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Oracle's NetBeans Headed to The Apache Software Foundation

By Sean Michael Kerner   |    September 13, 2016

Oracle's open-source NetBeans IDE could become the next former Sun Microsystems project to land at the Apache Software Foundation (ASF).  NetBeans has long been a rivalNetBeans to the open-source Eclipse IDE and to Oracle's credit, they have kept the project alive since acquiring it as part of the Sun acquisition in 2010.

Oracle has brought others open-source efforts to the ASF in recent years, including OpenOffice. Oracle has also brought the open-source Hudson effort to the Eclipse Foundation, though it makes no sense for NetBeans to go there (given that it's a rival..), so it makes sense to choose the ASF for NetBeans.

"The role of open source technologies has evolved tremendously in the 18 years since the NetBeans Governance model was first established and Oracle wants to ensure that the project continues its success going forward," a NetBeans.org post explains. "In order to support that success, Oracle is relinquishing its control of NetBeans and introducing it to Apache's widely accepted governance model, which will provide new opportunities to the NetBeans community and stimulate further code contributions. "

NetBeans has approximately 1.5 million users so it's not a small community that is moving either. The ASF knows how to foster communities and has a culture of developer meritocracy that will likely work really well for NetBeans.

Currently the NetBeans project is being proposed for incubation status with the ASF and i see no reason why it won't be accepted.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist

Rumors of OpenOffice Demise Exaggerated

By Sean Michael Kerner   |    September 09, 2016

Contrary to what you may have read elsewhere, OpenOffice (OpenOffice.org/ OOo) is not dead and it's not dying either.

To be fair, OpenOffice no longer is the default open-source office suite for the mainstreamApache OpenOffice Linux distributions, as LibreOffice has taken that mantle. That said, OpenOffice still has users and more important it still has developers and volunteers that will not let it die.

LibreOffice spun out from OpenOffice in the aftermath of the Oracle/Sun acquisition. It was one of many projects including Hudson/Jenkins and MySQL/MariaDB that got forked. To the best my knowledge while all those forks have strong user bases and have become the default tools in their respective domains - the original projects persist.

That's the magic of open-source - just because a project is forked, doesn't mean the original project must die.

In the case of OpenOffice, I personally strongly suspect that it is spite and pride (which are powerful ingredients) that keep volunteers motivated and the project alive. After all these years there is still a fair degree of animosity between the forked Sun projects and the original projects.

With Apache, which is where OpenOffice is hosted, there is also a unique process in open-source for dealing with abandoned projects - called the Apache Attic. There was not and there still has not - been a vote to put OpenOffice in the Attic - which is where dead projects go. I've written about dead Apache project before - including Apache Wookie. That's a project that just didn't have the traction - and perhaps more importantly the develper passion to keep it going.

OpenOffice isn't in Apache Attic because those that continue to support it refuse to let it go there. I have little doubt that despite - or perhaps in spite - of the fact that LibreOffice has a larger market, mind and developer share that OpenOffice will persist for years yet to come.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist

OpenStack Summit in Barcelona will be Last Design Summit

By Sean Michael Kerner   |    September 06, 2016

Since my first OpenStack Summit back in San Diego in 2012, there has been one unique defining characteristic that made the event different than any other in the technology world - the event was where developers and users all gathered in the same place.

The OpenStack Summit approach included the Design Summit, bringing in the people actually building OpenStack - not just those that sell it. openstack

But as it turns out the model wasn't working for developers (though it worked well for this journalist..), and the upcoming OpenStack Barcelona event will be the last 'classic' Summit. Starting in 2017, the Design Summit will be divided out into two events - the general forum and then a more-developer focused event called the Project Teams Gathering. My initial fear about the bifurcation of the OpenStack Summit model is that the developers wouldn't be needed at the event. As such, without developers, OpenStack Summit could potentially slide down the same path as say VMworld and just became a showcase for vendors to sell their products.

Thankfully, the OpenStack Foundation and its leadership understand what makes the Summit special and they aren't booting developers.

"Upstream developers are still very much needed at the main Summit," an FAQ on the new system explains. "The Summit is (and always was) where the feedback loop happens. All project teams need to be represented there, to engage in planning, collect the feedback on their project, participate in cross-community discussions, reach out to new people and onboard new developers. "

The Project Team Gathering piece to me really just looks like it will slot into what had previously been known ad the mid-cycle design sprint. But here's the catch, the whole schedule and model for when OpenStack releases and Summits occur is changing too.

In the past, an OpenStack Summit occurred a few weeks after a release, but that's not going to be the case moving forward.

"So we're making adjustments to create time between the OpenStack Conference and the release of the software.," the OpenStack PTG page explains. "Barcelona (October 2016) will be the last time the software is released, the conference is held, and the new version is planned all in the same window. Going forward, the releases will happen months before each summit. "

Functionally what this means is there will now be time in between an OpenStack release and the time, the next release's development starts.

This in my view is a classic project management style, but fundamentally wrong when it comes to the model of development pioneered by the Linux kernel. With the Linux kernel. development is always happening in a robust agile while. This added new period to gather requirements, define cross project themes is an interesting idea but it will slow down the process significantly and is anti-thetical to the rapid pace of innovation that the open-source model allows.. Yes this is a more organized traditional project management approach, but i have no doubt that the initial hardship of moving to the new model will be painful to watch.

No open-source project has ever navigated a significant development shift easily and every project hits a development plateau it needs to overcome. Time will tell if the new OpenStack approach will be the right one to accelerate OpenStack for the future - or if it will slow it down such that forks (or another more agile effort) destroy it.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist