[CAVO] A host for an open source election system project

Patrick Masson masson at opensource.org
Tue Feb 23 20:55:48 UTC 2016

I agree, care should be taken to ensure the autonomy, direction, ethos
of the original developers/organizers is maintained. 

My suggestion would not be to relegate the project to some group, but
rather find a place for--as we're quiting Simon Phipps--"a safe
environment for the project to exist" or what he calls an "asset lock."
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybAiTpqanDY>. I would offer that all of
the operational and governance David rightly advocates for can be
managed within the right foundation.

As we ll know, there is a lot of work in developing both the code and
community. Again, the right foundation can reduce the overhead of
starting up and maintaining the project: key phrase, "right foundation"
that does not threaten the project just as David fears/describes.

My fear is that S.F. City generates an RFP that includes a requirement
that the final result be distributed with an open source license. Then
all the development goes off behind the closed doors of the winning
contractor where only a final product is pushed over the wall. This is
both a governance and operational/development catastrophe. I'd also be
worried that that contractor retains the copyright (or even the city)
versus a foundation where authority/governance is representative rather
than appointed or sponsored (pay to play).

All that said, David is spot on to raise these concerns as a foundation
can very much take over, or put such a burden on the project that it
constrains it.

And again, quoting Simon from the above OSCON keynote, "If you're going
to start a new activity, I beg you to join an existing organization if
you possibly can--an existing proven organization." That video also has
some other good advise that might be worth considering as your project
moves forward.


On Tue, 2016-02-23 at 13:29 -0700, David RR Webber (XML) wrote:
> My experience with all this is not at all positive I'm afraid.
> Whomever you assign it to then thinks they "own it" - and start down a
> slippery path to the dark side of control mania.
> Alternatively - all the original players leave there - and then the
> new folks ignore it - loose the domains - passwords et al.
> My preference is for the Github / Sourceforge model - where there is a
> team of technical folks managing the source base - and have a vested
> interest in that.  Plus - you have people assigned tasks - and are
> submitting updates - and all changes are tracked.
> If you want to have some way for organizations - such as States or
> Cities to be stewards - and request features - fund updates - then
> that is cool - building an engaged user commuity.
> A great model for that is what LibreOffice is doing and see this
> posting from there:
> http://webmink.com/2016/02/19/joining-the-document-foundation-board/
> Please don't call it a Foundation though - as Simon Phipps notes!!!
> David

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