May 5, 2011

The Butler Dispute, Round 2

Nearly 4 month have passed by since the renaming of Hudson project to Jenkins, which marks the climax of the dispute between the old Hudson developers and the guys from Oracle and Sonatype.

Jenkins has made a great job since then, delivering 15 releases in a weekly schedule. Build number 1.400 was hit in March, wich is not a particular significant release but shows how well things go on. The way from Hudson to Jenkins is as easy as it could be, and it seems like many users are going it.

Indeed there are a lot of reasons why to choose Jenkins over Hudson, just to name a few:

  • Support by the fabulous Hudson core development team – with Kohsuke Kawaguchi, the creator of Hudson, and other brave guys.
  • Strong community activity – measured in figures like commit counts and mailing list traffic, see this post for some numbers.
  • Most of the plugins moved over to Jenkins – 5 of the top 5 and 19 of the top 25 plugins continue primary development with Jenkins, see here for some statistics.
  • High quality and regular releases – the weekly schedule led to 15 high quality releases, each of them providing a couple of bug fixes and new features (see changelog). Moreover, a few weeks ago, Jenkins governance board proposed to start another release line for most stable baselines with a 3-months schedule.

Even the Hudson board seems to have observed that Jenkins outperforms Hudson in many ways, at least they are thinking about "how to make it more attractive for plug-in developers to support both Hudson and Jenkins" (see this message on Hudson-Dev list). The author's perception is that "Hudson also appears to be slowing down development wise" and "another place where Hudson appears to be slowing down, is when you compare changelogs". Some of the ideas deal with copying approaches that are working fine for the Jenkins project.

Hence, it seems Jenkins is the winner of the battle and has in fact benefited from the fork.... until today.

Because today, Oracle submitted a proposal to move Hudson to the Eclipse Foundation. This is, well, somewhat astonishing since that means Oracle will lose both control and the Hudson trademarks – which was the main background of the original dispute with the community.

As part of the proposal, other big players have announced support for the project, including IBM, VMware, Tasktop and Intuit. That means, moving the Hudson project to Eclipse will for sure result in higher attention and more resources (developers).

Does this change anything? Will Jenkins be the unlucky loser, after all? I don't think so. The heavens didn't really smile on Hudson since the fork (kind of bad karma) and I don't see why the move to Eclipse should change that. It's all about people, not code.

Moreover, Jenkins has been invited by Sonatype to reunite with Hudson. But... why should they do that? Jenkins is a vibrant project today, so what is the benefit? Also, there have been some deep disappointments on personal level that are not forgotten yet.

It's going to be interesting!

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