[Windmill-dev] Windmill and OSAF
adam.christian at gmail.com
Fri Jun 27 11:15:39 PDT 2008
This sounds like a super reasonable plan to me. I think it's important
for the community to understand how Windmill came about, and it's
relationship with OSAF. But like all children, the project has grown
up and I think we have sort of grown to a point where it's time to
make some changes. As I will be working on windmill at least 50% of my
time starting next week, I will be doing lots of work, code,
documentation etc. and if we are going to make changes, now would be
the best time.
Having windmill on google mailing lists, and its own domain will be a
good start in the next evolution of the project and should refresh the
community perspective of the 'state of windmill'.
I appreciate everything that OSAF has done for me personally and the
project, and am excited to see what the future holds for Windmill.
I do hope that OSAF survives and continues to fight another day, but I
think it would be more comforting to know that the project is on a box
that we can maintain and control regardless of the outcome of the
Thanks for the thorough recap and proposal Mikeal. +1
On Jun 26, 2008, at 1:25 PM, Mikeal Rogers wrote:
> This is a hard post to make but I can't keep ignoring the feedback
> I'm getting from people in the community.
> For a while now, I've been getting concerned input about windmill's
> future, in particular concerns about OSAF's uncertain future
> effecting the windmill project.
> After objectively looking at the current state of affairs I've
> decided to make a proposal. Before I do, I'd like to reflect on the
> history of windmill and OSAF's role in it. The most concerning thing
> for me has been that these concerns/feedback seem to paint OSAF's
> relationship with windmill entirely negatively and for those of us
> that created the project this invokes a strong emotional reaction
> because we know how important OSAF has been to windmill and before
> we move on I'd like everyone in the community to understand that role.
> = History Lesson =
> One day I was asked to find a way to get functional UI tests working
> against the Cosmo Web Interface (at that time still called Scooby).
> I looked at Selenium and decided it didn't yet cut the mustard, and
> with no other alternative we decided to table automated web UI
> testing. 3 months later Adam Christian began work at OSAF on a
> contract and Selenium had just made some major improvements and was
> advertising some of the features it lacked earlier and were the
> reason I turned it down.
> Adam spent about a month writing tests in Selenium, he ended up
> writing a lot of patches to SeleniumCore to get these working, all
> of those patches fell on deaf ears and we resigned to maintaining a
> local branch of the SeleniumCore code. Then I was asked to move all
> those tests to run on SeleniumRC and get it working in continuous
> integration. At the same time we were also finishing up the next
> version of the WebUI and Adam was tasked with getting all the
> previous tests running against the new version.
> Both tasks ended up being incredibly more difficult than they should
> have been, and we realized that this strategy couldn't scale,
> especially with the time based releases we all wanted to see Cosmo
> move to. At this point we had some ideas about how to make things
> better, and we started asking some of the OSAF higher ups, in
> particular Ted Leung, if it would be ok for us to write a
> replacement for Selenium.
> It needs to be said here that anyone else, at any other employer
> probably would have told us to have our heads examined. Adam was
> just out of college and I had never written a Python project as
> large as the one we were talking about doing. But we were certain we
> could do it and Ted and OSAF supported us. We spent 2 months writing
> the initial version of windmill and initial test suite for Cosmo.
> That was two months of employment for two people that could have
> been a wash if we were wrong or we couldn't hack it. OSAF is a small
> place ( at the time consisting of less that 30 people), it doesn't
> go unnoticed when two of them are banging away for 2 months on a
> repository nobody is watching while everyone else is writing product
> code. It's easy to say that windmill wouldn't exist if it weren't
> for OSAF or Ted, but more importantly it wouldn't exist is OSAF and
> Ted weren't who they were, if it were anyone else, anywhere else, it
> never would have been done.
> We kept incrementally improving windmill, first so that other people
> at OSAF could run it and write tests and then, in preparation for
> our talk at OSCON, so that people in the community could use it. Our
> OSCON talk was very well received and we've enjoyed a steady growth
> in use and participation ever since. In this time the only stable
> contributor we gained was another OSAF employee, Matt Eernissee, who
> always participated in the project but at some point decided to
> manager was Ted and again Ted decided to let Matt spend time
> improving windmill and not writing new Cosmo features with the hope
> that eventually we could automate even more testing inside of the
> The success of windmill inside of OSAF is something most people
> don't know about. In mid-2007 Cosmo moved to two week time based
> releases, and the QA team decided to drop all manual testing. The
> signoff process would be completely automated, and all of the QA
> cycle would be spent writing automated tests and tracking failures
> in existing tests. I have NEVER worked ANYWHERE that was even close
> to achieving this level of test automation, and there is no question
> that we couldn't have done it without windmill.
> It was widely publicized in January of 2008 that Mitch Kapor had
> decided to leave OSAF, and that he would not be renewing funding
> after it's current year. This lead to a condensing of the full time
> staff, most notably all of QA would be asked to leave. This was a
> decision I absolutely agreed with. Windmill was at the point that
> the developers could continue writing automated tests themselves. We
> did an amazing thing, we automated ourselves out of the job, and in
> the end we felt good about the condition we were leaving things in
> and we had no doubts that we would land on our feet and that we
> would be able to continue to maintain windmill at whatever full time
> employer we ended up. At that time the people actively contributing
> to windmill were; Myself (QA Developer), Adam Christian (QA
> (Continuous Integration and Infrastructure), and Ted Leung ( All
> around project leadership and support). All of us left OSAF, some
> were asked to leave, some asked to leave on their own.
> Katie Capps Parlante (Head of OSAF) said there would be no problem
> leaving the windmill project at OSAF and we never had any reason to
> move it... until now.
> = Now =
> OSAF is focusing on it's core mission and products. It has a tight
> group of developers banging away on Chandler (Desktop and Server).
> Things like budget concerns, hosting concerns, the future of the
> project after the current budget, all happen on a private mailing
> list. These things have _always_ been on a private mailing list and
> since I didn't complain about that when I worked there I certainly
> can't complain about it now just because I'm not on it. OSAF doesn't
> keep the windmill project in the loop about this stuff, and if OSAF
> has a chance to survive another year they _shouldn't_ be keeping us
> in the loop. OSAF is focusing on what are the very most important
> tasks they should be doing, and windmill isn't a part of that.
> At this time, the only thing leaving windmill at OSAF is doing is
> adding to the list of things OSAF has to deal with and causing
> uncertainty in our community about the future of the project.
> = The Proposal =
> First off;
> 1) WINDMILL WILL NOT BE MOVING TO MOZILLA.
> 2) WINDMILL WILL NOT BE MOVING TO GOOGLE CODE.
> Because I'm employed at Mozilla full time, and now Adam is employed
> part time, some people assume we're working on windmill for Mozilla
> and that we may want to move the project there. To clear the record
> nether I nor Adam do any work whatsoever on windmill at the behest
> of Mozilla. [ We're working on something else together, it's super
> cool and awesome and we can show it to you at OSCON this year :) ]
> More importantly, windmill just isn't a big enough project to need
> large institutional backing, windmill certainly has issues and some
> of those are issues of organization, but I'm not convinced having
> some kind of institutional backing will actually help that.
> Trac has been good for windmill. We don't use all the features, and
> we don't use some of them nearly enough, but Google code just isn't
> suited for a project the size of windmill. And I'm not some Google
> Code hater, I host 10 different libraries on Google Code and I think
> it's perfect for each one of them, I just don't think it's right for
> _this_ project. Plus, nobody is jumping up and down at the idea of
> migrating all the documentation in trac to a new wiki format :P
> So here is the proposal
> 1) Move the Trac install to my personal server (I have free hosting
> so bandwidth isn't an issue)
> 2) Move the SVN repository to my personal server
> 3) Setup rsync backups for the project to both my home server and
> Adam's (and anyone else who wants to contribute some more backup
> 4) Move the email list to Google Groups (I'm not setting up Mailman,
> you can all go to hell)
> 5) Move all the urls to www.getwindmill.com (we also have .net/.org)
> 6) Setup an apache forward for windmill.osafoundation.org to www.getwindmill.com
> 7) Pour a nice glass of scotch and wait for people to find all the
> crap that we accidentally broke in the migration.
> The last thing to note is that OSAF owns copyright on all the
> windmill code. Contributions fall under the OSAF contributor
> agreement. All the code Adam/Me/Matt/and Bear wrote is owned by OSAF
> as we were employed by them at the time. That ownership doesn't just
> go away, it will remain. But we, the contributors/maintainers of
> windmill are making a decision to move the project. That means the
> contributor agreement will go away and we'll need to write a new
> (most likely less restrictive) contribution policy (and I will
> advocate we do _not_ force contributors to sign said agreements).
> The details of this policy are something we can discuss after the
> move, but the repercussions of OSAF's ownership are thus;
> Although no trademark has been filed, OSAF owns the name windmill.
> They also own the current code base. If Katie and the rest of OSAF
> decide for whatever reason they want to retain control of the
> project they can force us to fork and rename it if we want to go
> ahead with the move. I seriously doubt this will happen and I'm
> confident that everyone at OSAF will recognize that it's mutually
> beneficial for us to move, but this is still a possibility.
> I now await comments, +1/-1 from contributors, and some kind of
> formal response from OSAF blessing the move.
> Windmill-dev mailing list
> Windmill-dev at osafoundation.org
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