Bye bye Hudson, Hello Jenkins

(This post was originally made under an incorrect location, so I’m moving it here. The contents haven’t changed since its original post on Jan 11th 2011.)

As some of you may know, toward the end of the last year, Hudson project has experienced a fire drill — you can see it here, here, here, and here. In short, the issue was that Oracle was asserting a trademark right to the project name “Hudson”, and that caused some considerable concerns to the community. Since then, key community members were talking with Oracle, in an attempt to produce some kind of proposal for a stable structure and arrangement, which was then going to be proposed to the Hudson community.

And as Andrew posted in, there is an update now — the negotiation didn’t work.

The central issue was that we couldn’t convince Oracle to put the trademark under a neutral party’s custody (such as Software Freedom Conservancy), to level the playing field. In a project where the community makes commits two order of magnitudes bigger than Oracle, we felt such an arrangement is necessary to ensure that meritocracy continues to function.

Aside from this, Oracle wanted a broader change to the way the Hudson project operates, including a far more formal change review process, architectures, 3rd party dependencies and their licenses, and so on. Those policies are worth discussing on their own, but it was very risky idea to have someone external to the project draw them up. Instead, in a normal OSS project, such processes would normally come out from the dev community itself, based on how it has been functioning. This is where I felt that the lack of “level playing field” I mentioned above is already affecting us. (And on that note, there’s another asymmetry about the CLAs, that we haven’t even touched on.)

All of those still might not have been a show-stopper if we felt that there is a genuine trust between us, but in this case, we just failed to build such a relationship, even after a month long conversation.

So in the end, we’d like to propose the community that we regrettably abandon the name “Hudson” and rename to “Jenkins” — it’s another English-sounding butler name that doesn’t collide with any software project as far as I can tell. This option was something we’d have liked to avoid, for all the obvious reasons, but I’m convinced that for a long-term health of the project, this is the only choice. It makes me sad at a personal level too, as I named this project Hudson back in 2004, and cherished it ever since. But the storm is gathering over the horizon, and the time to act is now.

The details of the proposal is again in the posting at Hudson Labs, so I won’t repeat it here. One thing I wanted to stress is that we’d like to move Jenkins under the umbrella of SFC, a neutral overlord that doesn’t concern itself with the daily technical matters of the project, just like how Sun was. That’s the model under which Hudson has grown, and I think it still fits us well.

There will be a poll running to get the broader community concensus. Please give us your support, and please let your voice be heard.

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