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From robert burrell donkin <rdon...@apache.org>
Subject release management
Date Mon, 24 May 2004 21:51:14 GMT
i've had a long think about it and i think i'm going to start rolling 
jakarta releases again.

but i'd like to offer (to the community) the reasons why i refused to 
roll any releases at jakarta and why i've changed my mind. hopefully 
other committers who have been put off volunteering through my 
reluctance will think about their own circumstances (rather than just 
drawing the most obvious conclusions). of course, i no longer have any 
official association with the ASF (i'm just a committer :), IANAL, IIRC 
and this is of course just my own opinion.

i've heard many times (and repeated it to others) that all release 
managers should be on the pmc. i think (after listening to many 
comments by the board folks to the pmc) i came to understand what 
should means in the context. it means that release managers themselves 
should be demanding to be on the pmc (rather than 'release managers 
must be on the pmc' as an edict).

release managers should be demanding to be on the pmc because the ASF 
can offer (limited) legal protection for people operating under it's 
instructions. when the ASF asks you to cut a release, they are 
accepting a measure of legal responsibility for the release and will be 
able to offer a measure of legal protection in the event of any legal 

but this legal argument can only apply so long as and so long as the 
board can demonstrate proper supervision and so long as each pmc is 
able to demonstrate that it's able to correctly issue instructions to 
release managers. the jakarta pmc simply wouldn't stand up to legal 
scrutiny. so that's where (for me) the ASF legal theory falls down and 
that's why (after i'd resigned from the pmc), i refused to cut any more 
jakarta releases.

but i live in the UK where the laws in this area are now really pretty 
draconian (and likely to get worse in the future). the doctrine is 
'differential enforcement' which means that the laws have been drawn 
very, very widely and parliament puts it's trust in the executive to 
only prosecute those who are guilty morally and ethically (as well as 
per the statue). whether i am acting for the ASF or not, whether the 
ASF are able to hire lawyers to act for me or not will (most likely) 
make no difference at all if charges are ever brought.

therefore, it makes no difference (in my case) whether the jakarta pmc 
can (in the eyes of the law) make any decisions. all that matters is 
that the jakarta pmc (and the board) are happy with the procedures in 
place. the jakarta pmc seems to be happy with committers not on the pmc 
cutting releases, so that's now good enough for me...

- robert

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