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From "Geir Magnusson Jr." <ge...@apache.org>
Subject Re: Democracy? [was: About joining JSR 279 and 280]
Date Fri, 09 Dec 2005 18:47:35 GMT

On Nov 21, 2005, at 7:38 PM, Dain Sundstrom wrote:

> Geir, I believe you missed the meat of my proposal which was a  
> proposal to make the JCP process at Apache democratic.  It is my  
> opinion that the process for JCP involvement at Apache is really a  
> dictatorship and not democratic.

I'm not sure that either is a good word.  First, the ASF is a  
meritocracy.  Everyone is entitled to speak their peace, but those  
who make decisions are a subset of the entire community, just like in  
all ares of the foundation's functioning.

In the case of ASF representation on expert groups, it's really been  
very open - at first, anyone who was a member and was interested  
could represent the ASF, and now, those who are committers are  
eligible.  I say "eligible" because I think we need to be careful.   
Our participation in the JCP is really about process and community,  
and not about technology - the ASF doesn't actually have specific  
technology roadmaps as a foundation - we want "a thousand flowers to  
bloom".  The ability to participate in the technology activities -  
namely the expert groups - is a secondary thing for us, and thus  
we've formally kept the eligibility under formal approval (by me,  
thus far).  The reality has been that no one has ever been refused  
participation, but we must certainly keep the option of saying no to  
someone clearly available.

>   Now, I get the feeling this is a benevolent dictatorship, and to  
> be crystal clear I am not saying anything negative you or the  
> current process.

C'mon.  Fool me once...

>   I would like to see the process changed to pure democracy, and to  
> achieve this I think we need to change two areas, openness and voting.
> Openness
>  * Publicly document the process to join an EG
>  * Publicly document the requirements of an person representing Apache
>  * Publicly document the people representing Apache on the various  
> specs
>  * All administrative communication between Apache and the JCP  
> should be copied to this (or the private) list
>  * An EG representative should give quarterly reports to this list

These are all good things, and all have been suggested before and are  
or should be in process of happening.

> Voting
>  * This list should discuss all votes on the EC and decide how  
> Apache will cast it's vote

Discussion is certainly good, but the ASF has never in my memory cast  
a negative vote.  I'd also reserve for the VP, JCP the decision on  
what the vote should be in the end.  The responsibility has been  
placed on that person's shoulders.

But sure - I'll start posting the weekly ballot info and if anyone is  
interested, we can dig in.

>  * This list should vote on who will represent apache on the EGs

This isn't so clear to me what you get out of this  It's not obvious  
why this list would know better than the specialists working in the  
technology area - those volunteering to do the work - about who  
should be the rep.  Generally, we don't have multiple people wanting  
to do it.  When we do, I think we should always try for dual/treble/ 
etc representation to get the most people participating if the EG  
will allow it, and if not, the individuals better be mature enough to  
work this out themselves, or there's no way they should be on a JCP  
expert group.

>  * This list should discuss and vote to propose Apache sponsored  
> specifications

Well, certainly people should be aware, but why would we ever act as  
a gatekeeper preventing people from trying to take their technology  
to the JCP?   And sponsoring a spec is such a big deal, if anyone  
signed up to do the work and do a spec, I'd be the first the bless  
them and wish them luck, giving them any support they need.  That  
said, I'd be the first to try and shut them down if they were giving  
the ASF a bad name, but I would consider that an unlikely,  
extraordinary situation that the VP, JCP could just deal with.

>  * This list should on a yearly basis propose to the board a  
> individual that we would like to represent Apache in the EC (of  
> course the board has the choice to choose whom ever they want, but  
> we should offer the opinion of this group)

This makes little sense to me.    It takes a bit of time (about a  
year or so) to understand the political dynamics of the JCP enough to  
be effective.  The JCP is staffed by professional standards-bodies  
representatives, and the politics is pretty tough.  I think that  
there is no upside for the ASF for this happening this way.  So no, I  
don't think that this should be turned over every year.


> -dain
> On Nov 20, 2005, at 3:42 AM, Geir Magnusson Jr. wrote:
>> On Nov 8, 2005, at 3:05 PM, Dain Sundstrom wrote:
>>> +1 I would have thought this is how things already worked.  It  
>>> seems like the Apache Way... of course I have a few tweaks :)
>>> On Nov 7, 2005, at 11:36 AM, Jason van Zyl wrote:
>>>> 1) No JSR should be applied for until it has been decided on  
>>>> this list
>>>> who is going to represent Apache.
>>>> 2) When the person is selected via the standard voting practices  
>>>> then
>>>> that person contacts the spec lead. Again if this person doesn't  
>>>> have
>>>> the motivation to contact the spec lead and get things moving  
>>>> then we
>>>> should not participate.
>>> I would suggest that this list be copied on all "administrative"  
>>> communication with the spec leads or the EC.  That way we have an  
>>> official record of what is going on.  Further, if we don't  
>>> already have one, I would like to have a JCP website at Apache  
>>> that details our policies joining a EG and lists the people  
>>> representing Apache on the various specs.  Sometimes, I want to  
>>> ask for a feature to be added to a spec, but don't know who is  
>>> representing Apache.
>> No problem there.  I've had the website planned, and this is a  
>> good kick.
>>>> 3) I think it would be fair say that one individual cannot possibly
>>>> handle more then one JSR. I can barely keep up with JSR 277.
>>> I'm not sure on this one.  Some specs don't have much volume and  
>>> others do.  This is kind of like saying you can be heavily  
>>> involved in more than one Apache project.  Of course, I don't  
>>> want an Apache rep that is so overwhelmed that they aren't  
>>> effectively representing us.
>> I think that it's up to individuals who volunteer if they want to  
>> participate in more than one.  I see no problem with it.  If there  
>> is a dormant rep, then certainly a person who wants to be active  
>> should take over.  But without any other person interested, a  
>> dormant rep is fine.  It happens all the time in the JCP.
>>> Maybe we should ask the rep to create a quarterly report, which  
>>> we can attache to the board report for this group.  If they can't  
>>> create a paragraph, it is a good sign they aren't involved.
>> We have to be careful there - I've thought about monthly  
>> "heartbeat" reports, but we have to be careful about information  
>> from expert groups getting to public board reports.  We have a  
>> weird situation because our interests in openness need to square  
>> with our responsibilities to keep EG confidential information  
>> confidential (this varies EG by EG...)
>> It's good to see some interest in this area.
>> geir
>> -- 
>> Geir Magnusson Jr                                  +1-203-665-6437
>> geirm@apache.org

Geir Magnusson Jr                                  +1-203-665-6437

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