Java Open Source

Did I join the ActiveMQ Developers list at a great time, or what

I joined the ActiveMQ Developers list to watch the sausage getting made. Maybe I just joined at a good time, or maybe it’s just always this entertaining…?

The background and the vote: Red Hat is donating HornetQ to the Apache Foundation. The ActiveMQ project management committee (“PMC”) needs to report to the board what they should name it and where they should house it. The community narrowly voted to rename it ActiveMQ Artemis instead of ActiveMQ Reactive (I thought reactive was a little confusing too).

The fight: a few of the developers suggested that HornetQ — I mean Artemis — should go to an incubation process first, but that turned out to not be the real issue. No, the real issue appears to be fears or paranoia concerns that the Fuse and Red Hat committers are controlling the code, the process, and effectively masterminding the ASF.

The way it looks is that Fuse/RH/(the Damarillo group), anyway you want to describe that faction is dead set on replacing the existing ActiveMQ with HornetQ (or whatever code name) in version 6 or 10. By keeping HornetQ under the ActiveMQ PMC influence its future will be heavily influenced by the already biased PMC and at the same time hide the lack of diversity in HornetQ. In the incubator, HornetQ will have the opportunity and freedom to grow in any direction and build a diverse community.

Then a response:

We’ve had lots folks from different companies agree with the direction that code contribution is going in. The fact that pin it on ‘Fuse/RH/(the Damarillo group)’ is very disingenuous and I think a poisonous position to take.

Then someone dropped words like evil, conspiracy, and even junta:

Which committer, specifically, could be brought into the PMC to try to counterbalance the alleged RH junta? I’m really discouraged by the insistence from a couple people that the only possible explanation of where we are now is an evil Winston/Fuse/RedHat conspiracy. I think it’s also just barely possible that after working all day people get tired. After providing unpaid all-waking-hours support for first jboss and then geronimo for many many years I sure did. This is not to say that there isn’t a strong need for more community involvement, but expecting the same people to do everything all the time is getting implausible.

Then getting HornetQ into the incubater became a matter of sacrificing oneself to protect Apache values:

Why not be open about it, advocate for it, work for it and build consensus and acceptance instead of putting everybody in front of a ‘take it or leave it’ choice. That’s what rubbed me the wrong way. That’s really not like the ASF I know. That’s why I made a conscious decision to be vocal about it and, in my mind, do my best to protect this community. This may cost me some personal relations, with people like you who are really extremely intelligent and
still do respect

Remember the Junta / Fuse / conspiracy stuff? Here’s one response from one of the alleged but as yet unindicted co-conspirators:

You are the second person to allege that I am acting with secret instructions and communications on this. I demand a pubic apology, immediately. I have done no such thing, all my communications with anyone about this issue have been on this list, and in reply to others raising similar issue on the pmc list. This is disgusting.

Who knew enterprise software could be so… dramatic.

UPDATE: the next morning, my IRC lit up with more conversation from some of the core ActiveMQ folks about yesterday’s discussions. Generally, they seem to think they discussions are good because they indicate people care passionately about ActiveMQ. And then this article appeared:

Ultimately, open source isn’t about code. It’s about community, and as Bert Hubert suggests, “community is the best predictor of the future of a project.” That community isn’t fostered by jerk project leads or corporate overlords pretending to be friendly foundations. It’s the heart of today’s biggest challenges in open source — as it was in the last decade.

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