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To: Daniel Robbins <drobbins@g.o>
From: Stewart Honsberger <blkdeath@g.o>
Subject: Re: [gentoo-core] To vote or not to vote
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 2004 03:16:38 -0400
Daniel Robbins wrote:

With my busy work week, I didn't think I'd have time to join the -nfp 
mailing list/discussion, but it seems important enough to take time for, 
so I think I'll CC the discussion there and take part.

> 1) Set up the NFP with lots of elections to ensure fair representation
> 	Downside: NFP can be co-opted by external entities
> 	Counter-argument: Probably won't happen

Not to fan the 'black helicopter' flames or anything, but I'm seeing a 
lot more IBM Linux commercials and Gentoo Linux is rapidly becomming an 
enterprise level product. That means Gentoo will soon (if it isn't 
already) be a dot on Microsoft's bottom line.

{putting down tin foil hat}

> 2) Set up the NFP with no elections but with a "permanent" board of
> directors
> 	Downside: This model isn't exactly "fair" or representative
> 	Counter-argument: Developers and users can always vote with their
> feet (ie leave the 	project or stop using Gentoo) and this is enough to
> keep the board accountable.

This already seems like a bad ultimatum to be made. Sure, open projects 
thrive on forks - in the ideal. In reality it often works to dillute 
efforts and developer talents. Could each herd continue to sucessfully 
handle all bugs and still have time to create the same calibre of 
enhancements with half their numbers?

I also don't think it's a good thing for our outward appearance, and 
could easily be misconstrued as "If you don't like it, leave." (the 
other side of the coin; especially visible for a dev/manager on the 
losing end of one of the aforementioned conflicts).

> 3) Set up the NFP with some elections and some appointed positions
> 	Downside: This requires complex rules to be written to achieve this
> balance, creating a bureaucracy, and the process of determining what rules 
 > should be used can be quite confusing. And the result may be a
 > dysfunctional organization mired in procedural details.
> 	Counter-argument: Maybe this isn't so bad and we can afford to wait
> a few extra months on the NFP to figure out all these rules.

That's sounding a lot like FidoNet and "Policy 4". Delaying progress in 
the name of politics is, IME, a Very Bad Thing<tm>.

Integrating the Internet, and mail transfer va the same (vice dial-up 
modems) was fought and delayed so long it had to be subversively 
implemented by a splinter group being challenged all along the way. By 
then, however, it was a band-aid for a broken arm. Nobody wanted to join 
a dying network.

Stewart Honsberger
Gentoo Developer

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Updated Jun 17, 2009

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