Thanks Jeff, that was very well put.

I would quibble on one point, though: the ship has never sailed on topics
of community.  How the board acts towards the PMC and companies in the
community matters a great deal for continuing relations, as well as for
other projects.

The question is: did the board members all behave in a manner that the PMC
felt was reasonable and impartial?  What I saw suggested they did not; if
the PMC members agree, then perhaps the discussions should be made public*
so the community can decide their view.  Because if it is the case, that is
a *serious* problem the ASF needs to address.  The board must be held to an
even higher standard than the PMCs it governs.

*as the board appears to have just invested you with the authority to do,
if Jim is to be believed.

On 5 November 2016 at 15:33, Jeff Jirsa <> wrote:

> I'm going to attempt to give the most complete answer I can without
> posting comments that were said with the expectation of privacy - it's not
> my place to violate that expectation. Some things discussed here are things
> I wouldn't typically mention in public (notably the topic of trademark
> compliance), but since it has already been mentioned by others and posted
> in the minutes, I'm going to be as open and compete as I can for the sake
> of the community.
> For the record and for context, I'm a member of the PMC, voted into the
> PMC fairly recently, but neither a Datastax employee nor customer.
> The ASF has very strict guidelines in the way they expect projects to be
> run. Some of these guidelines are hard legal requirements (protecting brand
> trademarks), some are designed to protect the health of the project
> (ensuring diverse contributors, lack of control by a single corporate
> entity).
> For a very long time, the most active committers and PMC members were
> Datastax employees - as full time sponsored contributors, they drove the
> vast majority of features. In addition to sponsoring the full time
> contributors, Datastax also actively tried to grow the community - for
> their business to grow, they need adoption of Apache Cassandra, so they
> spent a lot of time and money actively trying to find more contributors and
> creating opportunities for people to learn about Cassandra.
> Unfortunately, two unrelated problems arose.
> First, apparently, folks like Lucasz'  frustration and decisions like not
> wanting to have in-tree drivers are misinterpreted (in my opinion) as
> inappropriate control. Additionally, the Apache Way calls for decisions to
> be made In public, where a record exists. Some (many?) decisions were
> happening in places like IRC (real time collaboration among full time
> developers) which, while not hidden or private, wasn't logged (it is now)
> and wasn't necessarily obvious to casual observers. While I'll respond to
> Lucasz's email directly in a moment (I find many parts of it incorrect),
> the APPEARANCE for people only barely familiar with the project is that
> Datastax was likely inappropriately controlling the project, a violation of
> ASF guidelines.
> Second, some of what Datastax perceived as well intentioned community
> building occasionally violated trademark guidelines. I suspect the most
> likely cause is that marketing materials were written by marketing folks
> who don't understand trademark law. This isn't subjective. The active
> members of the PMC (which, at the time, were primarily Datastax employees)
> ARE responsible for policing trademark and MUST (unambiguously) correct
> misuse - that didn't happen as often as it should have. My opinion is that
> it didn't happen because the PMC was heads down on code and focusing on the
> database, not the marketing, but that's not an acceptable answer.
> The combination of these two factors causes the ASF to become involved.
> Apache Cassandra isn't alone here - other big data platforms of various
> shapes are also having similar interactions with the ASF, likely for
> similar reasons. There has been (and will continue to be) communication to
> ensure that ASF trademarks are respected and that Datastax doesn't exert
> undue control over the project. That communication was not a one time
> message - it was back and forth communication for quite some time at the
> PMC level.
> Factual objective background out of the way, I'll switch to opinion and
> speculation.
> Because this isn't an isolated case (ASF has to deal with multiple
> projects having similar issues) and everyone involved has strong opinions
> that they're acting in the best interest of the project, I SUSPECT that
> frustration runs high, tempers are short, and occasionally things are said
> that shouldn't be said - some of which one may classify as "prematurely
> inflammatory". This serve[s|d] to drive a wedge between two groups that
> nominally have the same goal - a strong Apache Cassandra project.
> Ultimately, Datastax has an obligation to their investors to make money
> and the ASF has a mission of protecting it's project (where project
> includes the intellectual property, Apache Cassandra codebase and websites,
> mailing lists and community as a whole). It's apparent that some of the
> communication has caused Datastax to re-evaluate it's level of involvement
> - no committers have been removed by the ASF, no members of the PMC have
> been removed, though we collectively have been (repeatedly) instructed to
> follow the Apache Way.
> While I'm unable to tell you Datastax's exact motivation (again, not a
> Datastax employee), I suspect it's a combination of limiting liability,
> anger/frustration at some of the tone/messaging, and deciding not to give
> away expensive, difficult work for free.
> And that's what most of us hoped would not happen, but it'll be OK.
> Supporters on the ASF board and members of the ASF will say that The
> Apache Way exists to protect the project against exactly this type of
> divestment.
> Friends and fans of Datastax will say that this wasn't necessary, point to
> threads in dev@ that appear needlessly accusatory, argue that everyone
> was genuinely acting in the software's best interest (though perhaps
> missing some of the requirements of the PMC), and wish that this could have
> been handled and remedied differently. I echo your sentiment that Datastax
> spent a lot of time and money trying to build the community and actively
> worked to encourage more diverse contributors, and I appreciate their
> contributions (code and community).
> At this point, the ship has sailed, and as a project we're left with
> Jonathan's blog post as the only official public communication on this
> topic from Datastax. Datastax employees are still actively fixing bugs in
> core tech (just look at the commit history), so fears that they'll simply
> disappear should be put aside - they may not contribute all of their
> improvements, but they're still contributing, and for that I thank them. As
> a member of the PMC, I encourage people to try to become more involved.
> It's a complicated piece of software, but it drives many of our businesses,
> and it will certainly live on.
> Best,
> Jeff Jirsa
> > On Nov 3, 2016, at 8:44 PM, Kelly Sommers <>
> wrote:
> >
> > I think the community needs some clarification about what's going on.
> > There's a really concerning shift going on and the story about why is
> > really blurry. I've heard all kinds of wild claims about what's going on.
> >
> > I've heard people say the ASF is pushing DataStax out because they don't
> > like how much control they have over Cassandra. I've heard other people
> say
> > DataStax and the ASF aren't getting along. I've heard one person who has
> > pull with a friend in the ASF complained about a feature not getting
> > considered (who also didn't go down the correct path of proposing) kicked
> > and screamed and started the ball rolling for control change.
> >
> > I don't know what's going on, and I doubt the truth is in any of those,
> the
> > truth is probably somewhere in between. As a former Cassandra MVP and
> > builder of some of the larger Cassandra clusters in the last 3 years I'm
> > concerned.
> >
> > I've been really happy with Jonathan and DataStax's role in the Cassandra
> > community. I think they have done a great job at investing time and money
> > towards the good interest in the project. I think it is unavoidable a
> > single company bootstraps large projects like this into popularity. It's
> > those companies investments who give the ability to grow diversity in
> later
> > stages. The committer list in my opinion is the most diverse its ever
> been,
> > hasn't it? Apple is a big player now.
> >
> > I don't think reducing DataStax's role for the sake of diversity is
> smart.
> > You grow diversity by opening up new opportunities for others. Grow the
> > committer list perhaps. Mentor new people to join that list. You don't
> kick
> > someone to the curb and hope things improve. You add.
> >
> > I may be way off on what I'm seeing but there's not much to go by but
> > gossip (ahaha :P) and some ASF meeting notes and DataStax blog posts.
> >
> > August 17th 2016 ASF changed the Apache Cassandra chair
> >
> 2016/board_minutes_2016_08_17.txt
> >
> > "The Board expressed continuing concern that the PMC was not acting
> > independently and that one company had undue influence over the project."
> >
> > August 19th 2016 Jonothan Ellis steps down as chair
> >
> >
> > November 2nd 2016 DataStax moves committers to DSE from Cassandra.
> >
> >
> > I'm really concerned if indeed the ASF is trying to change control and
> > diversity  of organizations by reducing DataStax's role. As I said
> earlier,
> > I've been really happy at the direction DataStax and Jonathan has taken
> the
> > project and I would much prefer see additional opportunities along side
> > theirs grow instead of subtracting. The ultimate question that's really
> > important is whether DataStax and Jonathan have been steering the project
> > in the right direction. If the answer is yes, then is there really
> anything
> > broken? Only if the answer is no should change happen, in my opinion.
> >
> > Can someone at the ASF please clarify what is going on? The ASF meeting
> > notes are very concerning.
> >
> > Thank you for listening,
> > Kelly Sommers

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