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From Stefano Mazzocchi <stef...@apache.org>
Subject Re: [POLL] ebXML Reg./Rep. on Apache?
Date Sun, 28 Oct 2001 15:19:06 GMT
[copied the XML PMC since I'm not sure all of them are subscribed here]

Peter,

first of all, thanks for writing us. See my comments intermixed.

Peter Kacandes wrote:
> 
> Background:
> 
> ebXML (electronic business XML) is an initiative sponsored by OASIS and
> UN/CEFACT to create "a modular suite of specifications that enables enterprises
> of any size and in any geographical location to conduct business over the
> Internet."

Yes. Personally, I am aware of ebXML and I think it has great potentials
since everybody that "get" XML knows that it will be useless without
somebody to define and arbiter a solid foundation of schemas,
namespaces, metadate schemas and their relations.

> One of the specifications in the ebXML suite deals with XML registries and
> repositories: "The OASIS ebXML Registry TC develops specifications to achieve
> interoperable registries and repositories, with an interface that enables
> submission, query and retrieval on the contents of the registry and repository."
> 
> Details can be found at:
> http://www.ebxml.org/
> http://www.ebxml.org/specs/index.htm#technical_specifications
> http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/regrep/
> 
> As part of our work on the ebXML initiative, Sun Microsystems Inc. has developed
> a JavaTM based implementation of the registry and repository specification that
> we have shown on various occasions such as trade show demos.

Ok.
 
> We have received numerous inquiries from many different parts of the developer
> community expressing interest in being able to work on this implementation to
> produce a fully specification compliant implementation.

Good.
 
> Sun has determined and given approval for making this implementation available
> to an open source community. Consequently, we would like to submit this proposal
> to the members of the Apache XML project for consideration of accepting this
> donation as a sub-project.
> 
> Thank you very much for your attention to and consideration for this proposal.

The Apache Software Foundation goals are to help keeping the web open
and making sure that new technologies keep the web as open as it is
today (or even more).

Personally, I can see only benefits in having something to do with more
business oriented areas of the web and web services. The SOAP/Axis
subproject go exactly in that direction even if some of us don't like
the technology (me being one of them).

This said, it is important for you to understand that we at Apache don't
value software but value the community of users and developers behind
it.

For this reason, it doesn't make much sense to us to accept a software
donation if this doesn't help the establishment of a community around it
to further enhance the software and, doing so, influence the design of
the standards that it is based on.

I hope you understand this is a vital point for us: a software without a
community is dead even if you have the source available. Opening up the
source code doesn't make a project successuful, it takes much more and
we don't have the energy to help making successful every closed-source
project, it must come here already healthy enough to stand on its feet.

For this reason, we tend not to accept a project submission if there are
less than two active developers that are committed to work on the code
on a regular basis and to help bootstrap the community by answering
questions to users, write docs, commit user-submitted patches.

Then, we value diversity and volunteer effort: if the dev team is
entirely composed by people working by the same company and paid to do
the job, we consider this dev community not enough "healthy", from an
open source point of view, because it will be easy to get to political
friction due to the misconception that those developers might act for
their employer rather than for themselves.
 
> We look foward to your questions, comments, or concerns.

ebXML is not the only organization that aims to create business
standards. I might add that this is a politically intense area where
friction can be easily develop and hardly dissipate.

This warns me to be overly cautious when judging a project submission on
this area.

While I understand that Sun's intention might be honest and open the
software to encouradge participation (something that I would only
plaud), others might think that Sun is willing to take advantage of
Apache's visibility to further push their ideas on this market.

Our duty on general@ lists (both xml's and jakarta's) is not to judge
the technical details behind the proposed software (not at all!), but to
judge the "health" of the community around the software.

For more information, please read

  http://jakarta.apache.org/site/newproject.html

which was written for the Jakarta Project but holds the same spirit we
would like to use here.

IMHO, accepting the submission would create more problems than it would
solve from a community point of view, but I'd like to hear other
comments before stating a pending negative vote.

My suggestion, for now, would be to try to bootstrap a community
in-house at Sun (or at ebXML or at OASIS or at sourceforge.net, you pick
the one you like the most) and try to generate diversity in the
development community.

When (if?) this happens, I'll be more than welcome to reconsider the
submission under a different light against giving value to the status of
the community rather than to the technical decisions of the project.

Please understand that my intention with this reasoning is not to judge
the technical details of your proposal, but the energy that
bootstrapping that community will require and, IMHO, this requires from
us more energy that it might give back in the short term.

But, of course, this is just my personal opinion.

-- 
Stefano Mazzocchi      One must still have chaos in oneself to be
                          able to give birth to a dancing star.
<stefano@apache.org>                             Friedrich Nietzsche
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