What about a Kotlin Foundation?


#1

I am not sure if this has been discussed yet or not, but even if JetBrains is very open-minded regarding to community feedbacks about Kotlin, I would like to ask what you think about creating/joining a foundation to own Kotlin assets and evolve the language. JetBrains would obviously be a major contributor, but not the only one. I think such strategic move could enable a wider adoption, make Kotlin a safer bet for long-term, and allow more community driven contributions.

While I understand this is difficult to do in the early days of a language, maybe that could be a nice strategic move for Kotlin 2.0, and enable partnership with companies like Google (for Android) or external significant contributions. That would also be a significant advantage over Swift.

What I have in mind is something like Cloud Foundry Foundation, or Rust RFC process (similar to KEEP but with a lot of external contributions).

Any thoughts?


#2

I’m still undecided on what to think of this.

While there is great benefit in community driven processes there can also be some considerable drawbacks. I feel Jetbrains has kept, and continues to keep, the language very lean. It turned Kotlin into the pragmatic language it is today.

I wonder if a more community driven process will be able to maintain this pragmatic focus. The forum, slack channel and youtrack are full of new feature requests. Everybody is “missing” some feature from their favourite language, most notably from people with a Scala background. I fear that less influence from Jetbrains might turn Kotlin in another feature bloated language.


#3

That’s the number one reason why JB has always declared that Kotlin is “their” language. They have a vision for it, and they want to stay true to that vision.

That said, I’m not sure a proper community board would harm this vision. While it is true that everybody is missing something in the language, if you look at most feature request, most answers are against said feature.
JB’s vision is shared by most of Kotlin’s power users and very few feature requests are actually making consensus. Most of those are either in KEEP or announced either in rodmap or at least being looked into.

For that, I’m not sure. Most of Kotlin’s fame comes really from it’s awesomeness. People use Kotlin because it’s definitely the right choice given their needs and alternatives. I don’t really see what a comunity board would add to that. There are a lot of conferences and “evangelism” done by community members already.

I must remind you of the Node.js / IO.js fiasco… Or the fact that Java’s iterations are so long mainly because of the bloated JCP.

That is probably true :slight_smile:

What I think (and have long said) is that I whish JB had a better formal communication with the Kotlin’s community.
It would be great to see more engagement from the community into Kotlin’s future.
It would be great for JB themselves to have a “consulting board” able to summarize what’s important for the community, what we feel are the priority, and how we wish the language to evolve.
Have you noticied that the KEEP repository has been open for 7 weeks, and that the only proposals (both accepted into the process or currently in pull request) are the work of JB workers ?
No community member has drafted a proposal because while the community feels empowered into kotlin’s evangelism, it does not feels the same in Kotin’s future.
A community board would definitely be a good step toward that goal, provided that JB finds the “courage” of letting their baby go… just a little :stuck_out_tongue:.


#4

We are discussing these issues here at JetBrains. On the one hand, we see that some customers would feel more comfortable seeing Kotlin backed by a Foundation, not a private company. On the other hand, we understand the risks of design-by-committee and similar issues arising.

KEEP is very young, so I think we can make it a lot more lively than it is now. Whether we need a Community Board or some other formal entitlement for potential contributors to the design process, is an open question for now. In any case, Kotlin 1.1 will be designed under KEEP (that we plan to improve as we go). By the beginning of 1.2 design cycle, we’ll probably make up our minds on the matter of more radical improvements.

Will keep you folks updated.