Re: Hello World!
Jeremiah raised some common concerns about SPDX that, as an early adopter, I wanted to share my experiences.
>> while SPDX looks great, its not widely adopted. Debian has its own format and Yocto is using SPDX
>> version 1.1. Its hard to use, has numerous supported versions (1.1, 1.2 and 2.0 in development)
SPDX is a specification and not a tool. It is analogous to PDF, which is also a specification. Specification details are largely relevant to tool developers and not so much to the tool end users. Most of us view PDF files using one tool or another, but very few of us know what the specifications looks like (nor should we need to). Therefore updates to a specification largely only impact tool developers. Adobe released multiple versions of the PDF spec over the course of the first few years. This is to be expected.
>> Being Java based (there is Go code and python code now) its better suited for those working in a
>> Windows environment and while I'm certain that is a highly lucrative market,
>> for Free Software developers it tends to be anathema.
Since SPDX is a specification I assume you are referring to tool support. I understand your concerns here. Additional tool support is a place where SPDX could benefit.
>> For example, while SPDX looks great, its not widely adopted.
Although the jury is still out on SPDX, it is progressing through the typical stages of technology adoption as described in Geoffrey Moore’s entrepreneurial bible: “Crossing the Chasm”. At Wind River we see early adopter participation rapidly increasing. We have seen a tripling in customer usage over the past 12 months which includes traffic to our free SPDX file generation website (spdx.windriver.com). Similarly, PDF too got off to a slow start, yet triumphed in the end.
>> and feels a bit like a solution looking for a problem.
Wind River’s adoption was heavily driven by a mission critical problem we faced. Wind River offers a Linux Distro kit consisting of more than 1000 software packages plus a kernel. In the beginning, customers demanded contractually that we deliver “complete” licensing information using their “customized” format. This was a nightmare. We were required to rummage through millions of source files to grab the specified licensing information to be put into the customer’s “custom” format. After we preformed this task it was repeated by other organizations downstream in the supply chain. We understood this cost could be significantly mitigated if there was a commonly accepted file format we could use to record and exchange licensing information. SPDX directly solved this problem. We also utilize SPDX data in our internal compliance program.
From: openchain-bounces@... [mailto:openchain-bounces@...] On Behalf Of Gisi, Mark
Sent: Thursday, August 28, 2014 11:40 AM
To: Jeremiah Foster; openchain@...
Subject: Re: [OpenChain] Hello World!
>>> Secondly, I have some concern around cadence.
I am ok with either a weekly or biweekly cadence.
>>> Lastly, I'd strongly urge all of us to kill our darlings. We need to not try and chose technology winners.
I generally agree. One point I expressed at Tuesday’s meeting was that we need to focus on requirements (the what) and not specific processes or tools (the how). Different organizations will likely want to invest differently in processes and tools. As long as an organization can satisfy a standard set of requirements they should be good. We might provide example implementations or perhaps recommend certain technologies, but the effort should largely be requirements driven, and process and tool agnostic.
Taking off my OpenChain hat and putting on my SPDX hat - being one of the largest producers and consumers of SPDX data and an active participant in the SPDX working groups, I feel somewhat obliged to provide additional clarification on SPDX. I will do so in a separate email thread to avoid distracting from the spirit of your points.
Mark Gisi | Wind River | Senior Intellectual Property Manager
Tel (510) 749-2016 | Fax (510) 749-4552
Firstly, and most importantly, I'd really like to thank those who've done the organization and brainstorming to get this list and idea off the ground. I know there are a lot of people behind the scenes at the Linux Foundation and other places who've done a lot of important work. Thank you.
Secondly, I have some concern around cadence. Telephone meetings once every week require momentum, otherwise its just a bit of conversation and while that is always good, it doesn't show much progress. I'd recommend once every other week unless its demonstrated that more is needed. If we stick to once a week, the project will likely have to have some project management -- milestones, deliverables, deadlines. There are already a lot of resources for people to discuss compliance, FSF compliance lists, FSFE legal, Debian-legal, etc. We don't need another list, we need codified methodology that's widely accepted both de facto and de jure.
Lastly, I'd strongly urge all of us to kill our darlings. We need to not try and chose technology winners. For example, while SPDX looks great, its not widely adopted. Debian has its own format and Yocto is using SPDX version 1.1. Its hard to use, has numerous supported versions (1.1, 1.2 and 2.0 in development) and feels a bit like a solution looking for a problem. Being Java based (there is Go code and python code now) its better suited for those working in a Windows environment and while I'm certain that is a highly lucrative market, for Free Software developers it tends to be anathema. If SPDX is the right and only ISO certifiable solution, we ought to be able to demonstrate that in detail and with strong technical and legal support.
To be successful, you'll have to be widely adopted. This is the exact same measure of success FOSS software projects have to meet. The recent migration of systemd into Debian forcing Ubuntu to migrate away from Upstart ought to be a cautionary tale: forks often fail.
Please don't fork the compliance process. Please make it better, standardized, and transparent.
Jeremiah C. Foster
GENIVI COMMUNITY MANAGER
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