[OSGeo-Discuss] [Incubator] Should OSGeo accept "benevolent dictator" projects into OSGeo?

Jody Garnett jody.garnett at gmail.com
Sun May 1 04:29:32 PDT 2016

This is kind of a larger topic than just the incubation committee, but no I
do not believe we should. It is a defining characteristic of our foundation
to not place many restrictions on our projects - but demand that the
projects be inclusive and open to collaboration.

I do not believe that the "benevolent dictator" fits this ideal.

I also do not think we need to stress the PSC approach as the one true way,
smaller projects that only wish to have committers vote on decisions
(rather than form a PSC) is perfectly acceptable - provided there is a
provision for new committers to be added into the mix.

We also have an outstanding request from our president to make the
foundation more inclusive. With this in mind we are a lot less demanding on
our community projects - which provides a way for projects that do not meet
some of our ideal criteria to be part of the foundation.

Jody Garnett

On 1 May 2016 at 00:44, Cameron Shorter <cameron.shorter at gmail.com> wrote:

> OSGeo discuss, OSGeo incubation, OSGeo board,
> I'm hoping the greater OSGeo community will consider and comment on this
> question:
> Should OSGeo accept a "benevolent dictator" [1] governance model for
> incubating projects?
> -0 from me, Cameron Shorter.
> Background:
> * As part of incubation, Peter Baumann, from Rasdaman has requested a
> "benevolent dictatorship" governance model [2]. While "benevolent
> dictatorships" often lead to successful projects, all prior OSGeo incubated
> projects have selected "equal vote by PSC members". Someone with better
> legal training than me might find "benevolent dictatorships" to be
> unconstitutional according to OSGeo bylaws. [3]
> [1] Eric Raymond's "Homesteading the Noosphere":
> http://www.catb.org/esr/writings/homesteading/homesteading/ar01s16.html
> [2] http://www.rasdaman.org/wiki/Governance
> [3] http://www.osgeo.org/content/foundation/incorporation/bylaws.html
> On 1/05/2016 3:56 pm, Peter Baumann wrote:
> Cameron-
> I understand where you are coming from, and your characterization is
> definitely correct. While our process is and always has been absolutely
> open to discussion so as to obtain the scientifically and technically best
> solution this "benevolent dictatorship" has brought rasdaman to where it
> stands now - it is designed by innovation, not by committee. Just to get me
> right, our model is certainly not the right one for every endeavour. Here
> it is the most appropriate, and hence we will keep it.
> As you observe, this model is not contradicting OS as such, and many
> projects run it. So ultimately it lies in the hand of OSGeo to decide
> whether they accept the existing plurality of approaches (in this case
> manifest with rasdaman).
> best,
> Peter
> On 04/30/2016 10:47 PM, Cameron Shorter wrote:
> Bruce, Peter,
> I've read through the incubation process documentation, and can only see
> one thing which I think breaks our OSGeo principles.
> The Governance model includes a statement:
> "In all issues, the PSC strives to achieve unanimous consent based on a
> free, independent exchange of facts and opinions. Should such consent
> exceptionally not be reached then Peter Baumann has a casting vote."
> http://www.rasdaman.org/wiki/Governance
> This is describing a "benevolent dictator" model, which has proved to be
> an effective model for many open source projects. See Eric Raymond's
> "Homesteading the Noosphere":
> <http://www.catb.org/esr/writings/homesteading/homesteading/ar01s16.html>
> http://www.catb.org/esr/writings/homesteading/homesteading/ar01s16.html
> However, it is not in line with existing OSGeo Incubated projects, which
> have documented a "vote by PSC" as the defining governance process. In
> practice, the PSC community debate alternatives, and if needed,
> respectfully revert to reasoned advice provided by the "benevolent
> dictator".
> Peter, are you open to changing the governance model to a "vote by PSC"?
> I'd be comfortable with a "vote by PSC, with PSC chair being given 1.5
> votes to break any deadlocks. I'd also be ok with PSC chair defaulting to
> Peter (as founder), until such time as Peter resigns from the role."
> Warm regards, Cameron
> --
> Cameron Shorter,
> Software and Data Solutions Manager
> LISAsoft
> Suite 112, Jones Bay Wharf,
> 26 - 32 Pirrama Rd, Pyrmont NSW 2009
> P +61 2 9009 5000,  W www.lisasoft.com,  F +61 2 9009 5099
> _______________________________________________
> Incubator mailing list
> Incubator at lists.osgeo.org
> http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/incubator
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