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 <jji...@gmail.com> 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 <kell.somm...@gmail.com> > 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 > > https://www.apache.org/foundation/records/minutes/ > 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 > > http://www.datastax.com/2016/08/a-look-back-a-look-forward > > > > November 2nd 2016 DataStax moves committers to DSE from Cassandra. > > http://www.datastax.com/2016/11/serving-customers-serving-the-community > > > > 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 >