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From "A. Rothman" <amich...@amichais.net>
Subject Re: Project status and perception
Date Tue, 12 May 2009 10:36:47 GMT

I think JAMES is currently in a deadlock of sorts regarding 
contributors. My base assumptions are -

1. The only usable version of JAMES at the moment is 2.x. Other than 
core developers, very few users will checkout trunk on some random day 
and use that as a production system. 3.x is off-limits for normal users, 
at least until there's some milestone release they can depend on.

2. No one is going to contribute to 2.x. As everyone here seems to agree 
- while it may be battle-worn (in the good stable sense), it is a 
dead-end development-wise, and not even the core developers want to mess 
with it, for all the reasons we stated earlier. It's abandoned.

3. Contributors contribute to projects they use. As a consequence of 
being a user, they stumble upon bugs and enhancements, hopefully report 
them, and even more hopefully contribute solutions themselves. If they 
don't use a project, the chances of contributing as an academic exercise 
is slim.

 From these 3 assumptions, the potential contributor's deadlock is 
evident  - he will be willing/able to contribute only to 3.x, he will be 
willing/able to actually use in his project/production systems only a 
2.x, and since it's unlikely that he'll develop for a product he doesn't 
use, he thus he won't contribute at all, and keep bitchin' on 2.x being 
dead and 3.x not getting anywhere, because no one else will either. 
While this is a generalization, I think it does apply to many if not 
most potential contributors.

How do u break this deadlock? In my opinion - by making a 3.x release. 
Even a Beta. It can get early adopters to adopt, send the message that 
it's becoming ready for the average user, and start the 
use-interact-contribute cycle that's necessary for the project to get 
back on track.

What should be included in such a release? what do users want? As a 
start, I'd say a Java mail server. That's what users search for when 
they find JAMES. SMTP/POP3 and a DB backend. No fancy bells and whistles 
just yet. A bare-bones replacement for 2.x. And as can be seen from some 
other Java mail server projects mentioned here or googled, that's 
shouldn't become a 3-year project, but a rather modest goal for a 
handful of core developers. One only needs the very basics that will 
bring 3.x into the spotlight as an alternative to 2.x, and after things 
get into motion it can take off to many creative directions.

That's my take on it, anyway :-)


Robert Burrell Donkin wrote:

> On Sun, May 10, 2009 at 4:38 PM, BJ <bj_online@free-man.com> wrote:
>> Though I agree about the feeling of livelness, I also know that all
>> apache projects are community based.
>> so the way to get things cleaned up is roll up your sleeves and jump in
>> offer to do the clean up and make it fresh.
>> My point of view is James is a very powerful application. I have
>> integrated it into other Apache projects.
>> Though I have been on a sort of leave from contributing, I am just
>> getting back into the grove.
>> Hope you see you and others join in.
> cool :-)
> i'm very willing and able to help contributors get started. maybe
> we'll be able to pull out some code into libraries to make it easier
> to learn.
> - robert
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