The future of CouchDB

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… is not Damien Katz.

TL;DR

The blog post Damien Katz wrote earlier today, doesn't mean much or anything for the Apache CouchDB project (or memcache project for that matter). If anything it's a public note that Damien Katz acknowledged that he moved (on) from CouchDB to Couchbase.

Short story, long

I'm not a contributor to CouchDB by means of code, (but) I blog a lot, I maintain the FreeBSD port, wrote a book and have an opinion on many things CouchDB. I've been a CouchDB-user for something like four years (since pre-0.8 times) and a BigCouch-user (and Cloudant customer) of about 1.5-two years.

I am not sure what Damien Katz tried to achieve when he posted his message to the community and while I personally find it ignorant (to say the least), it worries me how it is perceived by the general public.

Talk is cheap

Of course it may sound like the end of the world when the creater of CouchDB quits his own project, but truth to be told, Damien Katz left CouchDB a long time ago. Couchbase moved past CouchDB long before they announced it. Basically when they started integrating Membase, though there are all kinds of notable contributions from Couchbase employees (e.g. Filipe and Jan).

Damien himself hasn't (actually) commited in over a year to CouchDB. Which makes his move no real surprise, just the way he decided to communicate surprised me. Especially since he said to have no regrets, I find the tone and statements in his blog post rather questionable. That is both from a personal and professional perspective.

I just attended a Couchbase event in Berlin last year where talks about CouchDB were given along with newer Couchbase developments. So personally, while I welcome clarity, all too sudden changes in strategy don't make me happy. If I was new to CouchDB and/or Couchbase, this would look like a headless chicken (excuse the image) and way too much drama to get into.

And on a professional level, Damien's posts invalidates the efforts of many people who both contribute and work with Apache CouchDB on a daily basis.

Then later today Damien shared this:

TIL, if you create an open source project, you should stick with it forever and ever. Family can live off unicorns and stardust. — Damien Katz

Real talk

First off, the most people in this discussion (excluding HN, of course ;-)) are actually active Open Source contributors one way or the other. Many of us have other projects (plural) besides CouchDB. It's not that we troll about something we have no idea about.

Secondly, it's not the fact that Damien left, it's how he left.

No one blames people for moving on: it happens all the time. I do it all the time — write code, push it out, move on.

If code is good enough it'll be picked up, if not, it'll rott on Github for forever. It happened to other projects and it happened to CouchDB. But why would anyone pronounce a project dead where he is not anymore invested in?

Anyway: I wish Damien good luck in the future.

So where is CouchDB at?

I wrote a blog post about the current state of CouchDB last year (2011) in early December.

A few things have changed since then:

Overall, I still see contributions from notable community members all around. Not sure if it's my own perception, but there has been more activity as of late. A new release of Apache CouchDB is just around the corner. Overall, good times for Apache CouchDB indeed.

The other thing that happened after my blog post is that Couchbase said in their 2011 review (which was published in late December) that it would officially step off Apache CouchDB and contribute documentation and OSX builds (aka CouchDBX or Couchbase Single Server) to the Apache CouchDB project.

This is great news and announcing that they will step off the turf is fine too since it clears up a couple misconceptions people may have about Apache CouchDB and the former Couchbase Single Server.

And all in, this makes Damien's blog post even more unnecessary and confusing to many users out there. Especially confusing for those who are not neck-deep in Apache CouchDB — and by that I mean: they are neither subscribed to a mailing list, take part on IRC, read the CouchDB planet or know any of the contributors directly.

In the end his blog post confuses people because it contains absolutely nothing but fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD).

Outlook

I can't reveal too much because it's not my business to announce anything — let me just say that there are good times ahead for Apache CouchDB.

Fin

I'd like to get past all the drama and re-focus on what is important: CouchDB and our data. I don't care for the rest, I want to see exciting things from Apache CouchDB in 2012.

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