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The State of CouchDB - Jan Lehnardt’s Comment

Jan Lehnardt posted a long reply to my comments on the State of CouchDB. I thought many would benefit from promoting it to a real post (with Jan’s permission). Before handing it over to Jan, I want to thank him for taking the time to clarify some of the things. I also want to be clear that I still stand by all my comments. Now, to Jan Lehnardt:

Hey Alex,

you are of course correct and I stand by my post. Let me explain the discrepancy.

The post is a summary of my notes for my opening talk of CouchDB Conf that I ran in Berlin in January. The target audience are the people in the actual audience. There are people who build CouchDB, people who help out with CouchDB, people who use CouchDB and a few people who want to know what’s up with CouchDB. By and large though, these are what I’d call “CouchDB People”.

You interpret the post as if it were for a general public audience and it is entirely my fault making that not more clear in the opening of my post.

To your notes:

  • Confusion: spot on, our bad, mistakes were made, it’s gonna take time to get sorted.

  • passive aggressive style: sorry if that read this way, it was definitely not intended. It was to highlight that there are people who absolutely love what CouchDB does. It isn’t a statement about quantities, which your note about “your numbers” implies. I’m not interested in discussing numbers, but I understand that people have turned away for good reasons. — Consider being an enthusiast, and you go to a conference of like-minded people and the project lead gives a talk and says, “people like you are passionate”. “Fuck yeah I am passionate” you think, or say, and get a good vibe going at the conference. (For CouchDB fans, it was really good times).

  • list of features: good stuff on there, but none of that matters until it ships. This is for people on the inside to see what we are working towards and get them rallied up to help and contribute. You assessment that the “real” features are in the gist is misguided, but I chalk that up to differing opinions, no harm done.

  • *ouch projects: hell yeah I am excited to finally fulfil the original promise of CouchDB from fucking six years ago. The thing to highlight here isn’t that “boo a bunch of things that rhyme with ouch”, but that we are starting to see a production-ready ecosystem of a true open source data sync solution that bloody works. — I agree with you that branding/communication is key here, and that there is a lot to be done.

  • facts matter / “came out on top: nope”: again spot on, but this is where I really wished you had given me shout before posting this. Maybe next time, you should still have my number. Your assessment that we did not come out on top is completely correct, if you look at it from a general public point of view. It’d be odd to deny the facts. But again, this isn’t meant as a post that says “hey everyone, look how great CouchDB is doing”, because a) CouchDB isn’t and b) the intended audience is not everybody. What I did meant to point out that the open source project is aware of the challenges it is facing and is doing its utmost to set everything up so things can be resolved. We spent twelve months in relative obscurity preparing many things that are starting to see the light of day now, but most of it in the future. Only when we delivered on all of that, we can look at the facts again and see how CouchDB is doing. I am confident that it’ll look good, but there is a lot to be done until then. The “coming out on top” is a comment on that the core of the project and its community are strong, and that we are in a position to turn the boat back to former and further glory and not that we are somehow deceived by our own filter bubble and believe that all is well when it isn’t.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to explain things. I think your assessment of CouchDB in general of the past years has been spot on and your current criticisms are also accurate and well received, it’s just that you got the intended audience for my post wrong, which I didn’t make very clear to the casual observer.

Original title and link: The State of CouchDB - Jan Lehnardt’s Comment (NoSQL database©myNoSQL)