Has Apache lost its way?

By Serdar Yegulalp, InfoWorld |  Open Source

Four months after OpenOffice.org changed hands, the ASF published a statement to quell fears about the future of the project and to forestall some criticism already thrown its way. The statement claimed "destructive statements have been published by both members of the greater FOSS community and former contributors to the original OpenOffice.org product, suggesting that the project has failed during the 18 weeks since its acceptance into the Apache Incubator. We understand that stakeholders of a project with a 10+-year history -- be they former product managers or casual users -- may be unfamiliar with the Apache Way and question its methods." Apache went on to cite the Subversion and SpamAssassin projects as "proof that the Apache Way works."

Some criticism might have been due to the way the change in ownership of OpenOffice.org apparently delayed the software's release schedule. A beta of version 3.4 had been offered in April 2011, but the full-blown 3.4 release wouldn't come out until May of the following year. (Version 4.0, with major code contributions from IBM, was released in July 2013.)

Part of the delay was due to relicensing the suite under the Apache license, a time-consuming process. But some of it was more directly attributable to OpenOffice.org, regardless of who sponsors it, having a release-when-ready approach rather than dropping new versions on any fixed schedule. By contrast, the OpenOffice.org sister project, LibreOffice, drops new releases every six months under the LGPL.

Another recent issue involved the retirement of one of the Foundation's smaller software projects, the Apache C++ Standard Library project. Active since 2005, this project had seen its last revision in mid-2008. The chair for the project, Jim Jagielski, stepped down at the end of May 2013; in July, the ASF board voted to retire the project to the Apache Attic, a space "to provide process and solutions to make it clear when an Apache project has reached its end of life."

This move inspired the ire of one of the project's other contributors, Christian Bergström, who had previously volunteered to take over as project chair. He derided the board's choice as "a stupid decision made by bureaucrats" and claimed, "The project still has potential and the lack of vision and belief from the 'board' that those interested could actually achieve it -- it's flat out disappointing." (Bergström declined to comment for this article.)


Originally published on InfoWorld |  Click here to read the original story.
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