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From Kimbro Staken <ksta...@dbxmlgroup.com>
Subject Re: [vote] A native XML database project under Apache
Date Thu, 18 Oct 2001 23:45:47 GMT
I wanted to add my two cents to this and clarify a few points that Stefano 

On Thursday, October 18, 2001, at 12:53 PM, Stefano Mazzocchi wrote:
> FYI, dbXML (www.dbxml.org) is an implementation of a native XML database
> written in the Java language that is close to reaching its first final
> release.

First I want to make it clear that dbXML is Open Source and has been for 
over a year. It started out LGPL and was changed to an Apache style 
license about 6 months ago. We have an existing user community several 
hundred strong and this community is very interested in seeing dbXML 
become a part of the ASF family of projects. The current developer 
community is small right now, but will hopefully grow significantly in the 
coming months.

> dbXML was created with the sponsor of a commercial entity called "dbXML
> Group" which still exists but has no economic energy to continue its
> development and the main developers are now working on the project
> unpaid.

> But I'd like something to be clear: I'm *NOT* proposing that Apache
> takes over 'dbXML group' to save dbXML and continue its development. I'm

The dbXML Group is not proposing that this has anything to do with the 
company either, the company is going to go do whatever it is that 
companies do and shouldn't factor too much into any decision. The only 
thing they needed to approve was the transfer of the copyright and that is 
already taken care of.

The dbXML Project which is the open source effort will continue, 
regardless of the existence of the company, just as it already is. Stefano 
kind of implies that the project is in trouble which isn't true. The dbXML 
Project definitely could use more help and visibility but isn't really in 
any trouble beyond that. We simply felt that now would be a good time to 
offer the code to the ASF as we're about to reach an initial 1.0 release. 
This makes it a good time to bring in more mindshare to enable a big leap 
forward when a 2.0 release comes in the future. The 1.0 release will 
convincingly prove the concept, now we want to take the next step and 
really make dbXML into a solid production level native XML database.

> Kimbro and I have been talking about "Apache BooBoo", but that is just
> the first name that crossed my mind :) If you have better names, please,
> let us discuss this publicly if the deal gets approuved.
> Anyway, the dbXML folks are willing to donate the code, to change the
> name as long as we give proper credit to "dbXML group" for having
> bootstrapped and donated the code (as we do for IBM, Lotus, Sun and
> others), and more than willing to help in both development, user
> support, research, community and evangelization. In fact, if the deal is
> accepted by this list, they are even willing to close down the site and
> move everything overhere with the new name.

One other contingency is that in my opinion the existing dbXML community 
should really be allowed to choose the new name, subject to approval by 
the wider Apache community of course. We've already started this search on 
our mailing list and I'd really like that to continue, assuming approval 
of the creation of the project. Everybody is very interested in keeping it 
in line with the style of the existing XML apache project names.

> Let me finish by saying that I do not consider important what the actual
> code implementation is (few, myself included, might not like some of
> their architectural choices, such as the use of CORBA and Jaggernaut),
> but I'm *NOT* asking for a vote on their _actual_ technological status,
> I'm asking for a vote to create a community that can create, maintain
> and show the power of a native XML DB solution.

I think Stefano makes dbXML sound much worse then it really is. :-) Is 
dbXML immature, yes of course it is. It is a version 1.0 piece of software 
for a technology that itself is brand new. However,  it is also pretty 
close to being the most widely used native XML database around. So while 
compared to MySQL the numbers are small, compared to our commercial 
brethren in the native XML space they are not. Also if you've used any of 
the commercial products, other then Tamino and Excelon, you'll also know 
that dbXML is already about as good. Now, we just need to focus on getting 
the engine mature enough to blow away the Taminos and Excelons in the 
space. As Stefano mentioned, it's going to take a long time to get to a 
truly industrial strength solution, but I think dbXML provides a solid 
foundation to start with.

Not that it really matters, but just to clarify Stefano's specific issues.
  The CORBA layer is just that, a layer, and it is already slated to be 
replaced in the next version of dbXML with something like SOAP. It isn't a 
central piece of architecture to the database it self. Also to use the 
server you don't have to deal with CORBA at all, as long as you're working 
in Java. CORBA is there for other languages. Juggernaut was actually 
developed as part of dbXML before it was even made open source, and is 
something that we split into a separate project to make it clearer what is 
the database and what is the server framework that the database runs under.
  Juggernaut is also slated to be replaced in the next version, most likely 
with Avalon.

> It might takes years to have something solid enough to compete with big
> commercial names, but it is important, IMO, for Apache to have something
> to say even on this front by creating a community and attracting people
> and their ideas.
> In fact, the dbXML guys are willing to donate the code, but also very
> happy about the possibility of a higher visibility that would bring more
> people and more ideas into the design process that is going to happen
> for their next major release.

I want to make it clear here too, the current dbXML community is totally 
committed to the future development of dbXML (or whatever it is called in 
the future). We decided to offer the code to the ASF for the very reasons 
that Stefano mentions here. We want dbXML to grow into what becomes the 
defacto standard for native XML databases. Forming an ASF project around 
the code is just the next step on the path to achieving that goal. We're 
committed to achieving this, and hopefully continuing the effort under the 
Apache umbrella will give us the advantage that's needed and a significant 
benefit for everyone involved. Our current community will move over to 
support the new effort and to continue development into the future.

> So, people, I'm asking you to judge the idea to create a community,
> rather than the current dbXML implementation which is only a way to give
> to users the meat the look for in that area, but then attract them for
> new development and further research.
> Sorry for the long mail.
> Please, place your vote.
> Thanks.
> Stefano.
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Kimbro Staken
The dbXML Project

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