A recent post came across the Xalan-Dev mailing list.
Despite asking several times on your private PMC list, the board had not received a report from this project since a few months. As a result, we are considering moving the project to the attic, unless someone steps in quickly to fix things.
Xalan-J active development has been pretty much non-existent since 2.7.1 was released several years ago. Xalan is one of those projects where some lessons on project diversity can be learned. Xalan-J was primarily staffed by IBM committers when it was donated to Apache. It was maintained mostly by those same committers over the years, but there appeared to be no active involvement from the group to diversify the committer base. As IBM’s needs changed, the commitment to Xalan wained. Xalan-J is also only able to handle XSLT 1.0 and XPath 1.0 specifications. Meanwhile the XSLT world has moved onto XSLT 2.0 and XPATH 2.0, and soon XSLT 3.0 and XPATH 3.0 will be a reality.
From an open source perspective, I strongly believe there needs to be another alternative to XSLT processor than just Saxon for the java crowd. Both IBM and Oracle have commercial XSLT 2.0 development (which by the way, I’m pretty sure the IBM implementation is based off the Xalan code base for XSLT 2.0 that was started but never offically released). So, if Xalan does go to the archives, it may be a perfect opportunity for a GitHub Fork of the Xalan project, to see if it can be resurrected a bit. There is a small community out there that is interested in making Xalan-J XSLT 2.0 compatible, but without active committers on the Apache project to apply patches, and nominate new committers, the project is all but dead at Apache.
So projects, take note, making sure you have good project diversity, it will help your project survive longer term, when interests of one part of the community turns in a different direction. Xalan can still be saved at Apache, it just is going to take the community to be a bit more vocal and want to save it. If not, it’s free game to be forked and maintained elsewhere and maybe eventually donated back to Apache or another Foundation.