[OSGeo-Discuss] Tales from a Benevolent Dictator

Peter Baumann p.baumann at jacobs-university.de
Sat May 14 05:43:19 PDT 2016

OpenHub knows 66 code contributors, and they do not even know (and list) all
over time. Hence, cannot see anyone felt discouraged. Typical rasdaman
contributors are interested in design by innovation and not design by committee,
and that community spirit has made rasdaman a leading tool that wins all
benchmarks over GeoServer, SPARK, etc.

PS: suggesting a fork just because OSGeo follows a narrow principle that does
not accommodate rasdaman makes me frown about the ideals behind :)

On 05/12/2016 02:57 PM, Ian Turton wrote:
> I've been trying to stay out of the arguments about governance models because
> I prefer to write code than worry about licences or governance. But it may
> help if I share a some anecdotes (which is almost data) about a couple of FOSS
> projects that came out of academia when I was in charge. One of these you may
> well have heard of GeoTools, which forms the base library of GeoServer, UDig,
> GeoMesa and others, the other you may not know GeoVista Studio. 
> Both these libraries started out as academic projects that solved a research
> problem, both were open sourced as a result of the university claiming all the
> intellectual property of it's staff for ever (so why not give it away?) in
> both cases I (and James Macgil) were benevolent dictators when the projects
> launched, it was a simple governance model that left us able to get on with
> coding and researching and meant that things went the way we wanted. GeoTools
> started to get some users and people started asking for bug fixes and new
> features etc while James & I had actual jobs to do and wanted to spend time
> with our families and go on holiday etc. So we got some more people involved
> such as TOPP and Refractions and we sort of lucked into a PSC and GeoTools
> went from strength to strength and now has a PSC that spans the globe (which
> makes meeting times hard to find but is otherwise awesome). In fact for a
> while GeoTools and GeoServer managed (or thrived) with no input from me or
> James at all. However GeoVISTA studio, only went open source grudgingly (the
> PI's didn't want to give up control really) and never really gained more than
> a few users because we didn't allow other people to influence the direction of
> development (after all the university/PI was paying for the development) and
> thus there were only ever two or three developers. As BD I had no real
> interest in attracting new users (previous experience had taught me that's
> hard work). Once James and then I moved on to other jobs development stopped
> (though apparently someone downloaded a copy last week)
> <https://sourceforge.net/projects/geovistastudio/files/>.
> I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions but my feeling is that to make the
> move from an academic to successful FOSS project you need to move from
> dictatorship to committee run projects. If nothing else it allows you some
> down time from running the project while never needing to give up having a say
> in the running.
> Ian
> PS Some recent emails have tried to suggest that governance doesn't matter if
> you have forkability but I think that is a flawed view - but if it is true
> maybe we could just fork RASDAMAN and be done with the discussion? :-)
> -- 
> Ian Turton
> _______________________________________________
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Dr. Peter Baumann
 - Professor of Computer Science, Jacobs University Bremen
   mail: p.baumann at jacobs-university.de
   tel: +49-421-200-3178, fax: +49-421-200-493178
 - Executive Director, rasdaman GmbH Bremen (HRB 26793)
   www.rasdaman.com, mail: baumann at rasdaman.com
   tel: 0800-rasdaman, fax: 0800-rasdafax, mobile: +49-173-5837882
"Si forte in alienas manus oberraverit hec peregrina epistola incertis ventis dimissa, sed Deo commendata, precamur ut ei reddatur cui soli destinata, nec preripiat quisquam non sibi parata." (mail disclaimer, AD 1083)

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