As a follow up to the prior post about Xalan, a recent posting to the xalan-dev mailing list, the Apache board may have no choice but to move the project to the attic.
The main problem is that at Apache you need three active PMC members to do anything on a project. As it stands right now, Xalan only has one semi-active PMC member, and no active committers. Without active committers, or new people stepping up to become PMC members it is just inevitable that Xalan will go to the attic.
This itself is not necessarily a bad thing. It does give an opportunity outside of Apache for those interested in advancing the code in another form. There has been a lot of talk about the importance of community. Community not only includes users (which there are a LOT of users of Xalan, as a fork is included in OpenJDK), but it is also important to nurture and recruite new committers to your open source project.
Wayne Beaton from the the Eclipse Foundation wrote an excellent article, “Community Doesn’t Come for Free“. He is right. A community needs to be continually nurtured. This means both the user community, as well as continually looking for the next set of committers. This is especially important when dealing with a corporate backed set of committers. Eventually the interests of that corporation will change, and most of the committers will leave as well. Corporate backing is no guarantee of longer term viability.
Diversification of your committer base, can help with the long term viability and evolution of the code base. It does not guarantee it will survive and thrive, but it can help.