On Fri, 22 Sep 2006 08:55:14 -0400, Seemant Kulleen wrote:
> On Fri, 2006-09-22 at 12:29 +0000, Peter wrote:
>> We can disagree on that point. All distros are businesses. Users are
>> customers. No users, no distro.
> That is not strictly true. You can have a distro without users --
> nobody but you would be using it -- it's still a distro. It all depends
> on what you expect out of the project. I think Sejo's got the right
> idea this time -- this distro is just a community, and that's how it's
> run (well, it's run more like a commune, but anyway). If it were run
> like a business, the behaviour would be a lot different (and a lot more
> closed). For starters, there would actually be a leadership situation
> in place. You can argue that Gentoo *began* its life as a business, but
> the past three years have been far removed from that paradigm.
And, IMHO, that's a problem. A business, per se, does not necessarily mean
for profit or even to generate revenues. However, one may argue that a
business should provide a service or manufacture something -- even if for
That said, the community aspect of gentoo, while altruistic, has its
problems when it comes to adjudicating disputes or greenlighting projects.
Look at the chaos with Seeds! Some very vocal opponents, vocal supporters.
People advocating a Glep, others against it. Problem is, no leader can
or does say anything to squelch the dispute and allow the issue to either
move on or go completely unofficial.
That the dispute remains unresolved causes ill feelings to linger, allows
the people on either side to dig in to their respective positions harder
and looks plain dumb. Good points have been raised on either side,
although there are some very strong voices that seem to dominate the
discussion. However, those voices are NOT from the council. Do those
voices have the authority to change policy? Make policy? No.
Having a democratic organization is great. Having a community-run distro
is great. However, it's a little utopian and unrealistic when situations
like this arise. You need a group to lay down the law and establish
control. Otherwise, you may find yourself in a situation where good people
with differing points of view just get fed up and leave the fold. That
would be a loss for everyone.
Similarly, you cannot allow certain individuals with little or no standing
to try and dictate what policy vis a vis a proposed project should be.
Otherwise, you end up in a real mess.
I once served on a board with 39 members. It was a national association
charged with pr and marketing of it's core service. The 39 members came
from important companies from around the nation each in this business.
Despite the wonderful intentions of the board -- to promote our industry,
lobby the government (state, local, and federal), assist smaller players
-- agreement on even the most minor items took forever. Ultimately, after
a few years, the board was reduced to 13 and became more productive.
When new ideas are proposed and developed, gentoo's leadership must be
involved from the beginning. This will head off these 100 thread
flamefests, allow project originators to know where they stand, and allow
those who disagree to know that there is authority.
You cannot allow things to get out of hand like they do. Everyone here
obviously wants to make gentoo better. However, NOT everyone has the right
to do so. NOT everyone has veto power or authority to approve.
That's what's missing from this process. I think the council has been far
too quiet and policy far too vague which makes new ideas so difficult and
You can't have a socialist model for a business. It simply does not work.
A union cannot run an auto company. You need leadership. Gentoo cannot be
run by 100 developers concurrently (yes, I know there are 300, but how
many of those are actually contributing?). There has to be a chain of
command. Otherwise, you are rudderless.
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