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From Bernd Fondermann <bf_...@brainlounge.de>
Subject Re: Project status and perception
Date Tue, 12 May 2009 14:28:05 GMT
A. Rothman wrote:
> 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.

There are people using current TRUNK, as Robert states in a separate
reply on this thread. Some do because of the Spring-based deployment.

In general, I full-heartedly agree with you: The average mailmaster does
not test trunk.

> 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.


"Contribution" covers everything from installing, running and reporting
test results to bug reports, documentation patches, code patches.

Today I contributed a patch to another Apache project I never
contributed to before. The patch was utterly trivial: One word changed
in a toString() method. It was created in less than 5 minutes. The patch
was applied within less than 10 minutes!

What I want to say by this is: It doesn't take much to make a difference
on an open source project. The borders between user, contributor and
committer are floating.

I can understand why people are frustrated. I am, too.
It's because something has changed within the last couple of month:
Three committers who were heavily using James on a daily basis moved on.
They were first hand testers of TRUNK.

Instead, at the moment, TRUNK is largely untested. So nobody knows
exactly how good it really is (or they don't report here).

So if the community asks for a milestone release, we all must be aware
of the fact that we then need to do actual testing on the released
software. Otherwise, releasing a milestone serves no real purpose. So
others need to jump in and test.

> 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 :-)

Thanks for your suggestions. And you are right: Technically, a release
is not a complicated thing to do. Actually every developer should be
able to help out. If nobody does, 3 years can actually become a very
short time.


> -Amichai
> 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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