The Lurker

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posted by ajf on 2011-11-25 at 07:55 pm

Most of the discussion of this criticism of Apache by Mikeal Rogers has focused on the merits of git, which I think misses the bigger picture.

To me the interesting thing here is that, never mind "community over code", Apache appears to value bureaucracy over community:

Prior to this migration I brought up, on more than one occasion, the topic of git with ASF members and was told that the real barrier was just getting someone to maintain the server and that there was no policy barrier that required subversion. Once a project actually attempted to resolve this by maintaing a server and migrating their project to git they were hit with a whole new slew of requirements along with reasons they should be outright denied the right at all.


After a fierce battle CouchDB has been allowed to begin the move to git. The process appears to be going well and is being led by committer Paul Davis.

Enter PhoneGap. The PhoneGap project has been on GitHub for quite a while and already contains an enviable list of contributors. The project has been very successful and the move to Apache is a result of Adobe's recent acquisition of Nitobi, creators of PhoneGap.

By ASF regulations the project must spend time in the "Incubator" even though it has already proven itself as a technology and as a community to the rest of the world. The project requested git as its version control rather than subversion, for obvious reasons. The request was met with some hostility and new pressure has now come down on the CouchDB "experiment".

It sounds awfully like some within Apache are more than willing to disrupt an existing developer community for the sake of shielding Apache from the need to adapt.

I've long been amused by the warning in Apache's Incubator process against "excessive fascination with the Apache brand", since so many of the projects going through that process seem to be driven there specifically by some corporate sponsor's desire to find someone "respectable" to catch their code once they throw it over the wall. When this happens, it seems more like spin: we're not abandoning this software, we're contributing it to a serious open source community. It's hard to see any tangible benefit to PhoneGap contributors or users that would derive from joining Apache.

Related topics: Rants Mindless Link Propagation

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