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To: gentoo-nfp@g.o
From: Paul de Vrieze <pauldv@g.o>
Subject: Re: Summary of NFP options
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 2004 22:53:49 +0200
On Wednesday 14 April 2004 16:28, Koon wrote:
> As a new Gentoo developer but with a little experience of management of
> open projects, here is my opinion on the subject.
>
>
> 1- On NFP
> ---------
>
> I was still recently a member of Gentoo user base, and I think what the
> user base wants is be sure Gentoo will be there tomorrow and will be
> free (as in beer and as in freedom). The average user probably also
> wants to have more leverage on the direction it's heading. The developer
> wants to make sure his work will not be stolen by a dark corporate
> conspiracy and will remain free.
>
> My experience shows that true democracy in open projects is not viable.
> When truly implemented, it's an illusion or/and a innovation killer.
> Resources are limited, choices must be made, conflicts must be resolved,
> someone must have final word. Management is a vertical thing, not an
> horizontal one. There must be a benevolent dictator or a small group of
> managers. That doesn't seem right, but it's the only effective way. What
> if the manager(s) does not follow the will of the community ? What if he
> becomes a bad dictator, oppressing his people ? The open source
> ecosystem has its answer : the project can be forked. The current lead
> should do his best to avoid that, change his views, step down and let
> another lead take over. But there always is this ultimate solution. It's
> a painful process but ultimately the community will choose. They will
> vote with their feet.
>
> So I think the best is a closed model. Since it's more or less the way
> it works for now, I think the community can accept it. As long as the
> the main goal ('forever free') is clearly built-in.
>
> A lot of devs are here because they love Gentoo's way : technical
> issues, not political issues. A lot of devs will leave (and are leaving)
> if political issues take over. It's the midlife management crisis for
> the Gentoo project, we won't go through unaffected. But hopefully we
> will go through stronger and more effective.

One of the crises of growth, take any organization book and they are in there. 
But indeed hopefully we will grow stronger and find our own, gentoo, 
solution.

>
> Gentoo is a lot of things. To ensure that the open source ecosystem can
> be applied to it, we must consider them separately. Each could have its
> own lead and fork possibility :
>
> - Gentoo is portage
> The portage technology is the core of the Gentoo system. It's difficult
> to change without changing the ebuild tree, but could be changed.
>
> - Gentoo is a tree of packages using portage
> The official portage tree with its arches, ebuilds, stable keywords.
> Alternative/additional portage trees can exist.
>
> - Gentoo is a distribution using the portage tree
> A distribution is a little more than a package tree : it has releases,
> security updates, installation ISOs, a mirror network... Closely related
> to the precedent, but could be separated from it.
>
> - Gentoo is a helpful community using the distribution
> The forums and the mailing-lists are also what makes Gentoo a success. A
> lot of users of others distributions find the Gentoo forums more useful
> than their own dist forums. A fork at community level is probably not
> possible.
>
> Should a single NFP cover the whole thing ? Or should you have a portage
> open source project, a tree+distribution NFP, and a community with its
> own hierarchy of moderators ?

For me, gentoo is a philosophy. It is a way of handling problems, it is a way 
of having optimal choice. For me the combination of the features, including 
the openness of the comunity makes gentoo what it is. This gave me the desire 
to be part of it. As such I don't think that they can be separated.

>
>
> 3- on Coop
> ----------
>
> I think the coop idea is very interesting and innovative. But I also
> think it can easily be separated from the NFP/Management issues. The
> coop(s) decide where money is spent. The university-driven coop(s) can
> fund a particular developer if they want his particular work to advance
> full-time. The coop(s) don't have to have the same lead as the NFP(s).
> If they don't like the way it goes, they can just cut the money flow and
> induce a fork by funding a parallel project. Vote using their wallet.

I like the idea too. It makes a lot of sense, but the coop should be a 
separate entity. It should have it's own goals and policies. While the coop 
("oss support foundation") would be an important source of income for the NFP 
"gentoo foundation" should be created as soon as possible as grinding out the 
goals and policies of the coop will probably still take quite a while.

>
>
> Conclusion
> ----------
>
> I think we can have a global solution with a distribution (under one or
> several NFP projects with closed leadership), a community not directly
> depending on the distribution (that can choose with their feet between
> forks) and separate coop(s) (that can influence where it goes by using
> its money). I think I rephrase what klieber already said, but I like to
> be verbose, despite my bad English :)

I'm not a native English speaker, but I don't think your English is bad at 
all. Besides that, I actually agree with your points, they make a lot of 
sense.

Paul

-- 
Paul de Vrieze
Gentoo Developer
Mail: pauldv@g.o
Homepage: http://www.devrieze.net
Attachment:
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Replies:
RE: Summary of NFP options
-- Daniel Robbins
References:
FW: Summary of NFP options
-- Daniel Robbins
Summary of NFP options
-- Koon
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