Daily Archives: December 5, 2006

Apachecon: raising the support issue?

A month ago I highlighted a support problem with Apache, in a deliberately-provocative article in ElReg. That provoked quite a lot of feedback. We have a problem.

At the root of the problem is inevitably-inadequate communication between some of the parties involved. So, could ApacheCon be a kick-start for building bridges, and finding solutions?

Idea: a panel-discussion on the issue. I’m thinking through how this might look, and participants will inevitably depend on who is going to be there and wants to take part, though I do have a few candidates in mind.

The format would be mini-presentations (5-10 mins), each followed by discussion of matters arising. Presentations and potentially-difficult questions to be circulated in advance; chairman to disallow any undisclosed hostile questions/ambushes.

Here are a few thoughts. Subject to extensive revision, etc, etc.

Dramatis Personae

0: Chairman: introduces the speakers; guides the debate, but doesn’t get involved in it.

1: Apache “Elder statesman” with a strong track record in support.

2: Debian (or Ubuntu) architect

3: Redhat Apache maintainer (or other mainstream commercial-company distributor of Apache)

4: Support Wiki/database developer/maintainer.

Scene: A conference platform 

Speaker 1: Introduces the problem

Speaker 2: Explains the Debian packaging and in particular its rationale.

Discussion: the merits of Debian’s approach. Is there mileage in them working more closely with Apache? What does it look like from another distro’s PoV?

Speaker 3: more briefly explain their packaging, but focus more on how their support works and doesn’t generally fall so heavily on #apache.

Discussion: What can we learn from that?

Speaker 4: introduce the Apache support wiki, summarise the experience.

Discussion: is this a good approach? How far can/should it go in closing the problem? What else should we be doing?

Speaker 1: summing up.

I’m blogging this primarily (at this stage) for folks on #apache-helpdesk, from whom speakers 1 and 4 in the above are likely to be drawn. Thoughts on the idea? Would you (each of you who’s going to be there) wish to be involved? Of course comments from others also welcome!

ApacheCon 2007

The European ApacheCon 2007 will happen in Amsterdam at the beginning of May, and the CfP is open. I’ve submitted a modules tutorial (as given badly in 2005 and much better in 2006) for the tutorials day.

I’m also thinking about other presentations. Last year (OK this year) in Dublin I gave two, of which one went reasonably well but the other (after a sleepless night in an incredibly noisy hotel) felt garbled and unsatisfactory. I’m not returning to the same talk topics: there’s not enough that’s new on either subject to justify a new talk. But there are other subjects of interest. Stay tuned!