Geir Magnusson Jr. wrote:
I'd say it the other way around. The ASF is a collection of communities that create and maintain codebases. To obtain infrastructure support and some legal protection, these communities donate the copyright of its software and ownership of its brand to the Foundation. In order to provide legal protection and watchdog its copyright, the board assigns a vice president to oversee the project. A committee is also convened to assist the VP with oversight.

I think this is mostly right, and I say "mostly" because it's legally precise, but in practice, the community tends to be there first, rather
than be convened later,

Yes, that's what it says. A collection of communities that ... *not* a collection of codebases.


A very subtle concept is that the ASF doesn't actually "own" the codebase. The codebase belongs to its community, and under the Apache License, that community can always "vote with its feet". Since it is the community that gives the software its value (by using and maintaining it), there is an Apache belief that the community is the true owner of the codebase. The ASF just owns the brand and yesterday's copyright.

I believe that this isn't right - the ASF does own the codebase via the copyright, and the codebase is licensed at no cost to any entity that is willing to agree to the terms of the license. That entity, community or otherwise, cannot remove that license or change it unilaterally.

It owns a static image of the codebase, but from an Apache perspective, a codebase is a living, growing thing with a lifecycle that can endure for decades.

The point is that without a community, even if it is a stable community
of users helping users, the codebase has no value, and there is nothing *worth* owing.

The board may sometimes disagree with a dysfunctional PMC, for the good
of the community, but I don't believe the board would ever deliberately
act against the community.

The point of the exercise is to create communities around codebases,
which means the community always comes first. (Else, there is no reason
to have the codebase to begin with.)

The essential difference between SourceForge and Apache is that
SourceForge is just about sharing code. Apache is about building
communities around the code we share.

The reason a true community (in the Apache sense of the word) has never
coalesced around Jakarta is that the subprojects were too coarsely
grained to share code. So, we invented the Commons.

The difference between Jakarta and Jakarta Commons is that the Commons
has codebases that are *designed* to be shared with a community of
developers and users.

The truly marvelous thing about Jakarta Commons is that its communities transcend Jakarta. Everywhere I go in open-source land these
days, I find other projects importing packages from the Commons. Thus, our license and style of management is exposed, and fresh blood is drawn into the Apache community, so that the cycle of life can continue.


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