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O'Reilly Network: Dynamics of the Apache XML Project

Jul 16, 2000, 17:25 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Edd Dumbill)

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"News over the weekend that the Apache XML project could create another parser put a few noses out of joint. The new parser project--codenamed "Spinnaker"--is aimed at learning from the experiences with Xerces (the largely IBM-contributed parser) and Crimson (the Sun-contributed parser)."

"The consequent upset and discussion highlights some interesting dynamics within the Apache XML project. Although an open source endeavor, a substantial part of the Apache XML codebase has been contributed by large vendors. IBM and Lotus in particular are responsible for the XML parser, Xerces, and the XSLT processor, Xalan. Sun also play a significant part in Apache's Java projects. Though nobody has suggested that Apache is in any way in the sway of these organizations as a consequence of their donations, it seems inevitable that the corporate and hacker cultures may well clash. This weekend seems a good example of this."

"James Davidson announced the initiative early on Saturday morning. He gave a pretty full explanation of the initiative, and set it in its context as an experimental "internal fork" which "scratches the itch" of several developers within the Apache XML project. He also mentioned that the current parser, Xerces, being optimized for JDK1.1 performs suboptimally on Hotspot, Sun's optimizing Java VM, and as a consequence of its optimization the code is hard to read. Both of these factors effectively preclude Xerces' inclusion in Sun's JDK. This only leaves Sun the option of pressing ahead integrating Crimson in their JDK. Hence the desire to create a new parser under the Apache umbrella, which Sun would ultimately integrate."

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