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Eclipse Planning Council Minutes

June 20, 2007, Boston, Massachutes

Note that the attendance list is not accurate at this time.
Gary Xue, Doug Gaff, Rich Gronback, David Williams, Philippe Mulet, Oisin Hurley, John Graham, Bjorn Freeman-Benson, Oliver Cole, Walter Harley.

Minutes / Discussion Items

Europa Simultaneous Maintenance Releases

We decided on September 28th and February 29th for the Fall and Winter maintenance releases. Mondays (Sep 24, Feb 25) will be the +0 dates; Wednesdays (Sep 26, Feb 27) will be the +1 dates; and Fridays (Sep 28, Feb 29) will be the +2 dates.

EclipseCon 2008 Tracks

Discussion led by Doug Gaff, EclipseCon 2008 Program Chair. These notes are a bit of a stream of consciousness mish-mash:

  • Long talks and demos are the same thing. 
  • Ideas for keynotes? Ask everyone, perhaps even blog about it. 
  • Decide on real beginning and end dates to the conference and not send email blasts until those are set because people use those to make travel plans and then if additional things get added to the beginning or end, those non-refundable plans become invalid. 
  • Recruiting on sponsorships for mobile to match Doug's emphasis. 
  • Tracks into five Europa categories (or something like that) on the presentation page.
  • Audience: people think that it's less of a committer conference and more of a user conference. Perhaps it's a "I'm a committer on X, but a user of Y and Z" conference.
  • Program Committee calls - once a month.
  • Make the number of slots page be hidden/PC-only because it led to submitters thinking they were extra slots or no slots or whatever when the PC really reallocates things as necessary.
  • "X for Existing Committers" track.
  • "Tips & Tricks for Users" track / "The Missing Manual"
  • Separate pre-reqs box on the submission page and have some examples. Or the audience: "this is for people who are interested in using X and already know Y".
  • Explicitly ask the submitters to explain how their talk relates to open source.
  • Suggest to sponsored talks that they should talk about "how we built on top of Eclipse; here are the frameworks", not just "we are on top of Eclipse and we're a product". We them them "in our experience, this kind of talk works well at EclipseCon..."
  • Use bugzilla dependencies to define an ordering for the talks.
  • Reduce the tutorial price at the cost of increasing the base price: $300 (maybe $400) is the consensus. Especially if the tutorials are combined throughout the week.
  • Encourage tutorial presenters to submit short tutorials only. Sequences of of short tutorials if necessary, but not long tutorials.
  • BOFs that don't end, i.e., do not schedule two BOFs per room per evening. The PC should be part of the BOF selection process.
  • The Planning Council wants a Monday-Thursday conference, not a Sunday-Wednesday one. And they want to combine the tutorials with the rest of the conference.

Europa Retrospective; Ganymede Thoughts

We discussed our success (and issues) with the Europa Simultaneous Release and what we'd like to have for Ganymede next year.

  • Europa-matic on workstations would be great. Bjorn agreed and intends to have the Gan-omatic available on workstations.
  • A suggestion that for Ganymede, we change from +1 and +2 to "as early as you can". The milestone builds should be more incremental with projects releasing at multiple times and then having a cut-ff date that defines the milestone.
  • Platform APIs were frozen by the time the Europa M4 was just starting. Conclusion: we need to start with a Ganymede M1 to get everyone working together sooner. Basically, Ganymede starts now/soon and will continue throughout the year.
    • Philippe will provide the Platform milestone dates by the end of July 2007 so that we can define the Ganymede M-dates.
    • Post-note from Bjorn: I imagine that the "must dos" and "should dos" will be discussed prior to our next face-to-face and then decided upon at that meeting.
  • It is essential for dependent projects to pay attention to their upstream projects so that API changes can be requested, used, tested, etc. before the last minute. The last minute is bad.
    • Post-note from David: perhaps we need a better designated time to do "full install" testing. Currently it's assumed to do "as we go", but that's hard to do. Perhaps for one week after each Ganymede milestone, request projects do some "report"?
  • There was disappointment amongst some Council members and EMO staff that the Europa requirements were relaxed over the course of the project. For Ganymede, we are considering having a two tier simultaneous release:
    • Tier 1 - meets all the requirements (packing, signing, user interface consistency, whatever)
    • Tier 2 - will release at the same time, but does not meet all the requirements
    • Obviously the Tier 1 projects would get the quid pro quo: priority on IP reviews, better service from the build-meister, etc.
  • That brought up a discussion of what is the value proposition of the requirements? If there is  a clear value proposition, then projects will implement them; if not, then projects will not spend as much time on them (realistically). We should be clearer on what is really a requirement versus what is just a really, really good idea.
  • We should stop threatening to kick projects off because we realistically won't do it. The only time we might do this is with incubation projects and then it's really the PMC's responsibility to convince them to withdraw.
    • Although, post-note, the Executive Director made it clear that he has the power to kick projects off the release train and he will take that action if necessary to preserve the overall quality of the Eclipse frameworks and eco-system.
  • There was a discussion about the purpose of Ganymede - is it a product? In the end, we concluded that the point of Ganymede was to produce "the CD" with all the project on it. The purpose was not "providing a better integrated product".
  • Ganymede is more of a process rather than a technical solution: it's a reliable release stream for commercial product planning. Not sure if we need to change much from Europa except maybe a better understanding of all the project dependences - Europa has gone well in terms of reliable milestone builds.
  • Other noble goals, like "improved user experience" were seen as requiring a lot of extra work and perhaps "near impossible" given that there is no one person in charge of the overall user experience.
  • We like the EPP packages and the role-based downloads; role-based downloads are better than the "everything is available in the update manager" distro. We should work with the EPP project to consume the Ganymede builds automatically - start by pulling them into the Planning Council.
  • We had a discussion about recognizing Europa bugs. We came to the following conclusions:
    • Use cross-project keyword instead of Europa or some other keyword.
    • The meaning of this keyword is "the Planning Council will look at bugs with this keyword"
    • The query for these bugs is for facilitating conversations around these cross-project bugs.
    • These bugs are "bug exists if N projects are loaded, but does not exist if just one project is loaded"
  • The idea of requiring conformance to the UI Best Practices Working Group guidelines was brought up. We decided that if the group produced some guidelines in time for them to have an effect on Ganymede, we would consider requiring conformance.
  • Should we do full source builds of all Ganymede projects? Maybe, maybe not. Source building would identify more API change issues, etc., but it would require projects to change their ways to have more common infrastructure. And the source build would be broken a lot of time. Maybe we should do something like more distributed testing instead.
  • Should we have some kind of CPAN-like distributed testing system? There was some fear that this would be a lot of work, but given how well it works for other open source projects, it seems like a good idea to investigate.
  • We also discussed how we could ensure API cleanliness. Each project can control the issue in their own code, but if they rely on other projects and those projects do not adhere to the same level of cleanliness, that can put your project at risk and make it fragile. Source level builds would help with this, but perhaps what is really needed is a tool that makes this problem visible to everyone. The Platform team is considering working on such a tool; the WTP team has some tools already; someone mentioned that there might be something on alpahworks...
  • A good first step is that each project needs to publish or expose their cross-project access rule violations. Better would be to include all API violations including the semantic ones that we can't capture in access rules yet (e.g., "don't instantiate this class" and "not all public methods are API methods"). The next step would be for us to investigate additional tooling.
  • The Eclipse Top-Level Project is planning to split development streams: 3.x verus 4.0. Philippe asked for feedback from the other leads about the impacts on them - general consensus was that this was a good thing. The 3.x stream will be about consolidation and productization of the existing 3.x code base; the 4.0 stream will be a longer term effort: two or three years.
  • And final topic in this section was about performance and scalability and how to generate a better understanding of these issues amongst the projects. How are projects measuring their performance and scaling metrics? Are they measuring them at all? The Platform, WTP, and BIRT had performance tests, but none of the leads were really happy with the tests that they have... Phillipe said the Platform needs to be able to handle 10,000 plug-ins and that all projects should handle huge workspaces, etc. The Platform team used M7 as a "performance iteration", but none of the other projects did that. Consensus was that Ganymede should recommend, or maybe require, that M7 be a performance iteration.
  • Each project on the train needs to do performance and scalability/resource usage testing. Maybe use the TPTP tools?

Eclipse IP Process/Policy Improvements

We discussed our difficulties with the Eclipse IP Process and discussed the following issues that we will take to the Board meeting tomorrow:

  • Committers should be able to committer greater than N LOC and not be limited to 250 LOC. For example, the approval for the NEC contribution to DTP 1.5 occurred so late in the development cycle that they were not able to integrate and develop the contribution as much as possible.
  • Keeping up with external run-times is a (future?) problem for STP. For example, Apache CXF 1.0 was not robust and the CXF project is moving towards 2.0, but their timing is outside the Europa window, so STP needs to use a milestone level build of CXF but the Eclipse Legal process will not consider milestone level builds. Perhaps a "holding pen" for not completely reviewed libraries?
  • DSDP wants a holding pen for GPL-based libraries: RXTX and gdb.
  • IP review takes too long. When pressed on what "too long" means, the consensus is "one or two weeks is acceptable; longer is not". The Ant 1.7 and Jcraft 1.3.1 examples were brought up. The team would like to see a fast track for service releases.
  • Eclipse Legal needs to provide an ETA if the ETA is greater than 1-2 weeks. Having Legal say "I can't give you a date" is not acceptable - if we (the project leads) have to stick to dates, then they have to as well. There are many standard project management techniques that could be applied, including estimates based on historical trends and characteristics of the request.
  • We would like to use the Parallel IP process for all projects.
  • The Foundation should provide Black Duck (or whatever software the Foundation is using to scan contributions) to the project leads so that the project leads can pre-scan all the contributions to help speed things along.
  • Rewrite the Legal documentation from the POV of developers not the POV of lawyers.
  • Other issues include the QVT University of Kent OCL library: it was rewritten faster (months of work) before Legal even started to review it; and accessing/depending on third-party libraries that are not distributed with the Eclipse project (the Buckminster-Maven-SVN example).
  • Post-note from David: "There were some constructive suggestions that came out of it, but I still think it's working fairly well, and, as human nature is, any discussion of "how to improve" ignores the enormous improvements that have been made. (I recall when 'approval' was not even traceable!)"

Notes taken and posted by Bjorn Freeman-Benson

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