----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Craig R. McClanahan" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: "Jakarta General List" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>; "Harish
Krishnaswamy" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Cc: "Jakarta General List" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Sent: Thursday, December 18, 2003 10:26 PM
Subject: Re: Jakarta: Confederation or Single Project?

> Quoting Harish Krishnaswamy <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>:
> > Could someone please explain the motivation behind the creation of
> > and how it got to where
> > it is today? May be that would help answer some of the questions we
> >
> > -Harish
> >
> These comments are going to be (like anyone's would be) colored by my own
> personal experiences during the development of Jakarta -- including my
> ignorance of a lot of the details in subprojects that I'm not an active
> participant.  But it should give you a little feel for the history of the
> place.
> The gist of the creation of Jakarta was around three facts:
> * Apache wasn't an incorporated entity (this is about
>   four years ago now), but wanted to be -- and was
>   formally becoming the Apache Software Foundation.
> * Apache had a project to build a servlet container
>   (Apache JServ) at a website called "java.apache.org"
>   which created a trademark-use issue around "java".
>   (I was a committer on Apache JServ, which is how I
>   originally got involved in open source software.)
> * Sun wanted to contribute, and Apache wanted to accept,
>   the source code for the servlet and JSP implementation
>   called the "Java Servlet Development Kit", and later
>   published by Apache as Tomcat 3.0.
> Just as an item of slight historical interest, "Jakarta" was the name of
> conference room at Sun where a lot of the early discussions took place.
> An organizational framework to focus on developing "open source server
side Java
> stuff" was created to host these initiatives, and other related
subprojects got
> proposed and added to the mix.  As the number of Jakarta committers scaled
> the original 10 or so to where we are today (hundreds), the original
> has
> become, umm, somewhat stretched.
> Ironically, it didn't take long at all for the scope of that original
charter to
> get exceeded, because one of the little nuggets of code that was included
> the
> original Tomcat contribution was a pure-Java build tool (to replace
> called "Ant" ...
> As more and more subprojects were added, there were some inevitable cases
> overlapping scope, and overlapping implementations of the same ideas.  One
> the best things we've done (IMHO) was purposely creating a subproject
> (jakarta-commons) focused on making "small, focused, reusable" packages,
> encouraging the larger projects to use them.  Not only has this been
> within Jakarta -- there's been quite a lot of cross-fertilization among
the web
> app frameworks, for example -- it's also created a fairly rich library of
> funcational packages that are widely used elsewhere.  But one could really
> argue whether something like Commons Digester (originally designed as an
> easy-to-use tool to parse XML configuration files) really fit the Jakarta
> charter.
> Over time, there have been more than a few, err, "voluminous" discussions
> how to scale up Jakarta from an organizational perspective, and whether
> fundamental organizing principle was still the correct one.  Does a focus
> server side stuff exclude what could be some really interesting open
> projects?  Does a focus on Java make sense when just across the website
> are things like xml.apache.org that are focused on a technology, not on an
> implementation language?  Does it make sense to have "community" type
> that host individual software package projects at all?
> Coupled with these increasing concerns (at the ASF board level) about the
> ability of any oversight group (a responsibility delegated to PMCs in the
> organizational structure), several original Jakarta subprojects (or even
> sub-sub-projects in some cases) like Ant, Maven, and James decided to
> top level projects (TLPs) of their own -- this takes making a formal
> to the ASF Board that gets accepted, and the formation of a PMC for that
> project.  Those sorts of discussions continue to this day.
> Somewhat separately, but overlapping in time, it became clear that there
> to be a way to incorporate new developer communities (and in some cases
> existing codebases that were being contributed) into Apache.  The
> (if they weren't Apache committers already) needed to learn "the Apache
way" to
> do things.  The code (if any) needed to be vetted for appropriate
> agreements to protect both the ASF and those that rely on our code.  Thus,
> incubator project was created as a place for these things to happen.  It
> also actively evolving.
> <personal-view>
> To a large extent, the stresses that are felt as the ASF grows are
actually a
> result of our success, and should not be looked at as signs of failure.  I
> remember a statement from a consultant that one of my employers brought in
> along the way to deal with some important decisions when we had no
consensus at
> all:
>   "The absence of stress is death."
> So, here's to having some more stress!  :-)
> </personal-view>

+1 (non-binding :)

> Craig
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