cavallini at faunalia.it
Tue Mar 26 23:44:27 PDT 2019
I'm approaching my first year as Chair, I feel it's the time for me to
raise the head from everyday tasks, and try to draw a more general
picture of where the project is heading.
One of the greatest strengths of our project is, in my view, the
diversity of interests and approaches among us. Choices and trends come
from the composition of all different priorities, without anyone taking
the lead at thee disadvantage of others, and this give us much strength.
As such, it is often difficult to understand where are we heading to,
because of the lack of strong central decisions. As PSC member, I see we
are usually busy dealing with day to day activities, and seldom we talk
and thing in a bigger perspective.
Nevertheless, changes do occur, and trends emerge. To me it is very
interesting to put these into perspective, and I hope the same will be
Among these, I see two lines that are to me particularly evident:
* the increasing number and importance of proprietary tools and
services; in the good old days I think we used 100% free software; today
this would be very difficult
* the shift from a volunteer-only association, in which who is
interested in something just does it, to a company-style group, where
people are paid for providing services.
To be very clear, as Chair I do not judge these as problems, and I'm
happy whatever direction the community will take for the good of our
project (of course, as everybody knows, I have my personal preferences
We are steadily growing stronger and bigger, and some of these changes
might genuinely be unavoidable in the process, or it is just a shift in
overall mentality and expectations. Whichever way, this may be good for
the project, and I certainly do not oppose it a priori.
What makes me uncomfortable though, and prompted me to write this note,
is seeing these changes to creep in, probably unnoticed by many in the
community, through a myriad of small, apparently minor, day to day
decisions. I can't tell how many of us are really happy of these trends,
how many are unhappy, and whether some important contributor is put away
by the changes, or rather by the too slow pace of it.
We have to be especially careful because companies, smaller and larger,
are a powerful engine driving us towards a better code, a faster
development rate, and better overall quality. On the other hand, we are
dependent on the volunteer work by countless individuals and
organizations; our budget does not allow us, and will not allow us in
the foreseeable future, to replace all the volunteer work with paid
personnel, so it is in our best interest to balance the needs of these
I have two aims writing this:
* raise an open discussion on these points, to better cooperatively
understand what are the priorities, the feelings and the aspirations of
* reach a consensus on our mission, drawing guidelines or a social
contract à la Debian, or some other tool that could make everybody more
happy at least in average.
I'm fully aware this is a potentially disruptive topic, but a thoughtful
discussion could lead us towards a stronger, more united community.
Sorry for being long.
All best wishes.
Paolo Cavallini - www.faunalia.eu
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