Yesterday Oracle announced they have proposed to make Hudson an Eclipse project. Given the past history of the Hudson/Jenkins controversy, this was pretty big news. There has been a fair bit of press coverage and reaction from the community. I’d recommend reading Mik Kersten’s blog post about Tasktop’s participation in Hudson, KK’s blog post as a reaction from the Jenkins community and the Infoworld article for more reaction from the Jenkin’s leaders.
If I were to summarize the reaction, most people were first surprised by the announcement and then split into two groups:
- First group basically thinks the idea is too late, Oracle is dumping another open source project, why didn’t Oracle do this before the Jenkins fork, Oracle is bad/evil, etc.
- Second group basically viewed this as a good move and see hope this might resolve the Jenkins/Hudson fork.
Some interesting questions have been raised, a number from people that might be new to the Eclipse community. Therefore, I thought I would try to answer some of the more common questions.
1. Why weren’t the Jenkins people invited or included in the announcement?
I’d like to clearly state that anyone, including people in the Jenkins community, are invited to participate in the process of creating Hudson as an Eclipse project. What a number of people don’t realize is that this is just the beginning of the project creation process. The proposal is intended to start these discussions and discover who is interested in participating; this includes the people in the Jenkins community. No one should feel unwelcome.
2. Why didn’t Oracle do this earlier, to avoid the Jenkins fork.
I certainly can’t speak for Oracle but I do know big companies tend to move a lot slower than the typical open source community. The speed of open source decision making is one thing I find incredibly refreshing. Large companies have lots of people/groups (ie lawyers) that just don’t growk open source or move very fast. I remember hearing Sam Ramji talk about his experiences at Microsoft. I paraphrase but one thing he wished he had done earlier was to convince MS to bring in some open source literate lawyer. Unfortunately Oracle, and most big companies, just don’t move that fast.
3. Is this just another plan B by Oracle to dump an open source project, like OpenOffice?
When I first heard that Oracle was planning to propose Hudson at Eclipse, my immediate question was ‘what is their commitment to future development’. Oracle’s handling of OpenOffice has been pretty bad. Their announcement and lack of clarity is NOT how any organization should interact with an open source community.
However, I would compare that to Oracle’s announcement for Hudson. Ted Farrell from Oracle has been very public in press interviews, answering blog post comments, etc. Oracle has named committers proposed for the project. This is a very different approach from Oracle and I believe they are committed to the long-term success of Hudson at Eclipse.
As a point of interest, Oracle already leads a number of projects at Eclipse, so they have a proven track record of successful Eclipse projects.
4. Will this proposal lead to Jenkins and Hudson coming back together?
I have a great amount of respect for KK and the people behind the Jenkins community. Anyone who had created a technology base that is widely adopted, with a passionate community, has accomplished a lot more than most people in the tech industry. Creating technology and communities is hard work, so I respect any individual that has been able to do so.
That being said, I think it would be insulting to KK and the Jenkins community to assume they will pack-up and join an Eclipse project. These guys have accomplished a lot, so assuming they would walk away from it seems to be a bit of a stretch. [NOTE: As I said previously they are certainly welcome.]
At the same time, Oracle and others see value in moving the Hudson project under the governance of the Eclipse Foundation. Obviously, I think this is great for Hudson, Eclipse and Oracle. I believe the Eclipse Foundation has the best model for doing collaborative oepn source development that leads to successful commercial and enterprise adoption.
No one likes to see communities split/fork in open source. It is never pleasant and always disruptive. However, forking is a key right for open source projects. If you don’t like a community, you are free to go start a new one. Not everyone likes the Eclipse Foundation processes and we don’t expect all open source to be done at Eclipse.
I’d love to think this proposal will bring together the communities. However, I think we have two different groups that have two different approaches to open source development. Based on the initial reaction from KK and others, it would seem they are satisfied with the Jenkins approach. That is okay! Just like it is okay for Oracle and others to use the Eclipse approach.
One thing I do hope, is that we can move beyond the emotional history of the Hudson/Jenkins split. It is the past, lets move forward and focus on building kick-ass technology that thrill our users.