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From "Roy T. Fielding" <field...@ebuilt.com>
Subject Re: Action regarding umbrella PMCs
Date Tue, 06 Mar 2001 04:06:05 GMT
Hello everyone,

The Apache Software Foundation exists to provide a solid legal foundation
under U.S. corporate law for many of the collaborative activities that
were formerly done by a group of individuals called the Apache Group.
Our status as a corporation allows us to protect the work of individual
volunteers and provide both code and people some insulation from the
the legal liabilities associated with distributing software.  In order
to accomplish that, the Foundation must retain and exercise sufficient
oversight of its activities equivalent to that of other legal entities.
We accomplish that, in accordance with our bylaws, by appointing a
Project Management Committee (PMC) to oversee the activities of each
and every project.

The purpose of a PMC is to make sure we do things legally and without
recklessly endangering the foundation's assets (the good name and all of
the code contributed to the foundation).  The PMC does not exist to make
the technical decisions regarding the project, though it does have
the authority to determine who has commit access and voting privileges
within the project, and what that means in terms of project guidelines.  

The ASF board determines the scope of a PMC (i.e., the range of different
software products managed under the oversight of the PMC) when the PMC
is initiated and when it is refreshed on an annual basis, or whenever
the board feels it is appropriate to update the PMC status.  The membership
of the PMC is appointed by the board in accordance with the desires of
the volunteers working on the project.  That is, the PMC is supposed to be
elected by the committers on the project, or include all of the committers
on the project, because that's pretty much the only way to ensure that
what we do remains a true collaboration and doesn't degrade into some sort
of consortium or a mirror of our real jobs.

As I mentioned at the beginning of the year:

>In my opinion (this time as chairman), many of the sub-projects currently
>hosted under the XML and Jakarta projects are outside the scope of the
>the mandate given to those PMCs.  There are only three solutions to
>this problem:
>
>    1) board resolutions are required to expand the scope of those PMCs;
>
>    2) board resolutions are required to separate each new project into
>       a more focused PMC;
>
>    3) the chairman will direct remaining out-of-scope and inadequately
>       overseen projects to cease distributing software as part of the
>       Apache Software Foundation.

Needless to say, I was disappointed by the lack of response on the
part of the XML and Jakarta projects.  Two months should have been
more than enough time to set a direction and write a couple resolutions
detailing how the projects would be overseen.

Regarding Jakarta, the Jakarta PMC has decided to expand its mandate
to include its present projects, under the theory that the communication
problems can be solved by following the project guidelines and holding
more regular meetings, much like the board does for the ASF.  Sam Ruby
presented a resolution to the board that would expand the mandate of
Jakarta to cover all server-related Java software.  The board refused
to consider this resolution because it did not include a list of PMC
members that could reasonably represent all of the projects under that
mandate.  Sam has been given the task of assembling a proposed PMC
according to the wishes of all of the committers on those projects,
to be presented to the board at the next meeting (March 21).

Regarding XML, the XML PMC did not respond to my request and no resolution
was forthcoming.  As a result, the board has decided to terminate the
current XML PMC and has assigned Dirk-Willem van Gulik the task of
assembling one or more project management committees according to the
wishes of the committers within each of the projects currently under
the XML banner.  Resolutions for such projects will be considered at the
next board meeting.

My expectation is that all of our current XML and Jakarta projects
will be refreshed before the end of the March 21 meeting.  If not, the
next board will be advised to cancel any projects that remain in an
orphaned state.

Sincerely,

    Roy T. Fielding, Chairman, The Apache Software Foundation
                     (fielding@apache.org)  <http://www.apache.org/>


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