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I'm new here, and I'll only be around for a little while, but I hope it will
be a pleasant visit.

I make my living writing open source search engine software which lives at the
ASF -- Apache Lucy, an incubating project.  I was recently invited to join the
Incubator PMC and accepted, but beyond that and my position on the Apache Lucy
PPMC (Podling Project Management Committee), I don't have any special
authority within the ASF.

I have too many ongoing obligations to participate in OO.o, and have no stake
in the project.  I'm here as an individual volunteer to help everybody out by
picking the low-hanging fruit and responding to easy questions about the ASF
and the Incubator.  Don't take me for an ASF rep -- I'm just some dude on a
mailing list offering unverified info and links.

Michael Meeks wrote:

 + if we wait, do we risk getting locked out ?  

No.  Merit will always be recognized and new committers accepted.

 + after the incubation proposal is accepted is
   it possible to become a committer ?

Becoming a new committer prior to the acceptance of an Incubator podling
merely requires adding your name on the wiki proposal page (in this case,
<>).  Typically people will
also introduce themselves on the list in the
proposal discussion thread and get a "Welcome aboard!" reply from the
proposal's Champion or somebody else, but the formal requirement is being
listed in the proposal when the Incubator PMC votes on it.

After the podling gets going, you have to demonstrate merit and pass a vote
held by the PPMC, which is then ratified by a lazy consensus vote of the
Incubator PMC.

After a podling graduates and becomes a top-level Apache project, becoming a
committer requires a vote by the project's PMC.

So there is, in fact, some benefit to signing up now because the bureaucratic
hurdles are lower.  However, most podlings are eager to increase the diversity
of their committer ranks and the amount of merit you have to demonstrate
before being invited in is pretty low.  I would expect an OO.o podling to be
even more welcoming than most.

 + will people with relevant experience, contribution and
   merit find it possible to become committers later ?


You also don't need to worry about IBM or anybody else dominating the PMC and
calling the shots.  If there was ever an attempt to deny someone with merit
committership for political reasons, someone within the project would raise
the issue with the Board, and there would be hell to pay.  The Board answers
to the Members, of which there are 300-400, all participating as individuals
with a strong investment in preserving the ASF's vendor-neutral stance.

    Individuals compose the ASF

    All of the ASF including the board, the other officers, the committers, and the
    members, are participating as individuals. That is one strength of the ASF,
    affiliations do not cloud the personal contributions.

    Unless they specifically state otherwise, whatever they post on any mailing
    list is done as themselves. It is the individual point-of-view, wearing their
    personal hat and not as a mouthpiece for whatever company happens to be signing
    their paychecks right now, and not even as a director of the ASF.

    All of those ASF people implicitly have multiple hats, especially the Board,
    the other officers, and the PMC chairs. They sometimes need to talk about a
    matter of policy, so to avoid appearing to be expressing a personal opinion,
    they will state that they are talking in their special capacity. However, most
    of the time this is not necessary, personal opinions work well.

Hope this helps,

Marvin Humphrey

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