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From Greg Trasuk <tras...@stratuscom.com>
Subject Health of the Apache River Project
Date Thu, 10 Apr 2014 03:33:47 GMT
Hi all:

I thought I’d get a jump on preparing the board report for next month, so I started looking
at how the River project is doing.

If you were to get a list of the commits to River’s svn repository in the past year or so
(svn log http://svn.apache.org/repos/asf/river -v -l200), you’d see the following

- Looks like the only people committing in that time were gtrasuk (me), peter_firmstone, jcosters,
sijkes, and dreedy
- Most of my commits (gtrasuk) were against the 2.2 branch in preparation for releases and
associated documentation, and against the river-container skunk branch, working on the River
- jcosters prepared a skunk project in support of RIVER-427.
- Peter has been working on the qa_refactor branch.
- sisjkes added to a project on the skunk branch called ‘SimpleJeri’
- dreedy added the fix to Levels.java to the 2.2 branch (which gtrasuk later merged over to
the qa_refactor branch).  Also copied pom files over to the qa_refactor branch.

A while ago, I requested help on the River Container, and was asked to move it outside the
project to GitHub.

Around the same time, Dennis offered to contribute the Rio project’s code, and then because
of community reaction, withdrew the offer.

So, assuming that Dennis and I now do most of our work outside River, the project is left
with pretty much only one active committer.

New users seem to have a difficult time adopting River for applications.  I’ve already stated
my opinion on why, and I was asked to remove my proposed solution from River.  

We haven’t added to the committers or PMC in several years.

As a result of scaring off users, I don’t think we have any potential committers “in the
pipeline”.  There are a few “old Jini guys” kicking around, but personally I’ve hesitated
to suggest adding them as committers, because anytime we talk about Jini, the newer folks
ask us to not make this a code museum.

Although we have had some interesting discussions on the mailing list, and suggestions for
additional features in River (like object-oriented codebase annotations), I haven’t seen
a lot of suggestions that are (in my opinion) “user-oriented” and will help drive adoption
 (although I agree that the apparent concurrency/JMM issues need to be addressed).

I continue to believe that the Jini networking approach is a valuable and usable approach
to building service oriented architectures in Java.  Nonetheless, this doesn’t look like
a healthy project.  Does anyone have any opinions on what we can do to move it forward, or
is it time for the attic?  And if the River project is dead, what does that mean for Rio,
Blitz JavaSpaces, and other projects that build on top of River?  Are they active?  What happens
if River is dead?

By the way, Apache doesn’t see PMC chairs as project leaders, so my role is to facilitate
discussion and ask hard questions, not set the project’s direction.  Having said that, if
people feel I should be doing something different as PMC chair, I’m willing to try anything,
or even step aside if that will improve things.

Best regards, 

Greg Trasuk,
PMC Chair, Apache River.

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