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Re: [tdf-discuss] Hello! ... and lurking :-)


Hey Bernhard,

See my responses inline below:

On Fri, Jun 3, 2011 at 21:09, Bernhard Dippold
<bernhard@familie-dippold.at> wrote:
...
I think this list here is the best for discussions about the community,
steering-discuss for contacting the Steering Committee members and
libO@freedesktop for developers.

Gotcha. Those were the three recommended, and I've see discussion
about the Apache proposal on all three. I suspect that I'll just stay
in lurk mode over on libO :-)

I intend to lurk regarding all the regular work that you all are doing
here. I'll be paying particular attention to any conversations or
concerns that you may have about the OOo/Apache stuff, and will
attempt to answer questions that you may have. I'm catching up on the
archives now.

That's what I tried with the general@incubator list - quite challenging at
this time ;-)

heheh... yeah, seriously. It's been quite a time sink! :-) ... but much fun!

I already wanted subscribe to it and post my question there, but perhaps
(due to the emotional style of discussion over there at the moment) it is
better to ask you here:

Oh, I can answer these here no problem. I suspect the emotion is
slowing down. We're still just a couple days past announcement, and I
think people are still pondering what it all really means. Give people
the weekend, and I think things will work much better.

Anyways. Below:

In his mail
http://www.mail-archive.com/general@incubator.apache.org/msg28210.html Sam
Ruby points out, that an incubator proposal has to be discussed in the
community before presenting it to Apache.

He cites the guidelines for proposals:
http://incubator.apache.org/guides/proposal.html

"The incoming community needs to work together before presenting this
proposal to the incubator. Think about and discuss future goals and
the reasons for coming to Apache."

If this would have been handled in a proper way, Oracle would have discussed
this step with the OpenOffice.org community *before*.

That's a guideline. And it is really talking about other Open Source
communities. For example, the incoming Subversion or SpamAssassin or
Cassandra communities.

On the other hand, we've had lots of donations from corporations,
where own all of the code. Needless to say, they do not have to confer
with anybody *outside* of their organization.

But... all that said: the core of your thinking is absolutely correct.
It would have been best if Oracle had conferred more with the
community at large. But the simple fact is they were not *obligated*
to do so. It also sounds like they spoke to at least a few people from
the TDF (per Rob Weir's comment about a conference call in April).
Another thing to consider: what if they did talk to the entire
community and *still* decided to go with the Apache approach? That
could have happened, and I suspect people would be even more upset :-P

From appearances, and what I understand about history, it may also be
that Oracle had some contractual obligations with IBM. They may have
resolved those with this approach (yes: it seems very clear that IBM
was a big mover in Oracle's choice). It is hard to say, being on the
outside.

The shortest answer is: they owned the code, they decided, we all have
to live with that choice.

(as a comparison point, I bet a bunch of MySQL contributors also felt
pretty pissed off when MySQL AB got bought by Sun, and the employees
got paid big bucks... while the open source contributors got squat...
that is the risk of contributing to code owned by a corporation; that
"imbalance of power" is constructed and maintained by copyleft
licenses; it is rather unfortunate)

This would have reduced the traffic at the Apache list to a minimum -
leaving out bad blood and lot of noise...

Agreed.


As you probably know, defining the OpenOffice.org community has been easy
until last September, but now there are two different definitions, depending
on whom you ask:

While the people working here on LibreOffice understand themselves and the
left-over OpenOffice.org as two projects within one community, some people
on the OOo lists deny the positive feelings towards OpenOffice.org by the
people who decided to create a single-sponsor independent foundation 8
months ago. In their eyes the LibO-supporter lost their right to support
OpenOffice.org and feel as OOo community member with their support of
LibreOffice.

This background is important to know, if you want to understand, what is
going on at the Apache list.

Thanks for the background. It does help to define the various groups
within the larger community.


But not even the remnant OOo project (that lacks an active governing body
since all Community Council members not being payed by Oracle have been
forced to leave when they announced their dedication to an independent
foundation and all present seats should have been re-elected for a long
time) has been involved in discussion before Oracle donated the trademark to
Apache and IBM (via Rob Weir) proposed the incubator project to Apache.

My question is: Wouldn't it be reasonable to have a discussion - and a
positive voting for Apache - inside the (smaller or broader) OpenOffice.org
community *before* reaching out for Apache?

See my earlier point above. The proposal came from Oracle, along with
the necessary software grant. Discussion in *any* community was out of
everybody's hands. Oracle owned the code, and they did as they felt.
(and we know they don't pay much attention, or understand, FLOSS
community dynamics)

If I understand it right, Apache projects are community projects - not
sponsor based projects (even if they have bought the communities trademarks
from entities who held them once as legal representatives for the
community)?

Correct. Apache is vendor-neutral. We work very hard to ensure that
remains the case, and have learned over the past decade+ how to keep
it that way. There is a LOT of money to be made in Apache products,
and that leads some companies to do "Bad Things". We have had to take
some very drastic action on several occasions to deal with companies
that attempted to overstep their bounds.

Even with this proposal, IBM will be "just another" developer. In
fact, it won't even be IBM itself. There will be a number of
developers on the project who happen to work for IBM. Apache projects
give NO voice to employers. Companies have no rights or votes or
anything within an Apache project. Only the people who have earned
merit get to speak.

If you have any comments, questions, or concerns, then please feel
free to direct them my way (on whatever list). I'm here to listen and
understand, and to offer up answers where I can.

There are some other points I'd like to mention - like copy-left dedication
of the mainly volunteer community who dislike any company increasing their
profits by using these volunteers hard work (and lot of time) without giving
back anything (not even respect) - but this would lead too far in this
single mail.

I understand and respect the position, although I do not agree with
it. But I doubt that is really a topic that needs much discussion. We
all agree to disagree, and move on. It would be surprising if anybody
changed another's point of view, so why even try :-P

...
[2] send mail to general-subscribe@incubator.apache.org if you would
like to subscribe and directly talk about the proposal

I don't know if the most productive outcome of my thought and our discussion
would be here or on the Apache list. What do you think: Should I subscribe
and re-post my mail there?
Or is is better (and more peaceful, thus leading to a better signal/noise
relation) to stay here and have you as moderator to take the message to the
Apache list?

I'm generally not going to be moving anything back to that list. If
you would like to participate there, then please go ahead. The list is
extremely busy right now, but it won't bite :-)

Feel free to ask questions here. You have a sense of what this
community might want to have answered, and what they are interested
in. My answers belong here.

general@incubator is different, as many people there already
understand Apache and its approach. Questions about Apache, the
Incubator, and its processes are getting answered, but... whatever. A
little duplication is okay if somebody asks the same thing in both
places :-)

Cheers,
-g

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