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Bending the Rules: Community over Code over Policy.


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My presentation at ApacheCon Europe 2014 showing how policy at the Apache Software Foundation can be adapted to the needs of the open-source projects it hosts, based on the Apache OpenOffice experience.

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Bending the Rules: Community over Code over Policy.

  1. 1. Budapest, Hungary, 17 November 2014 Bending the Rules Community over Code over Policy. Andrea Pescetti VP, Apache OpenOffice
  2. 2. A Newcomer's Perspective New people. New projects. A lot to learn.
  3. 3. My perspective: Relatively new at Apache 3 years as Apache committer #Andrea 2 years as Apache OpenOffice PMC Chair, 6 months as ASF Member
  4. 4. My background: Apache as a user only A lot of open source (with Nuvole, a 100% Drupal company). Previous experience with some foundations. #Andrea
  5. 5. OpenOffice: New at Apache too No experience with being part of a Foundation. Only a few Apache members in the post-graduation initial PMC. #Andrea
  6. 6. First, Wrong, Impression Apache seems more complex and rigid than it actually is.
  7. 7. #WrongImpression First (wrong) impression: a world of rules And a lot of strange terminology: podling, PPMC, IPMC, Incubator...
  8. 8. #WrongImpression First (wrong) impression: Rules over Community There is so much policy that it seems community comes second.
  9. 9. #WrongImpression First (wrong) impression: Apache is stuck in 1999 Somewhat antiquated look, “corporate” approach, manuals, 72 hours.
  10. 10. The Real World Dare to enter and you will see it's much better.
  11. 11. #TheRealWorld Enter the Matrix at Apache: Welcome to the real word “There's a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path.”
  12. 12. Policy is at the service of projects, not the opposite. When policy gets in the way, it is not serving its purpose. The community must win. #TheRealWorld
  13. 13. #TheRealWorld Projects are all different and largely independent Policy cannot be the same for all: guidelines are the same, reality varies.
  14. 14. We shouldn't dodge our rules #TheRealWorld We should understand them and interpret them for the new situations.
  15. 15. Examples from OpenOffice Policy that needed to be adapted or clarified.
  16. 16. Binary downloads New and too big for Apache, vital for OpenOffice. Solved with help from SourceForge. #Examples
  17. 17. #Examples GPL Dictionaries provided as bundled extensions Apache: “Category X” and forbidden. OpenOffice: unnecessary in sources, but very useful to users.
  18. 18. Empowering non-committers #Examples Trust localization volunteers; most new committers come from there. Non-committers in Pootle outnumber committers from other projects.
  19. 19. Exposing Development builds OpenOffice QA is not done by developers. Need visibility on other lists and on the web site. #Examples
  20. 20. Committers and PMC members #Examples We celebrate a new committer more than a new PMC member.
  21. 21. Travel fund We can't rely on TAC since it is not inclusive enough. Transitional earmarked fund with pre-Apache resources. #Examples
  22. 22. Not-so-lazy consensus The press won't wait 72 hours. We either answer or delegate within 24 hours. #Examples
  23. 23. Code signing: a need largely started with OpenOffice Just a “nice to have” for Apache in earlier times. Now a serious investment being implemented with Infra. #Examples
  24. 24. Incubator podlings must both learn and teach Incubation is not where the ASF teaches projects HOW it does things. It is where the ASF teaches projects WHY it does things. #Examples
  25. 25. Advice for the future Recommended ways for policy discussions.
  26. 26. Ask people who drafted the policy #Advice They will be available to explain what it means, rather than what it says.
  27. 27. Choose to improve the policy, not to accept it #Advice Your project has peculiarities that others don't; Apache will be enriched.
  28. 28. Interpret policy rather than rewriting it Understand what it means and the principles behind it. #Advice
  29. 29. One issue at a time, with those who do the work #Advice Focused discussion with Infra (or whoever relevant), on concrete issues.
  30. 30. Realize that there is no spoon #Advice Apache is much more flexible than it seems, and it's ready to improve. Rules can be bent if this means a better community and better code.
  31. 31. Thanks! Andrea Pescetti @pescetti The Apache logo and its variants are a trademark of the Apache Software Foundation. Images from “The Matrix” are copyright © 1999 Warner Bros.