[Incubator] [OSGeo-Discuss] Should OSGeo accept "benevolent dictator" projects into OSGeo?
bruce.bannerman.osgeo at gmail.com
bruce.bannerman.osgeo at gmail.com
Mon May 2 00:31:22 PDT 2016
This is not the first time that the issue of Benevolent Dictator projects has been raised on the Incubation mail list. See the August 2013 discussion . It was argued that a number of OSGeo Projects operate on a similar model, but just don't call it Benevolent Dictatorship.
Since that discussion the Rasdaman Community did establish their PSC and Governance process. It is just that the PSC is not as open as it could be, and Community Members and I don't get to see some of the behind the scenes discussion.
Peter Baumann is correct that the discussion lists are robust and open and that issues can and are widely discussed. Just check out past discussions. The community has been open to suggestions, e.g. with regards to packaging and release processes. As stated in my earlier email, Rasdaman Gmbh is also moving some capability that was previously in their proprietary version of the product into the community version.
The issue to me is about ensuring that the Rasdaman Community is robust and is able to survive the loss of key supporting people and organisations.
This is much harder under the current approach, where control is with essentially with a few people.
That said, the project is gaining momentum and external funding. In my opinion the project may well survive the departure of key supporting people and organisations. It will just be much harder.
And of course, as raised in the August 2013 discussion, Rasdaman is an open source project, with software released under open source licences. There is always the possibility that should project members find it untenable to continue under the current model, then they have the opportunity to Fork the project.
It is in the Rasdaman Community's interest to make this course of action unattractive.
There have been several suggestions in this, and in the 2013 threads on how to address this situation to meet the needs of both the OSGeo Community and the Rasdaman founders. Look at the discussion on the controlling vote in the case of a deadlock.
I still believe that Rasdaman has met our requirements and is ready to Graduate. How the project keeps its community members happy is an issue that it will need to resolve quickly.
OSGeo Incubation Mentor for the Rasdaman Project
> From: Discuss <discuss-bounces at lists.osgeo.org> on behalf of Jody Garnett <jody.garnett at gmail.com>
> Sent: Monday, 2 May 2016 6:05:12 AM
> To: Rashad Kanavath
> Cc: OSGeo Discussions; incubator at lists.osgeo.org
> Subject: Re: [OSGeo-Discuss] [Incubator] Should OSGeo accept "benevolent dictator" projects into OSGeo?
> A PSC is not required for any OSGeo project (even a graduated project) - being inclusive is. The GeoNode project is an example in incubation that forms a leadership team based on recent committers as I understand it. The benevolent dictator model does not meet this inclusive requirement, Cameron suggested a steering committee formed with one chair member with 1.5 votes (to prevent deadlock).
> The OSGeo incubation principles are often based on risk ... to users of the software project. The "benevolent dictator" model, just like having a project backed by a single company/organization, suffers from a stability problem - what if the dictator or organization loses interest? By splitting responsibility across multiple parties the project has a much better chance of weathering these storms ... and the risk for users of the software is lower.
> I am sorry I am not the best at talking through the pros/cons of the benevolent dictator model - perhaps some who feels more passionately about this subject (or who has first hand experience) could step in.
> Jody Garnett
>> On 1 May 2016 at 12:50, Rashad Kanavath <mohammedrashadkm at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> On Sun, May 1, 2016 at 1:29 PM, Jody Garnett <jody.garnett at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> 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.
>> I agree with Jody that demanding a PSC for projects to be in incubation is not a good idea.
>> If a PSC is required to join OSGeo. It must propose how a right PSC should work. Otherwise any project can form a PSC on whatever criteria, one being the "dictator" way.
>> Project can decide weather to have PSC or not. If they have it must be validated by OSGeo during incubation process. I hope having a checklist to validate working PSC and how it should work can filter projects with "benevolent dictator".
>>> 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"  governance model for incubating projects?
>>>> -0 from me, Cameron Shorter.
>>>> * As part of incubation, Peter Baumann, from Rasdaman has requested a "benevolent dictatorship" governance model . 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. 
>>>>  Eric Raymond's "Homesteading the Noosphere": http://www.catb.org/esr/writings/homesteading/homesteading/ar01s16.html
>>>>  http://www.rasdaman.org/wiki/Governance
>>>>  http://www.osgeo.org/content/foundation/incorporation/bylaws.html
>>>>> On 1/05/2016 3:56 pm, Peter Baumann wrote:
>>>>> 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).
>>>>>> 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."
>>>>>> 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
>>>>>> 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
>>>> 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
>>> Discuss mailing list
>>> Discuss at lists.osgeo.org
> Discuss mailing list
> Discuss at lists.osgeo.org
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the Incubator