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How do you dominate an open-source Java project?

Posted by joconner on July 24, 2006 at 5:00 AM PDT

[I have edited this entry after its original post to more accurately communicate my own question and not to infer intent from the original poll.]

I think the most recent java.net poll is a carefully worded question. The author assures me that the question is not specifically about Sun, and the poll question doesn't ask about a specific project. However, I think it leads naturally to a more specific question. I could easily change the question to this:

Would you contribute to the open-source Java project (Java SE for example) even though it will be dominated by Sun?

If I understand correctly, most open source projects operate as a meritocracy, an organization in which contributors gain trust and influence in direct relation to the quality of their contributions. Contribute reliable, bug-free code, then your influence and respect increase; try to push slow, buggy bits, then you get a bad reputation, and you might not get more chances to contribute.

From a contributor's point of view, maybe nothing changes, regardless of who dominates. I dominate and control many things in my household (please don't tell my wife I said that), but I really appreciate when my kids help out. I want them to help, I beg them to help. If I had a really big house, maybe as big as Sun's house, I'd take help from almost anyone...as long as they don't hurt anything or try to rob me.

So now I have a few questions myself:

  1. What does it mean to "dominate" an open-source project anyway, specifically the open-source Java project?
  2. Who might want to hurt this project?
  3. Who might want to take it over or "dominate" outside of Sun?
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