Marc responds

Posted by Jim Jagielski on Tuesday, November 27. 2007 in ASF

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Marc responded to my blog entry. Although it appears that despite my (tongue-in-cheek) suggestion, the ASF will not be receiving an ASF sponsorship check from him anytime soon, Marc does make a few comments which I feel need to be addressed (and one "comment" which I won't even honor with so much as another word). His 4 main points appear to be: (1) How can people claim to speak for the "community" when that is such a nebulous term; (2) that the concept of "community over code" is a mistake (at least, this is my interpretation of some of Marc's post, an interpretation shared by others; (3) that the ASF has some sort of historical hostility to Java and (4) that the BSD-type license is wrong, or, at least, has not proven to be a viable license. Items 2 and 4 deserve a post of their own, so I won't bother addressing them here, but the remaining 2 are easy to clarify. First of all, the ASF does not claim to speak for "the" community but rather for "our" community. The entire Open Source community is more varied and beautiful than just a single interpretation of "community." In fact, I liken the FOSS community as an analog to nature itself; with different species and forms combining to create a rich tapestry. But certainly, continuing with the nature-analogy, one can speak for the "mammalian class" without claiming to speak for others as well. That is what the ASF does; it speaks for a class of the FOSS community that shares a core set of fundamentals, and, as such, has shown itself to be a very successful class. No more, no less. And finally, how anyone can look at the ASF of today and claim that there is some sort of "hostility" or "bias" towards Java is mind-boggling. In fact, I would claim that the ASF's involvement within the JCP and the JCP EC have done more to help Java that any other open source "community" out there. Why an organization which is "hostile" to a technology would go to such pains to ensure the continued viability and universality of that technology flies in the face of logic and common sense. Maybe this perceived "hostility" is due to the fact that, for the most part, ASF developers are self-thinkers, and realize that as great as Java is, it has warts; that as with all languages and technologies, it has advantages and disadvantages; that languages are tools and some tools are better for some tasks than others. I don't consider the fact that people who use Java also know (and use and love) Python, or Groovy, or Ruby or what-have-you as being "hostile" to Java at all. The fact that the ASF is language neutral, that "we" welcome codebases based on lots of languages is not hostility, it's openness.

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