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Selected into the Apache incubator for more than 4 years, the Weex project donated by Ali failed to graduate

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Recently, the Weex project developed by Ali and donated to the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) has not successfully graduated from the Apache incubator. The current Weex incubator status has been changed to "retired". According to the "Guide to Retirement" of the Apache Software Foundation, retirement does not mean that the project ceases to be maintained, but only means that it is no longer developed in the Apache incubator.

Weex is a lightweight cross-platform mobile development tool developed by Alibaba. It aims to help mobile developers write Native-level performance experiences through simple front-end syntax, and supports multi-terminal deployments such as iOS, Android, YunOS, and Web.

In April 2016, Ali announced the open source Weex; in December 2016, Weex was donated to the Apache Software Foundation to start incubation. In April of this year, because the PPMC (Project Management Committee) of the Weex project was not active enough, the Apache incubator initiated a vote on the Weex retirement process. In the end, the Weex project failed to graduate from the Apache incubator.

Wu Sheng, director of ASF and founder of Apache SkyWalking, lamented, "The tide of joining the foundation has faded, and some open source projects have begun to fail."

Jiang Ning, an ASF incubator mentor and the initiator of the Apache Beijing local community, said: "When donating a project to ASF, you need to determine the results you want. If it is only to obtain the "certification" of the foundation and not to make efforts to build the community, Then you will not be able to build a sustainable OSS project."

After knowing the question "How do you think Weex failed to graduate from Apache Incubator?" Jiang Ning made the following reply:

I sent the polling email, and the obvious reason for my retirement is that the project is not active enough (what happened without Apache on the mailing list did not happen). If you check the previous dev emails, you can find that the community reports that the IPMC Chair has urged many times have not been submitted, and several improvement suggestions have been made before, but many PPMC members are not active, causing the project to be released. There are not enough people to vote.

As a mentor of the Weex project, I also regret that this should be the first retired project in my hands.

ASF project incubation process

The ASF incubator was created in 2002 to support and encourage new projects. As of November 2019, ASF incubator has helped 315 projects, of which more than 200 projects graduated successfully, and more than 300 mentors participated in guiding and supporting incubation projects.

The responsibilities of the incubator include:

  • Screen the letter of intent regarding the creation of a new project or sub-project;
  • Help create new projects and the infrastructure needed for their operations;
  • Supervise and guide the incubated communities to help create an open cultural atmosphere;
  • Evaluate the maturity of the incubation project and decide whether to promote it to a formal project/sub-project status, otherwise if the project fails, exit.

The overall process of ASF project incubation is as follows:


Image source: https://alc-beijing.github.io/alc-site/post/asf_incubator_process/

In the later stage of the incubation stage, the incubator community needs to vote according to the actual situation of the project to decide whether the project should graduate or withdraw from the incubator. The evaluation criteria are mainly based on two:

  1. Whether the project increases the diversity of its contributors;
  2. Whether the project can operate well in accordance with the elite rules established by the foundation ( https://www.apache.org/foundation/how-it-works.html#meritocracy)

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