NoSQL Zone is brought to you in partnership with:

Bradley Holt is a web developer, entrepreneur, community facilitator, speaker, and an author. He is the co-founder of Found Line, a creative studio with capabilities in web development, web design, and print design. He is a Board Member at Vermont Community Access Media, a non-profit community media and technology center. He is a minor contributor of source code and bug reports to Zend Framework and an active member of the PHP community. He organizes the Burlington, Vermont PHP Users Group where he is a regular speaker and is involved with helping to organize other technology community events such as Vermont Code Camp. He has spoken at (or will be speaking at) SXSW Interactive, OSCON, OSCON Data, the jQuery Conference, and ZendCon. He is the author of Writing and Querying MapReduce Views in CouchDB and Scaling CouchDB, both published by O’Reilly Media. He blogs at and can be found on Twitter as @BradleyHolt. Bradley is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 17 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

The Future of CouchDB and Couchbase Server

  • submit to reddit

First of all, don’t panic. The Apache CouchDB project is thriving. There are plenty of core contributors who are dedicated to the project. If you’re using CouchDB, you’re fine. If you’re considering using CouchDB, you’ll be fine. CouchDB has a bright future ahead of it. Couchbase has repeatedly said that they’re not the CouchDB company, so this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.

My interpretation of this announcement is that CouchDB is forking. Going forward, you’ll have two choices, either Apache CouchDB or Couchbase Server. The road map for Apache CouchDB will continue to be determined by community consensus. The road map for Couchbase Server will be determined by Couchbase, the company.

CouchDB has two futures: CouchDB and Couchbase Server. Traditionally, forking a project in this manner has been considered a Bad Thing. From The Jargon File entry for forked:

An open-source software project is said to have forked or be forked when the project group fissions into two or more parts pursuing separate lines of development (or, less commonly, when a third party unconnected to the project group begins its own line of development). Forking is considered a Bad Thing — not merely because it implies a lot of wasted effort in the future, but because forks tend to be accompanied by a great deal of strife and acrimony between the successor groups over issues of legitimacy, succession, and design direction. There is serious social pressure against forking. As a result, major forks (such as the Gnu-Emacs/XEmacs split, the fissionings of the 386BSD group into three daughter projects, and the short-lived GCC/EGCS split) are rare enough that they are remembered individually in hacker folklore.

In my humble opinion, forking should no longer be considered a Bad Thing. Distributed revision control systems, such as Git, have made it much easier to merge changes back-and-forth between forked projects. If an individual or organization wants to take a project in a different direction, great! It sounds like Couchbase Server will be designed to meet a set of needs that are not being met by CouchDB. If so, a fork is perfectly appropriate as now both sets of needs can be met.

Published at DZone with permission of Bradley Holt, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)


Gregory Pierce replied on Fri, 2012/01/06 - 12:12pm

I don't agree entirely with you. Forking IS bad as it definitely blunts the momentum and acceptance of a project for all the reasons you named. While DVCS makes it possible for the projects to be more easily developed, you still have the crushing pain of the projects not sharing a common vision, having to worry about whether or not the commercial version is adequately supported with people actually associated on the project, the economics of customers overridding the vision of the community, etc.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.