Re: Discussing issues

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Havoc Pennington writes:
 > The way I would justify any decision for how to draw these lines would
 > be to look at whether it was working in other projects, whether it was
 > working in XFree86, and for areas where it isn't working, I'd try to
 > understand specific reasons why not.
 > 
 > When I say "working" I mean in terms of results. One metric is how
 > efficiently the technical aspects of the project are moving; are all
 > submodules covered; is there steady progress; do bugs/patches get
 > handled in a timely fashion. Another metric is whether the project is
 > able to handle personality conflicts or issues such as company
 > involvement without creating technical problems or endless
 > distraction. Does the organization have confidence that it is fair,
 > and that a company can't override the fairness? Another metric is
 > whether non-code contributors such as docs, i18n, bugzilla triagers,
 > web site maintainers, etc. are effectively used. Another is ability to
 > make and execute shared decisions such as releases. A key
 > XFree86-specific metric for me is whether it's driving much-needed new
 > library APIs and extensions in a convincing fashion, as that's my pet
 > agenda. And so on, you can think of lots of stuff, much of it has been
 > brought up. XFree86 is good on some metrics and bad on others.
 > 
 > To me the key point about a working project is that it's scalable.
 > Scalable means you are set up to take advantage of the efforts of
 > hundreds of people, with many different interests, talents,
 > personalities, and motivations. While at the same time, keeping the
 > ability to make shared decisions when necessary.
 > 
 > I'm not thinking of this in a priori moral terms, I'm just looking at
 > what outputs we get for certain inputs, based on the empirical
 > experience that's out there.
 > 
 > One random thought: so far XFree86 core team members have only really
 > mentioned the Linux kernel as an example of how other projects
 > work. I'd caution you that the kernel is a huge anomaly, it's the
 > freak in the list. And despite being a poster child, the kernel does
 > poorly on some of the metrics I listed, compared to other projects.
 > 

See, that's the point: it is very hard to get everything everything
from an open source project. You will always find areas a project is
good and and other it performs in poorly. If things become unbearably 
bad they will usually be fixed. However this happens without having to
change governance.
You only have very limited control over people and how they schedule 
their resources. You have to use their personal desire and their ego 
as an incentive to drive things forward. 

This will naturally limit what you can expect. Still open source 
projects are - for their limited resources - extremely good compared 
to some corporate structures.
Don't expect things to work out better with a 'community governance'
in place. Not unless you can provide proof.

Egbert.
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