Andrew Sayers andrew-ubuntu-devel at pileofstuff.org
Tue Dec 30 11:04:56 UTC 2008

As I mentioned at the start, my interest in this is rather indirect - I
don't expect to ever write OO.o code, and probably don't understand the
issues as well as people closer to the situation.  As such, I'm
evaluating the arguers more than the argument, and trying to work out
what sorts of things we should support as a community if and when those
in the know suggest them.

<snip - lots of people say "boo Sun", few say "yay Sun">
> Political argument.
> On that field, are you suggesting +1 for sun's side "This has happened
> before, it's not a disaster, it'll iron itself out;" or -1 for sun's
> side "this happens, but they are handling it particularly bad and
> digging their own grave"?

I'm not really taking a position on any specific argument here, I'm just
pointing out that whatever Sun says about specific complaints against
them, the lack of community members willing to give Sun more than
begrudging support speaks for itself.  To put it another way - although
I can't evaluate the many arguments about bad process, I can tell that
the system is producing bad output, so I know there exists a bug
/somewhere/ that needs fixing.

<snip - OO.o as the new XFree86>

It's worth remembering that XFree86 had to stagnate for years before the
majority of its core developers were fed up enough to jump, and even
then it took a sizeable straw (license change) to break that particular
camel's back.  Unless Sun drastically cuts the number of devs it has
working on OO.o, I don't see this as a viable option for many years.

I'm personally more taken by the Mozilla analogy.  The Mozilla project
never went away, it just got rebooted.  Spinning OO.o off into a
non-profit organisation would be one way that Sun could reboot OO.o
without forking, although I'm sure there are others.

<Snip - ask Sun to pull from Go-oo>

I wasn't clear about the details of what I meant by getting Sun to pull
changes from Go-oo.  Asking Sun to pull wouldn't necessarily mean
refusing to sign the JCA, just requiring Sun to convince each individual
developer to sign, and to get Sun to do the (apparently significant)
paperwork necessary to get patches accepted.  As a developer, I'd feel
much more enthused about the process if I got a letter from Sun with a
copy of the JCA, a plain English explanation, and a pre-paid return
envelope, rather than being told to print out a copy and fax it to Santa
Clara.  It might even benefit Sun, as they wouldn't be criticised so
much for failing to put developers on a new patch for months, when
they're all busy ironing bugs out for a new release.

I think we already agree on the most important point though - that this
is an example of a drastic action that can only be taken by a strong
Go-oo project.

<snip - applying gentle pressure on Sun to improve their process>
> It's kind of all-or-nothing; "pressure" comes in the form of arguing
> with someone, or publicly criticizing them.  Hints don't work.
> Stepping into that arena makes things rough, because you can't
> maintain good faith; and once you put your foot down on the "it's time
> to fork" or "this fork is simply better than the source" line, you
> can't backpedal, because the whole atmosphere changes.

You may be right, but I'm not yet convinced in an open source setting.
Kernel developers tend to be downright rude in public, laying out why
each others' ideas are stupid, why various distros have terrible
policies, and so on.  But things seem to work out fine there, so I don't
see why OO.o can't be the same.

	- Andrew

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