Choosing the Choosers

Paul Spencer pspencer at DMSOLUTIONS.CA
Sat Dec 17 12:56:38 EST 2005

I think this is a really key point and the participation should be  
willing, not forced, to ensure that everyone is really committed to  

It is also important to understand that the MTSC or whatever subset/ 
superset of them would not be defining the Foundation but actually  
participating with other stakeholders (i.e. Autodesk, DM  
Solutions, ...) to define the Foundation.

I'm not sure this is really clear ...  The participation of a group  
from the MapServer community in the definition of the Foundation is  
to ensure the proposed foundation is one that MapServer would want to  

To me, Paul's proposal is about defining who, within the MapServer  
community, can and should shoulder the responsibility of  
participating in the definition of the proposed foundation.  From  
that point of view, it seems to me that the people who will be most  
affected by the governance and structure of the foundation are the  
core contributors to the software - the MTSC.  The community will  
also be affected, but if the contributors can't live with it, it  
isn't going to happen.  If the contributors can live with it, does it  
necessarily follow that the community will also be able to live with  
it?  And if they can't?

I am starting to believe that from a user's point of view (that's me,  
I'm not a developer of MapServer) it will actually make very little  
difference to me in the long term since all I want to do is download  
the software and build tools on top of it.  As long as the  
contributors are happy that they can continue to develop and maintain  
MapServer, I'm ambivalent about where the project lives.  I suspect  
that the other ~1900 people on the mapserver-users mailing list that  
we haven't heard from are probably in the same boat.  They don't  
really care about these issues as long as MapServer continues to be a  
kick-ass web-mapping platform and however the developers and  
maintainers choose to run the project, good for them!

The members of the MTSC have earned their position based on the merit  
of their contributions to the project.  They have also earned the  
right to make decisions (as a group) on the future of the project on  
behalf of the community of users.  If they know what's good for them,  
they'll consult the community.  But in the end, they need to be the  
ones to take the decision and we have to accept that they are acting  
in the best interest of the project ...

I probably haven't expressed this well ...  Flame away :)


On 17-Dec-05, at 6:36 AM, Bart van den Eijnden wrote:

> Hi Paul,
> I for one could be comfortable with the situation you sketch.
> But another important question which should be posed is: "do (all  
> of) the developers want to put so much time and effort into  
> something non-technical" ? Some of them might be interested to do  
> that, but others might not be.
> Best regards,
> Bart
> Paul Ramsey wrote:
>> Mapserverers:
>> You may have noticed that things have been relatively quiet since  
>> the  initial Mapserver Foundation open letter, and associated  
>> flurry of  response.  One of the reasons is that the folks behind  
>> the open  letter are a little shell shocked and trying to figure  
>> out how to  move forward in a way that is both inclusive and not  
>> hopelessly  inefficient.
>> The big question they are wrestling with is:  Who can make  
>> decisions  on matters regarding the future of Mapserver?
>> It is not an easy problem, because among the questions that have  
>> to  be answered are:
>> - Should Mapserver join a 'Foundation' at all?
>> - If so, under what terms of membership?
>> - If so, under what name?
>> I would put to you, the 'community at large' the proposition that   
>> Mapserver already has a good decision making body that has the   
>> interests of Mapserver at heart: the Mapserver Technical Steering   
>> Committee.  The MTSC can make the final decisions on all of the  
>> above  questions quite capably providing they:
>> - Take the temperature of the overall community before making big   
>> decisions.
>> - Hold their discussions in an open forum so all viewpoints get a   
>> hearing.
>> The MTSC might want to add some advisory members, so they feel  
>> that  their voting numbers reflect a broader community, and I  
>> think that is  reasonable too, again, as long as they first put  
>> the names out for a  public hearing and make sure there are no  
>> substantive objections to  their choices.
>> So, I put the question to you, do you feel comfortable with the  
>> MTSC  making some 'big decisions' for Mapserver over the next few  
>> months,  providing that they make their decisions within an open  
>> framework of  discussion?
>> For the record, the current members of the MTSC are: Steve Lime   
>> (Chair), Daniel Morissette, Frank Warmerdam, Sean Gilles, Assefa   
>> Yewondwossen, Howard Butler and Perry Nacionales.
>> Paul
> -- 
> +------------------------+
> | Bart van den Eijnden   |
> | OSGIS, Open Source GIS |
> |    |
> +------------------------+

|Paul Spencer                           pspencer at   |
|Applications & Software Development                              |
|DM Solutions Group Inc       |

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