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From Richard Eckart de Castilho <...@apache.org>
Subject Ability to communicate on unreleased code
Date Sat, 24 May 2014 09:14:03 GMT
On 22.05.2014, at 21:05, Richard Eckart de Castilho <rec@apache.org> wrote:

> On 22.05.2014, at 20:55, Mark Struberg <struberg@yahoo.de> wrote:
> 
>> During the process of developing software and preparing a release, various
>> packages are made available to the developer community for testing
>> purposes. **Projects MUST NOT take any action that might
>> encourage non-developers to download or use nightly builds, snapshots,
>> release candidates, or any other similar package.** The only people who are
>> supposed to know about such packages are the people following the dev list
>> (or searching its archives) and thus aware of the conditions placed on the
>> package.
> 
> IMHO this fundamentally contradicts the spirit of open source development.
> In the next step, only people with an Apache account are permitted to
> access these lists, and I don't even want to fathom what might follow
> up to that...
> 
> To me, this section kind of implies that the non-developer might
> expect some kind of quality even from the released and published artifacts.
> This is not the case. Every sane every open source license contains
> a liability disclaimer (See sections 7 and 8 of the ASL).

I would like to come back to this thing here. I understand that we should
encourage non-developers to use unreleased stuff, but I feel this is not
a black/white thing. In particular I find the wording "The only people
who are supposed to know..." too hard.

But I would like to bring up a concrete case and would like your advice on it.

There is a unreleased module of the UIMA project called "uimafit-spring".
It is a proof-of-concept implementation for combining UIMA and Spring
which is meant to serve as a basis for discussion for possible future
development. It is only available from the SVN (possibly from the
Jenkins builds).

However, this module *is* mentioned on the UIMA website (I put it there)
in order to find people who would be willing to discuss about it / work
on it. The website says [1]:

"""
uimafit-spring is an experimental module serving as a proof-of-concept for the integration
of UIMA with the Spring Framework. It is currently not considered finished and uses invasive
reflection in order to patch the UIMA framework such that it passes all components created
by UIMA through Spring to provide for the wiring of Spring context dependencies. This module
is made available for the adventurous but currently not considered stable, finished, or even
a proper part of the package. E.g. it is not included in the binary distribution package.
"""

I found that at least one person blogged about the module and one mentioned
it on Stack Overflow [2]. I have refrained from mentioning it myself in my
answered posted there because of the recent discussion about the policy
mentioned above.

So my questions:

1) is it valid to mention experimental/unreleased code/features on the project website in
order to attract new people?

2) is it valid to mention experimental/unreleased code/features elsewhere (e.g. on Stack Overflow)
while at the same time disclosing affiliation with the releated Apache project (as required
on Stack Overflow)?

3) is it valid to maintain dedicated developers sections on the project website with information
about the release process, experimental features, etc. including links or information on how
to find to the related resources?

If I take the policy "The only people who are supposed to know about such packages are the
people following the dev list (or searching its archives) and thus aware of the conditions
placed on the package.", I would answer "No" to all of the questions above. However, I cannot
imagine this should be the intended message of the statement.

Cheers,

-- Richard

[1] http://uima.apache.org/uimafit.html#Modules
[2] http://stackoverflow.com/questions/23828168/want-to-use-value-reading-the-properties-from-property-file-in-uima-framework/23842733#23842733
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