@openoffice.org email forwards may be shut down soon

There are problems concerning migration of yourname@ openoffice.org, listname@
openoffice.org, and servicename@ openoffice.org. Consequently, all yourname@
openoffice.org addresses will be shut down when the migration goes into its
final stages sometime in November.

I don’t have a solution. I have an appraisal of the issue. It is something
that requires mutual understanding and, out of our mutual attention, the
prospect of a workable solution.

– Dennis E. Hamilton
tools for document interoperability, <http://nfoWorks.org/>
dennis.hamilton@acm.org gsm: +1-206-779-9430 @orcmid

DETAILS

1. The presumption is that these addresses (and sometimes the services)
cannot be preserved in the migration of the http:// *.openoffice.org
properties from Oracle custody to Apache custody, even though the domain name
can be preserved.

This is a technical capability obstacle. Volunteers on the Apache
OpenOffice.org podling are already spread too thin and priority is given to
bugzilla, the forums, the wiki, and the static content from the properties.
In addition, there is software involved that must either be migrated over or
replaced in a way that the @ openoffice.org forwarding is continued when the
migrated site goes live. That requires technical capacity along with access
to the necessary data on the existing system.

2. There is an untested presumption that it is not legal to transfer those
forwarding accounts because of rules about privacy and European trans-national
data-sharing regulations. (I am not an attorney. And I wonder how the Sun ->
Oracle transfer managed it and also wonder where the forwarding system and
data are currently operated that such conditions apply.)

3. CONSEQUENCES: If (1-2) are indeed show-stoppers, the default action is to
notify people as well as can be done and allow the accounts and e-mail
forwardings to simply expire this month.

There are 10’s of thousands (if not 100’s of thousands) of such accounts. It
does not appear possible to notify the holders of the accounts individually.

This impacts the current existence of yourname@ openoffice.org used in

– Bugzilla accounts and incident reports,
– in the historical code base change and contribution information,
– user registrations on wikis, forums, and other openoffice.org properties
– registration on ooo-dev and folks who have moved from the various
OpenOffice.org
lists to ooo-*@ i.a.o lists too,
– identification of participants in historical list-archive messages
– all other personal uses of the yourname@ openoffice.org as an identifier
or account e-mail address
– anchoring e-mail address associated public-key infrastructure certificates
and PGP
public keys
– receipt of personal e-mail via

There is speculation that the disruption of e-mail is tolerable and that most
of the current accounts have been abandoned. That view seems to ignore the
importance of these identifiers as part of the provenance structure for
contributions to the open-source project and the integrity of the code base
and related artifacts.

Personally, I’m not betting any amount that shut-down of these accounts and
the sudden loss of e-mail forwarding is so inconsequential. However, I am not
competent to contribute to a technical solution, nor is it possible for me to
be trained as some sort of hero that could pull it off in the few weeks
available for a solution.

4. WHAT’S NEEDED

A. There needs to be a clear-eyed discussion and understanding of the
enormity (or inconsequentiality) of these accounts having their forwarding
operation terminated on short notice. The options and the risks need to be
understood in the community of stakeholders and the discussion needs to held
calmly and in public. (“The way to speak to the PPMC is on ooo-dev.”)

B. The reality of any legal obstacles to the safe and private preservation of
the forwarding accounts and in-openoffice.org registrations needs to be
determined quickly. There is no point in implementing a technical solution if
that is a show-stopper. The AOOo PPMC can secure the support of the Apache
legal team to determine whether there is an acceptable way forward.

C. Individuals with technical knowledge of the current setup, its operation,
and how it is backed-up need to be identified and be available to assist those
preparing the new host setup. (This is a request for specific expertise, not
speculations on what someone else should do or not.)

D. There needs to be a non-panic approach to notifying those with myname@
openoffice.org addresses still in use. It is prudent to quickly off-load
those for personal e-mail and use as identifiers in account registrations.
There is still reason to preserve the accounts and their associations for
provenance and authenticity reasons. Success of even that much is not
assured.

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