contributing.    Say,
for instance, I'm interested in DWPT (DocWriterPerThread), how am I supposed to know that
at 8 am EDT on May 5th (made up example), three of the committers are going to be talking
about it on IRC?  If there is email about it, then I can participate.  Nothing we do is so
important that it can't wait a few hours or a day, besides the fact, that email is damn near
instantaneous these days anyway.

Also, keep in mind that until about a year ago, most everything was done on the mailing list
and I think we progressed just fine.  Since then, dev@ has almost completely dried up in terms
of discussions (factoring out JIRA mails which have picked up -- which is good) and the large
majority of discussion takes place on IRC.  I agree, however, we should have the IRC discussion
on another thread.

>> So, what other ideas do people have?  I'll leave this thread open for a week or so
and then add what we think are good things to
 The board meeting is on May 19th.  I plan on attending.
> How about also "PMC members will be more proactive in tackling issues
> that erode the community?  I think this would start with a thread on
> general@.  We need to get in the habit of discussing even tiny
> elephants as soon as they appear, somehow.

Yeah, I agree.  The hard part for me, is I often feel like people on the outside make big
deals about this stuff and don't get that even having the discussion is a very healthy sign.
 Besides the fact, that no one likes confrontation and uncomfortable topics.  We also, I think,
are all tired of endless debates that go on and on w/ no resolution.  It's one of the big
downsides (and, of course, upsides) to consensus based open source as opposed to the dictatorial

> Here's an example: "Is Lucid abusing their too-strong influence over
> Lucene/Solr"?  It's a great question, and I personally feel the answer
> today is "no", but nevertheless we should be able to discuss it and
> similar could-be-controversial topics.

I hopefully would agree we are good stewards of the fact that we employ a good number of committers
(but not nearly all the active ones), but I know some disagree.  I do, however, think that
the recent spat shows that we at Lucid are still free to speak our minds when it comes to
open source, as clearly not all Lucid employees agree on the issue and were pretty outspoken
about it.  I firmly believe we baked this into the company from Day 1 and I consider it one
of our best strengths, but of course, most can't see that from the outside.  Does that mean
we are perfect?  Of course not, but I think we try to follow the ASF guidelines and show up
as individuals.  I also know we work pretty hard to mind the ASF TM policy, etc. (just ask
our marketing folks how much I remind them.)  I think we all realize that there would be no
such thing as Lucid if it weren't for the ASF and for Lucene/Solr, so why would we want to
hurt that?

The fact is, every single committer here and a good number of contributors are paid to work
on Lucene all day, (most) every day or have some other financial stake (i.e. via a book, consulting
biz, etc.)  Any of us could be accused of only acting in our own financial interest.  At the
end of the day, I like to think that instead, the cool thing is we all have a great opportunity
to have our financial interests aligned with a great project that we like to work on.

For the record, we have pretty diverse PMC and committer base.  As I said in our Dec. 2010
Board Report, we are comprised of:
"[a] total to 17 PMC members from 12 different 
companies, spanning the globe. The flagship Lucene/Solr
has 26 total committers from 20 different companies, again
spanning the globe."

The only one that has changed since then is Robert has joined Lucid.  Now, one can argue that
some of those members from other companies are not active, but that isn't Lucid's fault. 
ASF development has always been about those who do the work and we do a fair amount of that.
 Those who are not active, should, ideally, leave on their own by stating they wish to go
Emeritus.  Beyond that, we have a pretty standard policy that inactive people are removed
after 1 year of no activity.  That has been the case since I joined Lucene way back when and
I think makes sense.

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