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Apache Software Foundation reels from software development problems laid bare

Antony Savvas | Nov. 24, 2014
Does not rule out using proprietary tools to solve some of its problems.

Asked by one delegate how the ASF squared using propietary non-open source tools to complete some ASF projects, Nalley replied: "The ideological me may want to only use open source tools, but sometimes we have to use the best tools to support the projects - we can't throw out the baby with the bath water."

Nalley added: "I am perfectly happy to admit we will not make everyone happy."

The point made about proprietary software use was like a lit touch paper for the audience, who one after another listed a litany of shortcomings: the ASF password management was over-complicated with multiple passwords having to be used, the ASF was backing unworkable tools or services to support projects, and the ASF was not keeping contributors up to date with project progress, for instance.

Nalley responded: "We're sluggish to communicate, it used to be more implicit when we were smaller, I don't know how we're going to solve it. When we were a smaller organisation there was always someone there to deal with specific issues."

He said the ASF now wanted to move to a situation where it could make decisions that "were good for three to five years". He said the ASF therefore wanted input to "decide where the ASF is going".

On the fallout from the keynote, Giles Sirett, who is involved in the ASF CloudStack project, and who is also CEO of CloudStack integrator ShapeBlue, said: "We are not a trade show, you get the warts and all here as we are an open conference."

He said: "The founding ethos of the ASF is to give away software for the greater good. The ASF hasn't done anything wrong, but the world has moved on as people realise they can make money out of open source software.

"Who knows, the ASF may need to pay for an infrastructure team and just get on with it? But all the ASF does at the moment is provide a framework and the governance, and its turnover is only $1m a year."


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