Hudson/Jenkins – some more context and thoughts January 12, 2011Posted by Sacha in CloudBees, English, IT.
Tags: DEV-at-cloud, Hudson, Jenkins, ORCL
Andrew Bayer just posted a blog post on Hudson-labs.org with a proposal for renaming the Hudson project to “Jenkins”. Since Kohsuke Kawaguchi, founder of and lead contributor to the Hudson project, is part of CloudBees, and I’ve helped Andrew and Kohsuke bounce ideas, I wanted to share some more context and thoughts.
Each and every Open Source project has its own DNA, its own philosophy that gets established over time. Born in 2004, Hudson has had plenty of time to find its cruising altitude. Yet, after Kohsuke left ORCL, ORCL decided they didn’t necessarily liked the way the project was handled and asked for some changes to take place.
Let me clarify a key point upfront: was ORCL’s proposal stupid? No, not at all. Each and every project has a different DNA and I could very well see some FOSS projects for which such proposal would have made sense. Yet, the real question was not so much whether ORCL’s proposal could make sense for “some” project, the question was whether their proposal was making sense for Hudson specifically, a project with a well established DNA. And here the answer is a clear no.
So, why didn’t the community simply reject this proposal and move on? Anybody can request changes to any project, which doesn’t mean they’ll get accepted, right? Well, the difference here is that Hudson has an “asymmetry” in its community: one of its community members, ORCL, claims they “own” the brand and every contributor has to sign a contributor agreement granting them a copyright license. This “asymmetry” is frequent in many projects (JBoss, Glassfish, etc.) Yet, what is less frequent is when the “owner” of such asymmetry contributes very very little IP to the project (but receives a lot of free IP from the contributors through the CLA).
And so, the fear was that the Hudson project would be at the mercy of any random decision ORCL could take in the future. And while I trust the person at ORCL with whom I’ve been interacting to not make any stupid or damaging decisions, at the end of the day this is not an agreement with a specific individual, this is an agreement with ORCL: people come and go.
So, what was the right decision? Was it be better for the community to keep investing its time and energy in the existing brand, and take the risk that it could fire back at some point in the future or was it better to “sanitize” the situation upfront and invest those efforts in building a new brand, hence removing the asymmetry that currently exists in the community?
What about ORCL now? They essentially have two choices. They can either keep working on their own project under the good old Hudson brand, or they can participate as an equal player in the newly branded community. Personally, I’d really like to see ORCL join forces with the rest of the community, as CloudBees will. I truly hope ORCL will join us, if not now, once the dust will have settled.
Last but not least, let me clarify one important thing: CloudBees has no intention whatsoever to replace ORCL as the new asymmetry in the Hudson/Jenkins community: CloudBees has no intention to own the trademark on the new brand, to own the IP of the project or anything else. Yet, what CloudBees has every intention to do is to further invest time and energy in contributing to Jenkins.