Moving Forward (WAS: Governance and responsibility)
prabhaka at apple.com
Mon Sep 26 17:15:33 UTC 2005
On Sep 25, 2005, at 7:19 PM, Eric S. Raymond wrote:
> Brian Behlendorf <brian at collab.net>:
>> On Sun, 25 Sep 2005, Eric S. Raymond wrote:
>>> How about this: *you* tell *me* what would be acceptable as a metric
>>> of the community's trust in us as gatekeepers and spokespeople.
>> An OSI public membership process and elections for the board might
> We're working on that. It's the next major item after license
Great comments, Brian & Eric.
Can I make a suggestion? While I realize that license-proliferation
is front-burner (sigh), how about we charter a small working group to
start a back-burner discussion of a *process* for determining
membership/election "policy?" Not to write the policy, but collect
data about what that policy should look like, and how it should be
ratified. That would give us a "safety valve" here on license-
discuss, by providing a place for people who have grievances
(legitimate or not) to vent -- and for us to capture their issues
and concerns for future reference. The name "osi-policy-discuss"
sounds good to me.
Surely there must be other board members (besides Eric) who can spend
some time on this, since I think we all agree that it is important
(even if we disagree about how urgent). And no -- I am *NOT*
volunteering this time. :-)
Let's be fair: governance is hard, but its also really important:
when it fails, things get ugly. Over the last several years, OSI has
done a masterful job of creating a coherent community voice out of an
inchoate mass of individual software projects. The informal
governance mechanisms in place worked remarkably well for the "first
generation" problems, but (as we've seen) are starting to fall apart
under the weight of the second-generation problems they are now
attempting to tackle.
Unfortunately, you can't go backward. Once an issues is raised, even
deciding _not_ to tackle it is still a decision. The only way out is
to develop a way to do the job better, because whatever problems the
OSI has (and believe me, I have my own list of gripes :-) I realize
that if it went away, we'd have to create it all over again.
Because, despite what people may like to believe, all communities
require *some* form of legitimate governance -- or they cease to
exist as a single entity.
Anybody can overthrow a government, if they're violent enough. The
hard part is replacing it with someone better.
-- Ernie P.
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