Apache Subversion to WANdisco: +1 on the code contributions, -1 on the attitude.

In light of some recent press releases and blog posts from WANdisco ([1][2][3]), the Apache Subversion project would like to clarify that WANdisco, Inc participates in Subversion development under the same terms as any other organization.

Those wishing to verify this may prefer to use the project’s public mailing lists and change logs as primary sources, rather than WANdisco’s press releases.

Below are some of our specific concerns. We look forward to WANdisco’s continued participation in improving Subversion, and emphasize that WANdisco’s corporate statements do not reflect on our valued developers who happen to be employed there.

  • WANdisco CEO David Richards claims without evidence that bogus changes are being committed to the master tree. He wrote: "We … believe it’s unhelpful when certain unscrupulous committers decide to commit trivial changes in large files to simply get their stats up. That behavior has no place in any open source project; it’s a bad form [sic] and wastes everyone’s valuable time."

    We are unaware of any such behavior among the Subversion maintainers. Our repository logs are always open for public inspection, yet when asked to show evidence, Richards refused.

  • The first part of [1] would indicate to most readers that WANdisco was involved in the creation of Subversion; only if the reader were to persist for another six paragraphs would they finally encounter a disclaimer to the contrary. [3] has similar problems.

    WANdisco was not involved in the creation of Subversion. The Subversion open source project was started in 2000 by CollabNet, Inc. WANdisco’s involvement started in 2008, when it began employing Subversion committers, all of whom had prior history with the project. Subversion became part of the Apache Software Foundation in 2009. (CollabNet continues to participate in Subversion development to this day, on the same terms as all the other individuals and companies who undertake or fund development work.)

  • The Subversion development team is already working towards the enhancements that WANdisco inexplicably portrays ([2], [3]) as bold, controversial steps that must be pushed through in the face of (conveniently unnamed) opposition. WANdisco participates in Subversion development along with many parties, and the Subversion project has always welcomed WANdisco’s contributions. However, WANdisco alleges that some entities want to impede technical enhancements; at the same time, WANdisco also implies that it is the corporate leader of the project.

    Neither is true. Since WANdisco does not cite any sources for their specific claims, we cannot explain them. However, a bedrock condition of participation in Apache Subversion is that an individual contributor can have discussions, submit patches, review patches, and so forth, but that companies do not have a formal role. Instead, companies get involved by funding individuals to work on the project. WANdisco’s false implication that it is in some kind of steering position in Subversion development discredits the efforts of other contributors and companies.

In conclusion, we reiterate that we welcome WANdisco’s involvement in Subversion, and failure on WANdisco’s part to address the above concerns will have no effect on the acceptance of technical work funded by WANdisco. We simply felt it necessary to clarify WANdisco’s role in Apache Subversion, for the benefit of our users and potential contributors.

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