Oracle's open source missteps continue with Hudson project

Insisting that open source Hudson project not use GitHub, against developer wishes, won't help Oracle's credibility

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When Hudson developers questioned whether the Hudson community had the right to make decisions about where the source code would be hosted, Oracle's Farrell clarified:

What I am saying is that I believe the final decision of what to do with respect to infrastructure belongs to Oracle and that decision should be made according to the will of the community as it makes sense. ... We are not prohibiting the developer community from making decisions. In fact we are encouraging that they help form the decisions being made. The decisions just need to be checked with the realities of hosting the community and what is best for the growth of the Hudson ecosystem (e.g., syncing with other projects, etc.).

Benefiting from the GitHub community
Oracle, as the owner of the Hudson trademark, is well within its rights to decide where the Hudson project source code and community interactions are hosted. This point, however, is lost on the vast majority of Hudson users commenting that the development community should fork the source code under a new name, unencumbered by Oracle's trademark.

The larger issue is Oracle insisting that simply using Git on the new Java.net is enough to meet the project's needs -- the Hudson developer community disagrees. Git is based on the notion of being able to fork code and later merge the forked code, along with any changes, back into the mainline code base. Kawaguchi had previously written in support of Git's fork-and-merge-later approach: "For example, many contributors in the Japanese community hesitate to ask for a commit access, for one reason or another, but they can fork and push changes and send me email."

GitHub has become a gathering place for developers, as Hudson project contributor R. Tyler Cory tried to explain to Farrell:

One of the primary reasons for selecting GitHub instead of one of the many Git hosts such as Gitorious (including Kenai) is the very low barrier to entry for a lot of developers these days. We had considered self-hosting the Git service but pooh-poohed that idea in favor of GitHub because having a GitHub account is almost as common as having a Twitter handle or Gmail address.

Hosing on GitHub would give the Hudson project exposure to a much larger developer base from which to attract future contributions.

Judging by comments from Hudson project developers, there is little desire to fork the code and found a new project under a different name. However, Oracle's insistence of keeping the source code on Java.net and not wanting to leverage the larger audience and collaboration found at GitHub leaves the Hudson developer community in a difficult position.

For the sake of the Hudson community and Oracle's open source credibility, let's hope cooler heads prevail and Oracle executives see the benefit of accessing the larger GitHub community.

Follow me on Twitter at SavioRodrigues. I should state: "The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies, or opinions."

This article, "Oracle's open source missteps continue with Hudson project," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Rodrigues et al.'s Open Sources blog and follow the latest developments in open source at InfoWorld.com.

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