[OpenAFS] An open letter from the OpenAFS Council of Elders
Wed, 7 May 2008 08:28:17 +0200
I can't but agree completely about this transition. I seek to hear =20
more about this at the workshop!
On May 6, 2008, at 8:08pm, Derrick J Brashear wrote:
> Since OpenAFS began its life as an open source project seven and a =20
> half years ago, the OpenAFS community has made great strides at =20
> advancing the capabilities of the product while improving its =20
> stability and maintaining backwards-compatibility for sites with =20
> existing deployments.
> Early in the life of the project, an administrative structure with =20
> little to no overhead was appropriate as it needed to prove its =20
> viability and longevity. There were a broad range of institutions =20
> that formerly had IBM AFS source code licenses waiting in the wings =20=
> to contribute years of internal extensions and many others that had =20=
> been waiting for an opportunity to work on long-desired projects.
> During this time much has been accomplished. There has been a broad =20=
> transition from IBM supported AFS cells to OpenAFS. Support has =20
> been added for several new platforms while being strengthed on =20
> others. The community has adapted OpenAFS to the modern Internet =20
> and reduced the help desk support costs for Microsoft Windows, MacOS =20=
> X and Linux clients.
> The OpenAFS community has matured. Several of the organizations =20
> that founded OpenAFS have left us but have been replaced by hundreds =20=
> of others. Since the creation of the OpenAFS repository there have =20
> been 9450 commits from 270 contributors. The number of commits have =20=
> almost doubled on an annual basis during that time period. Traffic =20
> on the openafs-provided general mailing list has on average tripled =20=
> from under a hundred messages per month to close to 300; At the same =20=
> time, traffic on the developer list has done almost exactly the =20
> reverse as many of the early smaller issues have been resolved. A =20
> core of around 30 contributors to the developer list and an average =20=
> of 75 unique posters per month on the general information list =20
> exchange information and ideas. Commercial support is now available =20=
> from three independent corporations. Annual AFS conferences are now =20=
> conducted on both sides of the Atlantic.
> Yet with all of this growth, the OpenAFS community has been unable =20
> to capitalize on a number of opportunities which have come our way =20
> due to the structure of the organization. Efforts at raising =20
> resources through an unincorporated association of volunteers has =20
> failed. Entering into agreements and signing contracts with third =20
> parties on behalf of OpenAFS has proven impossible.
> Over the last four years much of the serious progress has been =20
> individually funded by a small set of organizations in order to =20
> satisfy their own needs. This work has then been contributed to the =20=
> OpenAFS repository to ensure that the functionality is present in =20
> future releases, is tested by a broader community, and as a result =20
> reduces the cost of on-going maintenance. These improvements have =20
> proven extremely valuable to many members of the community.
> However this development model comes at a cost. It is impossible =20
> for OpenAFS to determine its own destiny. The Gatekeepers are =20
> unable to define a road map and achieve predictable progress because =20=
> they do not control the resources. As the average size and =20
> complexity of the unimplemented projects increase, the number of =20
> organizations capable of funding the projects is continuously =20
> reduced. Attempts at coordinating joint ventures among =20
> organizations have failed due to political and logistical issues.
> The Elders feel we are at a critical juncture in the life of the =20
> project, where steps need to be taken to ensure further work =20
> continues to be undertaken to meet the long term needs of the =20
> OpenAFS community. Underscoring this point, OpenAFS is for the first =20=
> time participating in the Google Summer of Code, providing an =20
> opportunity for new contributors to hone their skills while =20
> developing useful and needed additions to the OpenAFS product suite. =20=
> OpenAFS has lined up a group of eager, willing and able mentors to =20
> aid the students in their ventures, and to aid in further work, at =20
> the conclusion of the Summer Google would like to make a small grant =20=
> to OpenAFS.
> Many of you will join us at the 2008 AFS and Kerberos Best Practices =20=
> Workshop. The Workshop is funded by the OpenAFS Elders and proceeds =20=
> are used to fund further development and infrastructure expenses. =20
> The logistics of the workshop are unnecessarily challenging due to =20
> the lack of a legal OpenAFS entity and the desire for the Elders' =20
> money to be maintained by a tax-exempt charitable organization =20
> complying with Section 501(c)3 of the United States Internal Revenue =20=
> There are intellectual property issues as well. OpenAFS is a brand =20=
> that is currently unprotected by trademark. Organizations that wish =20=
> to donate code and documentation to OpenAFS but do not wish to hold =20=
> onto the copyright have been forced to negotiate with third parties =20=
> to take responsibility on their behalf.
> To make best use of resources potentially at our disposal the Elders =20=
> believe it is time to create a legal not-for-profit entity that will =20=
> accept and manage grants, have the authority to enter into =20
> contracts, and provide protection for the intellectual property that =20=
> belongs to the OpenAFS community. This organization's mission will =20=
> be to grow the product and perform advocacy and education for the =20
> user community.
> To that end, the OpenAFS Council of Elders has proposed the =20
> incorporation of a not-for-profit foundation to perform tasks =20
> necessary to sustain and further the development of the OpenAFS =20
> product and user community.
> We would like your feedback on this proposal, and suggest community =20=
> discourse on the email@example.com mailing list. You are also =20=
> welcome to bring specific concerns to the attention of the Elders =20
> via the firstname.lastname@example.org mailing list.
> Thank you,
> Derrick Brashear and Jeffrey Altman
> for the OpenAFS Council of Elders
> OpenAFS-info mailing list
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