This repo needs to belong in the expressjs org. #2264

Closed
defunctzombie opened this Issue Jul 29, 2014 · 36 comments

Projects

None yet
@defunctzombie
Contributor

I seem to have lost contrib rights :(

But more importantly, I think this needs to live in the express org and not under a company.

@defunctzombie
Contributor

NVM. I have contrib. But I still stand by my statement about living in an org :)

@defunctzombie
Contributor

Communicating with the strongloop folks and @dougwilson off issue tracker.

@fengmk2
Member
fengmk2 commented Jul 29, 2014
@jonathanong
Member

haha i lost mine. wooO!!!

@jonathanong
Member

the only way i'd be happy with this repo belonging to strongloop is if they sponsor @dougwilson . otherwise it doesn't belong here.

@ijroth
ijroth commented Jul 29, 2014

Contrib bits got lost in the transfer, we're restoring them. Happy to support Doug however we can - already in contact. Excited to work with you to keep Express going strong!

@dougwilson
Member

For those not in the email (and I assume this is still a community-driven thing), I was not aware the repo for express was moving until this morning after it did. For now, I'm awaiting clarity from StrongLoop before continuing contributions.

@altsang
altsang commented Jul 29, 2014

TJ felt that our company was doing good things for Node and the community. You can read about it here - https://medium.com/code-adventures/farewell-node-js-4ba9e7f3e52b. As I mentioned, in our blog post, our intentions is to keep what's there, and add folks to maintain and build more following Doug's lead.

One thing that we will not do is to add anything without review and consensus by the community.

@defunctzombie
Contributor

I am sure you lot are doing good things but honestly TJ has not been the
one maintaining express day to day for a long time and I think this move
came as a surprise to all of the current maintainers.

We have a community driven organization already in place that has been
doing well and I believe this repo belongs there.

Strongloop may not be a thing in 1 year or 2 years but the org will be.
This move makes it seem that strong loop now owns express and will be the
driving force. I see no reason for this as I have yet to see all these
contributions that are being talked about. Contributing on GitHub is easy,
make a PR. Now you have no real reason to because fundamentally the company
is in control.

I have nothing against you or strong loop, but do the right thing and move
this repo to the org where the community can manage it. Contribute there.
On Jul 29, 2014 10:16 AM, "Al Tsang" notifications@github.com wrote:

TJ felt that our company was doing good things for Node and the community.
You can read about it here -
https://medium.com/code-adventures/farewell-node-js-4ba9e7f3e52b. As I
mentioned, in our blog post, our intentions is to keep what's there, and
add folks to maintain and build more following Doug's lead.

One thing that we will not do is to add anything without review and
consensus by the community.


Reply to this email directly or view it on GitHub
#2264 (comment).

@trevnorris

Remember that "express" cannot be trademarked. Is there a registered logo? Only two things of importance are the URL and the ability to publish to npm. Basically, nobody can "own" express, the code. Only the module name in npm and the website.

Of course this is a strategic business move for StrongLoop, but as long as @ijroth holds to keeping things open, transparent and continue to contribute back to the project then personally I feel like this will be a win for the community.

@ijroth
ijroth commented Jul 29, 2014

Absolutely committed to keeping things open, transparent and following the lead of the existing contributors. We have real incentive to keep contributing, to sponsor contributions, etc. While a company can die, so can an org when nobody has incentive or sponsorship to continue, so both are imperfect solutions. Let's try this for a while and see how it goes.

When we first showed up in Node people were suspect but I think we've shown we're here for the community. Even Mikeal Rogers hugs me now.

If we do wrong by this repo, please let me or Al know.

@defunctzombie
Contributor

The org has been something that has been working. I don't see why we have to try this over the org for a while. All this did was to piss off the people who have been actually maintaining express for the past year if not longer.

You guys make it sound like express was somehow struggling or that we requested this and that we need to see how this goes because something else was not going.

The win for the community will be if the repo is maintained by the org. Strongloop and other contributors are welcome to contribute there. Orgs die when ALL the contributors to the org go away; companies die when some investor or ceo decides.

I have made my position clear on this and I think @dougwilson has as well. @jonathanong we haven't heard from you but I would be interested in your thoughts.

@ravi
ravi commented Jul 29, 2014

@defunctzombie,

I see the point you are trying to raise. Does StrongLoop also own expressjs.com now? (WHOIS still points to TJ as the owner). Despite such transfer(s) of the repo, the NPM module and possibly the domain, perhaps the community can fork the code and through contributions retake substantive ownership? If there are enough strong and sustained contributors, the community version would gain more traction, usage and hence further contributions.

@vitorsvieira

strongloop being the company behind express is not the same thing of walmart with hapi and paypal with kraken... its the opposite way or I can say a big contradiction of what the main gatekeepers of node and big modules are saying during the conferences and meetups... 'the biggest thing of our community is that everything is open, otherwise we wouldn't be succeeding in such way'... I'm not raising a flag against strongloop, but it's impossible to say that this move will not favor strongloop image in the market. What the strongloop competitors are thinking right now? Why the work of many current and ex-core developers and users(proving feedback, fixes, examples) can be absorbed without any voting or public detailed explanation of what will happen?

@vitorsvieira

I would like to know what are the points that made TJ give to strongloop and not to other

@davehorton

I have made zero contributions to the express source code. But I have used it in multiple projects, studied every line of it, and most importantly have closely observed the work of the contributors over the past year. I have been very impressed, and very comfortable building my commercial projects on top of it. The org was working, and working well.

I'm well aware of the story of TJ moving on to hopefully pioneer new things in fertile ground elsewhere (and I applaud that - we need people like him doing that). But this project has been carried by others for a while now, as mentioned above. I'm not sure it should be his call who should run a town that he's decided to leave behind in order to strike out again for the frontier (so to speak); even if he once founded said town, if others have been running it and still others have decided to settle there and have to live the governance of it.

"Let's give it a try" is a curiously weak statement about why this should be done, and implies there were problems. There weren't. And now things worse, already, by virtue of the fact that the core contributor team is now feeling disenfranchised. No greater damage could have been done. My main concern is that the motivation will not be the same under the aegis of any for-profit enterprise. @defunctzombie @dougwilson @jonathanong have put in immense efforts into this thing, no doubt driven by many reasons but among them the desire to create and share something of value freely. Let's face it, express is a franchise, and economic value will redound to strongloop because of it. Are these contributors going to work as hard in the same way, knowing that they are directly creating value for a profit-making enterprise in which they have no stake, no interest financial or otherwise? I would be surprised if that were the case.

I will follow the core contributors in this. If they are happy with the new arrangement, great. If they want to fork and take it back into the org, then that's where I will go. Happily.

@dshaw
Contributor
dshaw commented Jul 29, 2014

@ijroth Let me know if there's anything I can do to support this effort remaining in control of the active committers. Express is far too important to the node ecosystem and pushing the active contributors to fork after an amazingly productive 4.0 release seems counterproductive to all parties interests.

StrongLoop's efforts around node-inspector have been admirable and the project living under its own organization seems to have worked well. Express and expressjs.com being in control of the individuals who have brought faith back to the project is a good thing.

If we need diversity of supporting parties, I'll happily throw in my hat as well. My recent discussions with contributors indicated that there wasn't interest or need at this time.

@dougwilson
Member

It seems unlikely this will be resolved.

@ChiperSoft

I wish to echo @davehorton's comments as well. I am not yet a core contributer, but would some day like to be and have tried to make myself useful to the express community. I absolutely love this project and want to see it continue. I'm already excited about the progress being made towards 5.0 and it's not even half done yet. @dougwilson has a lot of really great ideas for the road ahead and I want to see him carry them out.

It sounds like no one actually working on Express had any idea this was even a possibility, and that's really not cool.

@tj
Member
tj commented Jul 30, 2014

My apologies to Douglas, I miscommunicated the move and didn't clearly mention that both repos would be moving.

I really do trust the guys at StrongLoop, Bert and Ben have done an amazing amount for node, so it seemed like a win-win for everyone. I conveyed my intent of sharing the small settlement with Douglas, I never intended to "grab and run" simply because Express is an old project of mine. I really do see it as a win for everyone, we have a giant hole in Express documentation right now, frankly no one really wants to touch that, but a commercial "owner" has more motivation to do so.

I completely understand the rage that I'm seeing from everyone, it's easy to assume every commercial sponsorship will lead to the death of a project or poor results, but I'm sure we can all list numerous cases where the opposite is also true. I think it still takes a community to hold it together regardless.

Look at Node and Joyent for example, do I care that Joyent "owns" Node? Absolutely not - do I wish they handled things differently? For sure, but that is irrelevant, things would be no different if a foundation was responsible for Node, then we'd just be fighting core committer opinions instead. Which frankly is what happens now anyway, I really can't picture it being any different. Imagine where Node would be if it had zero beneficiaries? It'd likely be years and years behind, seeing as StrongLoop and Joyent funded nearly all of it.

So is it so terrible that the creator of a project, the maintainer of a project, and the hard-working team which solely benefits from Express and Node being a great platform all benefit from a tiny bit of branding?

The perceived indifference is understandable, but I hope everyone thinks about things more carefully. Ultimately if StrongLoop did a poor job or made a decision that the majority of the community disliked they would very quickly, but it's silly to shame everyone IMO.

Just an example but Guillermo's work which was "inherited" by Automattic, this is just another form of control exchanging hands. Have you noticed any drastic or distasteful changes in any of those projects? Nope. How about most Mozilla software which has been acquired over time? Nope..

I'm not going to comment on the topic anymore, those are my opinions.

@ahdinosaur

i'm not a core Express contributor, but i find this "transfer of ownership" of what is now a community project to a for-profit corporation a little disheartening.

i understand StrongLoop wants to invest resources into maintaining Express and that's awesome, especially if they want to focus on better docs. :) however, "owning" Express, without regarding the wishes of the Express community, is a blow to the self-sovereignty of the Express community. did the Express community ask for this commercial sponsorship?

this transfer signals that the Express community is capital that can be exchanged, which de-humanizes the wonderful people here who work on Express and de-values their rightful self-ownership. i support the Express core contributors forking if they continue to be "owned" by a foreign authority against their wishes.

much love to everyone here. thanks to everyone who has or will contribute to Express. :)

@kevbook
kevbook commented Jul 30, 2014

Obviously I am not a core contributor, but I have worked with express last 2 years and I'm intimately familiar with the source. I can definitely help with the docs.

@ChiperSoft

@visionmedia As a counterpoint to your mention of Joyent, I'd like to remind everyone of when NodeJitsu tried to claim ownership of NPM. Ownership is a pretty big deal to the JS community, as we've all seen.

Additionally, Joyent's acquisition of Node also included their hiring of Ryan, with their sponsorship of the project being them paying him to develop it. That's a very different scenario from Strongloop just taking possession of the project and adding their own collaborators. From the perspective of the community, this is a hostile takeover.

Strongloop now holds the keys to the Express repo, and we have only their word that they won't decide that they don't like @dougwilson's direction and remove his collaborator status. They now have the power to force whatever changes they want on Express in order to better their agenda. That kind of power is not in the best interests of the Node community.

@tj
Member
tj commented Jul 30, 2014

@thevitorvieira lulz?

@vitorsvieira

@visionmedia as ‏@snellingio said ..."Interesting to think of ownership vs entitlement in OS though."

@tj
Member
tj commented Jul 30, 2014

He's right, writing most of a project and hundreds of associated sub-projects is being entitled. Good observation.

@mattpardee

@visionmedia <3. In the event this negative reaction is getting to you, keep your chin up and keep moving forward. We have a lot to thank you for, for all you've done for the Node community. The developers at StrongLoop now contributing to the maintenance of this project are exceptionally talented and have done so much for the Node community (the least of which are contributions to Node and maintaining node-inspector). While some might call my reaction vapid, all I want to say is "great! more great code is coming our way." Thank you.

@vitorsvieira

@visionmedia change the chronological order of the past events... first pass to strongloop and then tell the world about you leaving node... it would be different... what is happening is that everybody is feelling like a widow... "oh ... and now....omg... he is irreplaceable oh god"

@DamonOehlman

So:

  1. "Ownership" and control of the express repository has moved to Strongloop.
  2. I'm not sure how I feel about this, but understand that is something that will have an impact.
  3. Strongloop have committed to doing the right thing by the community, which is all a project initiator really could ask for, so I understand TJ's decision.

As I see it, any entity (for profit, or otherwise) that takes over a project like express has no option but to put a lot of energy into it and at least attempt to do the right thing. I'm sure Strongloop don't want to become known as the company that "screwed up express". They have far more at stake than any of us running a production server on express.

I'm willing to Strongloop a chance to do what they have said they would do, and look forward to them further clarifying how they are engaging and supporting the current project maintainers.

@nicholasf

Just fork it.

@jonathanong
Member

what i've gathered so far is that most people responded negatively to this ownership change and consider this a purchase and not a sponsorship, which has been officially stated. many people would prefer Express remain community-owned and for some current maintainers this is non-negotiable. from a purely PR standpoint, I think it's in StrongLoop's best interest to "return Express to the community".

some people have also expressed fear of the direction strongloop may take express. i don't believe this is an actual issue. as @DamonOehlman stated, the last thing they're going to do is fuck express up. i too trust ben and bert (they should be the ones leading node's development. shiet...)

you'll also have to understand that most of the current Express's team's work is not in Express itself but in the expressjs organization. much of Express' benefits are its official middleware which are also maintained within the expressjs organization. if you look at Express' latest commit history, you'll see that most commits are just version bumps of the core libraries. the goals of v4 and v5 are to abstract Express into these modules and reduce the SLOC. my personal goal is to use these same modules in Koa and, if I feel like it, an entirely new framework based on any new, fancy flow control mechanisms i can think of.

really, ownership of just Express is pointless since people could just build their own robust framework using all of expressjs' modules. i'm hoping to eventually collaborate with other node frameworks like restify and hapi on these core http modules to make an even better ecosystem. we're already talking with the sails team on how we could work together, and adding strongloop to the talks will only make the ecosystem better.

after removing all the middleware from connect into their own modules, i've been trying to get more maintainers but that has proven difficult. in particular, https://github.com/expressjs/session needs a complete rewrite. docs for express also need a lot of work, but that has been a little difficult with the website always being outside of the organization. i'm hoping you guys could pick up some slack here!

the biggest issue here is miscommunication and the lack thereof. it wasn't clear to @dougwilson or any other of expressjs maintainers how any of this would play out or that this was even a possibility. i also do want more maintainers and support, so here's a possible solution for both continued sponsorship and continued maintenance by the current maintainers that i'll try to make clear and hopefully everyone agrees with:

  1. transfer express and expressjs.com to the expressjs organization
  2. publicly gittip maintainers of official express-related utilities (enough to make you guys look good) without any expectations. last thing we need are more obligations.
  3. place a "sponsored by strongloop" logo on each official module maintained either by strongloop or maintained by someone strongloop gittips
  4. we'll add the relevant StrongLoop maintainers as owners of the expressjs organization
  5. you guys can move any non-loopback modules into the expressjs org if you'd like

primary difference here is that Express isn't owned by strongloop and the maintainers aren't (or don't feel like they're) working to help strongloop's bottom line. instead, Express is owned by the community and strongloop plays a significant role within that community.

@jonathanong jonathanong locked and limited conversation to collaborators Jul 30, 2014
@piscisaureus

@jonathanong
 
We hear you, thanks for the constructive approach. It's not our intention to make any of the contributors uncomfortable.
 

transfer express and expressjs.com to the expressjs organization
 
We're trying to find a long term solution; moving express to the expressjs github org is not completely out of the question. But if we were to move the repo we'd probably rather move it to a place where it's under control of an actual foundation (forgive me if I'm wrong - I don't think expressjs currently is?).
 
publicly gittip maintainers of official express-related utilities (enough to make you guys look good) without any expectations. last thing we need are more obligations.
 
More likely we would contract people, or have strongloopers work on things. You should expect our focus to be on stuff that isn't getting a lot of attention nowadays (documentation for example).
 
We're open to other ways of working; however tipping people so it makes us look good is not super interesting to us and it's unclear to me how that helps the project.
 
primary difference here is that Express isn't owned by strongloop and the maintainers aren't (or don't feel like they're) working to help strongloop's bottom line.
 
For better or for worse, there's not much to own about express, not even a trademark.
We also can't dictate the project's direction, or what contributors are working on, or anything like that.
 
Many companies are making money from express in one way or another, most of them by just using it. Most of them don't really contribute back that much, because there is little incentive to do so. It's true that the "brand value" of express may help StrongLoop's bottom line a little bit. I hope so; it'll justify us spending money and resources on it.
 
Of course express will remain a community open source project; that's what makes it interesting in the first place. If we wanted something we have exclusive control over we'd have built it ourselves.

@jonathanong
Member

you messed up on your quotes :) too bad i don't know how to edit my own comments on a locked thread...

For better or for worse, there's not much to own about express, not even a trademark.

that's funny coming from you guys who basically bought express :P but i totally agree. it's always the team that is valuable.

i think a foundation is a great idea. i'm assuming you mean a 501(c)(3) (with an educational purpose so we get that tax-exemption). a lot of people would want this foundation to be community-owned, so it can't be a private foundation that receives a majority of its funding from a few sources (i.e. strongloop). it should be somehow community owned, perhaps with members who vote on the board etc. as well as solicit donations from the public.

if we go this route, which i am totally for but never even considered due to the associated overhead, we shouldn't limit ourselves to express. we should try to create an apache foundation for web development (JS+CSS+HTML). it'll consists of software like express and perhaps others like Koa, restify, etc. and their maintainers, which is where all the value lies.

imagine if we joyent to move node to this foundation. i'm sure other companies like microsoft, paypal, and walmart would love to pitch in. that would be AWESOME!

@defunctzombie
Contributor

All this stuff is making this sound so complicated when in reality it is
simple. The project should be in the org today and managed by the org as
has been happening.

Now there are talks of all this bs that no one actually doing work today
asked for.
On Jul 30, 2014 4:07 PM, "Jonathan Ong" notifications@github.com wrote:

you messed up on your quotes :) too bad i don't know how to edit my own
comments on a locked thread...

For better or for worse, there's not much to own about express, not even a
trademark.

that's funny coming from you guys who basically bought express :P but i
totally agree. it's always the team that is valuable.

i think a foundation is a great idea. i'm assuming you mean a 501(c)(3)
(with an educational purpose so we get that tax-exemption). a lot of people
would want this foundation to be community-owned, so it can't be a private
foundation that receives a majority of its funding from a few sources (i.e.
strongloop). it should be somehow community owned, perhaps with members who
vote on the board etc. as well as solicit donations from the public.

if we go this route, which i am totally for but never even considered due
to the associated overhead, we shouldn't limit ourselves to express. we
should try to create an apache foundation for web development
(JS+CSS+HTML). it'll consists of software like express and perhaps others
like Koa, restify, etc. and their maintainers, which is where all the value
lies.

imagine if we joyent to move node to this foundation. i'm sure other
companies like microsoft, paypal, and walmart would love to pitch in. that
would be AWESOME!


Reply to this email directly or view it on GitHub
#2264 (comment).

@piscisaureus

you messed up on your quotes :) too bad i don't know how to edit my own comments on a locked thread...

I'm sorry - the edit button isn't available for me. Maybe because I'm not an admin?
This is what I intended to say (now with a free extra level of quotation).

We hear you, thanks for the constructive approach. It's not our intention to make any of the contributors uncomfortable.

transfer express and expressjs.com to the expressjs organization

We're trying to find a long term solution; moving express to the expressjs github org is not completely out of the question. But if we were to move the repo we'd probably rather move it to a place where it's under control of an actual foundation (forgive me if I'm wrong - I don't think expressjs currently is?).

publicly gittip maintainers of official express-related utilities (enough to make you guys look good) without any expectations. last thing we need are more obligations.

More likely we would contract people, or have strongloopers work on things. You should expect our focus to be on stuff that isn't getting a lot of attention nowadays (documentation for example).

We're open to other ways of working; however tipping people so it makes us look good is not super interesting to us and it's unclear to me how that helps the project.

primary difference here is that Express isn't owned by strongloop and the maintainers aren't (or don't feel like they're) working to help strongloop's bottom line.

For better or for worse, there's not much to own about express, not even a trademark.
We also can't dictate the project's direction, or what contributors are working on, or anything like that.

Many companies are making money from express in one way or another, most of them by just using it. Most of them don't really contribute back that much, because there is little incentive to do so. It's true that the "brand value" of express may help StrongLoop's bottom line a little bit. I hope so; it'll justify us spending money and resources on it.

Of course express will remain a community open source project; that's what makes it interesting in the first place. If we wanted something we have exclusive control over we'd have built it ourselves.

@rlidwka rlidwka added a commit to rlidwka/sinopia that referenced this issue Jul 31, 2014
@rlidwka rlidwka don't receive future updates to express.js
... until this gets resolved:
expressjs/express#2264

ref #92
888cfe3
@leftieFriele leftieFriele added a commit to finn-no/sinopia that referenced this issue Aug 5, 2014
@rlidwka @leftieFriele rlidwka + leftieFriele don't receive future updates to express.js
... until this gets resolved:
expressjs/express#2264

ref #92
2050dff
@rlidwka rlidwka added a commit to rlidwka/sinopia that referenced this issue Aug 8, 2014
@rlidwka rlidwka don't receive future updates to express.js
... until this gets resolved:
expressjs/express#2264

ref #92
8aa6754
Sign up for free to subscribe to this conversation on GitHub. Already have an account? Sign in.