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From Louis R Suárez-Potts <>
Subject Re: questions about the "porting" project
Date Wed, 16 May 2012 18:48:13 GMT
Dear Confused,

My reply is long; short answer: Porting evolved, and there were those builds maintained by
Sun for its clients and then there were those initiated and maintained by the community. Over
time, the roster of Sun-maintained ports changed. I can give a bigger history of this—it's
kind of interesting, if you are really bored—:-)

On 2012-05-16, at 13:50 , Kay Schenk wrote:

> On Tue, May 15, 2012 at 6:37 PM, Louis Suárez-Potts <>wrote:
>> Hi
>> On 2012-05-15, at 17:37 , Kay Schenk wrote:
>>> Hi all--
>>> I was just taking a look at the porting project site:
>>> could someone who is familiar with this project, and hopefully currently
>>> involved with it, fill us in on what the affiliation of the porters
>> listed
>>> --
>>> were to the project? Were they committers, etc?
>>> And, if you could provide some idea of the usage numbers for each, if
>> they
>>> were kept somewhere,  that would be great.
>>> Thanks.
>> I think I can probably answer most of the questions, as we did track those
>> data, but not sure: much of what was there is a) gone, b) old, really old.
>> That said, regarding the committers: See,
>> "Domain Developer," as you know, meant that one had access as a committer
>> globally.
>> As to general ports, from memory:
>> 1. Windows. > 95%
>> And then Mac OS X
>> And then, in the single digits, the rest.
>> (Linux distros., of course, included OOo and its variants.)
>> The old spreadsheets from the first few years are probably not quite
>> accurate--they never were--but suggestive of the breakdown then of
>> "everything else". However, now, things are quite a lot different, and past
>> data ought not to prescribe present, let alone future behaviour.
>> Louis
> Hi Louis--
> OK, I'm already confused. The porting page above has no Windows info on it
> at all...what I see are mostly *nix derivatives, along with a few others --
> VMS, OS/2,  etc.

Yes. The Porting Project, led by Martin H., and originally at, now I think, focused on community builds.  The old wiki (I mean *old*) Roadmap
that sheds some ancient light is at
(One could also just ask Martin, of course.) I couldn't find a project wiki for Porting—perhaps
Eric or Maho or Joost might know—but I also think that there was never one. As you know,
many projects did not have evolved doubles living in the wikis—Website, for instance, didn't,

The standard builds were Windows, Solaris, LInux; community builds were everything else, including
Mac OS X, but this was then established as something Sun was officially interested in working
on sometime in 2006-2007, I think, though Eric B can correct me. (The OOo Milestone page would
have that datum.)

> My question, more specifically, is why weren't these included with the
> other releases -- i.e. Windows, Solaris, MacIntel -- and shuttled to the
> mirrors instead of a separate area like this?

Eric Bachard, Maho NAKATA, could probably answer better, as could Joost or Juergen, I'm sure.
But it has to do, to a degree, with the cleaving elements of OOo: that some ports were substantially
QA'd and maintained by the contributing company as well as the interested community and others
pretty much only by the interested community, which nevertheless followed the strictest QA
protocols. Another way of thinking of it, is that it had to do with resources available-and
able to be coordinated. 

The overall issue was very difficult to resolve, and probably wasn't (continuance relied more
on personality than structure). We are encountering a version of it here. Some builds—say
the most desired and popular, both platform and language-wise—are ready before other, less
popular ones. Do we issue the ready ones immediately? Or do we wait? And if you are dealing
with, say, a dozen ports and over 100 languages, many of which are not regularly maintained
but you don't always know which, the logistics become even more fun. So, in coordination with
the community and centring a lot of this on QA, compromises were made. They were unstable,
as became evident. But, really, this is a perennial problem in open source projects: what
to release, how to release, when to release, and so on. Fwiw, my friend Martin Michlmayr,
of Debian fame and now with HP leading the best of that company's open source window, wrote
his dissertation on the problem of releases in open source projects. The conclusion: You need
a release programme. 

> They seem to be considered "official" from and yet, not
> quite.
> Can you tell me why?

Without being dangerously cynical? No. :-) But more directly—and I have difficulty in being
cynical--I probably framed the scenario above. The bigger issue, which is less obvious, and
characteristic of some few corporate engagements with open source, is that large company Z.
responds to market pressures, and though open source projects, which include participants
generally part of the same market environment, may nevertheless look to satisfy insistent
user demands that significantly diverge from those the sponsoring company is working on and
thus allocating its resources to resolving. In the case of OOo, as well as other projects,
where we had "project leads" and where the route to becoming one was as obvious as the route
to heaven and more difficult, it put into question the governance model, especially as we
proclaimed democratic and meritocratic virtues like any other open source project.

Sorry for length. 


>>> --
>> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>> MzK
>>> "Well, life has a funny way of sneaking up on you
>>> And life has a funny way of helping you out
>>> Helping you out."
>>>                           -- "Ironic", Alanis Morissette
> -- 
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> MzK
> "Well, life has a funny way of sneaking up on you
> And life has a funny way of helping you out
> Helping you out."
>                            -- "Ironic", Alanis Morissette

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