Thursday, May 5, 2011

Will Oracle's Hudson Karma follow the project to Eclipse?

To borrow & adapt a line from the Supreme Court, "You know Karma when you see it".

Clearly, the Hudson project has had bad Karma hanging over it due to Oracle's moves that forced the re-creation of the project as Jenkins - The idea of forcing most of the community out did not sit well with people, and the resulting fast adoption of Jenkins as the default best open source CI offering in the market followed. See KK's slides for the rapid adoption of Jenkins –

What is surprising to me is that Eclipse has seemingly backed the proposal already (see comments from the Eclipse Foundation leads Mike Milinkovich and Ian Skerrett in the threads quoted below defending the proposal and trying to educate others on open source).

It surprises me on two levels. First, Eclipse has a deservedly sterling reputation. Maybe Karma does not transfer, but it seems to me that there is a risk to this reputation.

Second, given the reputation Eclipse has as a community builder, I would have expected some amount of communication and collaboration with the original Hudson community and the project creator, Kohsuke Kawaguchi. While it can be argued that Hudson and Jenkins are simply separate open source projects now with different communities, the Tweets and posts and blogs have been full of people wishing for the good old days of a single project. Perhaps Eclipse thought no notice beforehand and having behind the scenes discussions between companies for the past couple of months without involving anyone from the Jenkins community was the proper way of reaching out to the Jenkins community. Or maybe various corporate interests just want to try to have the Hudson project be resuscitated and brought back to life to compete with Jenkins.

The first day showed that the bad Karma may indeed follow the project into Eclipse. Here are a sampling of quotes:

"I'm just a Hudson and Jenkins user, but I did get the impression that Oracle did a hostile takeover from the original Hudson community. It left a negative impression.
I must admit that this move on Eclipse Foundation's behalf put EF in a negative light."

"Our team decided a month ago to switch to Jenkins as it was clear that Jenkins had more energy and support, and it was unclear where Hudson would end up."

"For me as an outsider the Hudson/Jenkins project is the baby of KK. I know a lot of other people have been involved in the project(s) but at the end of day it is KK and his incredible skills that drive the whole thing. What would Linux be without Linus or Python without Guido? Whatever will happen I will follow Jenkins and KK. It is not because of some irrational worship. It is about trust. I trust KK as I trust PJ of Groklaw, Linus Torvalds and many other in the opens source world. But I do not trust Oracle."

"From the owner change of Hudson to the Jenkins fork, some people say, it was a "heavy communication misfire" on both sides. I can't see that. Oracle clearly played hardball on the Trademark and what will go where and when. It backfired, and when lots of customers and devs left, there is was a 'Plan B': the move to Eclipse."

"Obviously, Oracle is hoping that there are many paths for success; they have already tried one with Hudson and failed, so they have no choice but to keep looking… However, dismissing the original community that was built around Hudson, is not likely to help them attain that goal."

"Mik: When you write “IP-clean, inviting, API-robust and long-lived” do you mean by that Jenkins is not IP-clean, not inviting, not API-robust and short lived?
You also write about meritocracy. Did you see the number of commits in the project and who made them? This is not an open source drama. It is about companies, or organizations (acting for companies) trying to gain ownership of something which is not theirs."

"What I'm questioning is what is Eclipse getting out of this?"

"the only meaningful reason to have Hudson at Eclipse is that this move will unity the Hudson/Jenkins community"

"Ha, what happened? Sonatype not doing the job well enough?"

"So nothing much has changed then except that are using the eclipse foundation as a white wash? So if the jenkins people came back their treatment would be different somehow?"

"Face it. Oracle is not Sun, does not want to be and never will be. They have proven this with so many very public examples in such a short amount of time that calling it a "conspiracy" insults us and makes you out to be a fool."

"Is this proposal basically about the trademark and not so much about the code or the community?"

"I don't understand what Eclipse Foundation is getting.
Wouldn't it be the similar to, say for example, any large company forking Jenkins, apply for Jenkins trademark, screw the rest of Jenkins community, then put some employees working on it, then propose to donate the project to Eclipse Foundation?"

"If there's such a thing as donating Hudson, surely it has to involve the original Hudson community."

"It's ironic Oracle can propose to donate something that's 90%+ coded by someone else, just because Oracle has the trademark."

"the only meaningful reason to have Hudson at Eclipse is that this move will unity the Hudson/Jenkins community"


Ian Skerrett said...

Thank you for the compliments about the Eclipse Foundation. Bad karma can certainly follow a project, even Eclipse projects. We in fact kill projects that are not successful. For me that is the sign of a healthy community.

A Hudson project at Eclipse will have to work hard to prove itself and foster a community. Typically project that produce rock-solid, great technology are the projects that are successful at Eclipse. The Hudson project will have to do the same.

As for my endorsement of the proposal, ya I think it is pretty cool for Eclipse. I do believe some people, maybe including you, don't really understand how Eclipse works, hence my trying to educate. There are many ways to do open source and Eclipse is just one way.

As for the negative reactions, I appreciate there has been a lot of bad blood in this community. I wonder if we can move beyond it? One thing I do hope is the projects can focus on building great technology.

mcculls said...

It's a bit of a chicken-and-egg scenario since you need some sort of proposal first so everyone can comment on it. Perhaps this should be called the "pre-proposal" stage, because this is where a lot of the proposal details are actually fleshed out.

Now's the time for communication and collaboration - of course anyone can submit a counter-proposal and related proposals can end up merged together, nothing has been cast in stone.

If there was some way to combine efforts at Eclipse then I personally would be very happy to see that, but I totally understand that the Eclipse process isn't to everyone's taste.

[Disclaimer: I work at Sonatype and work on Hudson]

Mik Kersten said...

Bob, There are 11000 words worth of comments on my blog post, from which you extracted the most negative and one-sided. I understand that you are trying to represent the pain felt by the Jenkins community and there is pain. But the pain is not limited to those people siding with Jenkins. I am not negative on Jenkins now and have never been. But I do think it is important to find a way forward where there can be a de facto standard open source CI tool out there that supports multi-vendor collaboration in its governance model, and in my opinion, ignoring what else is being said on my blog and the other news sources does not help Jenkins get there.

Bob Bickel said...

@Mik - not sure why Jenkins is not a good open source community. You and everyone else are welcome to join. Regular governance meetings that all can attend. And you can see that we are close to A neutral body ownership being finalized. Join the fun people!