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From Arved Sandstrom <Arved...@chebucto.ns.ca>
Subject Re: Volunteers needed: Reboot of the XML 'PMC'.
Date Fri, 02 Mar 2001 03:23:46 GMT
At 02:06 PM 3/1/01 -0700, Kimbro Staken wrote:
>To achieve this I suggest that you keep your PMC small, 3-4 people vs.
>the 3-9 originally called for. Task the PMC with high level strategic
>and administrative tasks and the authority to delegate operational
>issues to temp groups. By delegating operational issues you remove the
>need to have members from all sub projects on the PMC. You need to think
>about the situation as you add additional projects. If all current
>projects have representation all future projects will also expect
>representation with the likely end result that your PMC will be so large
>that it will once again be inneffective. Most of your business is done
>out in the open anyway so this shouldn't really be a problem as everyone
>will see what is going on and will still have input. You should also
>accept that your PMC is serving two masters. First the development
>community within the Apache XML project and second the target market at
>which you are aiming the technology under development. Most of the
>discussion I've seen so far has focused on the first master and ignores
>the second. I think you need to keep both in mind to continue growth of
>the organization.

Good points all (the rest of your post included). Apache prides itself on 
being not just another software sweatshop, open-source or no open-source, 
but in fostering a sense of community, and this is a very worthy goal. But 
the main goal always has to be the end-user...after all, what is the point 
of developing software otherwise?

The current goals for XML Apache includes: "to provide commercial-quality 
standards-based XML solutions that are developed in an open and cooperative 
fashion". Assuming that this remains a goal, I think we will all certainly 
acknowledge that it is entirely impossible to do the above without 
soliciting user requirements, i.e. without being responsive to the user 
community. If you look at the fop-dev mailing list, which also acts as a 
user list, I think you will see that FOP, at least, tries to listen. I'm not 
saying that others don't - I simply don't know. But it would be nice to see 
this being stressed more strongly at the overall project level.

A number of Apache XML projects have their requirements nailed down quite a 
bit since they are trying to implement a spec. In such cases we have to hope 
that the spec writers did the due diligence and got input from users (in 
some cases I suspect that they didn't). But XML Apache has another current 
goal - "to provide feedback to standards bodies (such as IETF and W3C) from 
an implementation perspective" - that covers this base, too; we are 
responsible for generating quality feedback to the spec writers. Why? 
Because we said so, ourselves. And I'm not sure we do that so well, either.

I like the direction this discussion is headed. You're absolutely right, 
IMO. To quote your above: "...your PMC is serving two masters. First the 
development community within the Apache XML project and second the target 
market..." Yes, I agree. And there is also the legalistic third aspect - 
being answerable to the board. I tend to agree that perhaps a smallish PMC 
with high-level tasks and an oversight mandate (QA, effectively: "did you do 
what you said that you were going to do? No? Why not?"), and operational 
groups on a contingency basis, as has been proposed here, sounds like a 
workable solution to address all 3 concerns.

Arved Sandstrom

Fairly Senior Software Type
e-plicity (http://www.e-plicity.com)
Wireless * B2B * J2EE * XML --- Halifax, Nova Scotia

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