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From Stephen McConnell <mcconn...@apache.org>
Subject Re: [Proposal] PMC Resolution Voting Process
Date Mon, 09 Dec 2002 09:13:04 GMT

Leo Simons wrote:

>On Sun, 2002-12-08 at 14:01, Stephen McConnell wrote:
>>Leo Simons wrote:
>>>"layman" version of the text below; I think this is for all practical
>>>purposes the same but it reads a little easier (the trick: use a
>>>1000-word vocabulary ;). If it is indeed the same for practical purposes
>>>(Steve?) then I'm happy with the proposal I think.
>>The text (for all practical purposes) is the same as the proposal.
>Gotcha! You've fallen into my simplicity trap :D

I was waiting for this reply!

Gotcha! You've fallen into my ratiuonalization trap 


>- it is for all practical purposes the same,
>- this documentation is not required to have a watertight legal status,
>- the "layman" form is easier to read and understand,
>then why not just write the documentation this way and forget about the
>formal 'look-n-feel'?

The board has a legal structure it has put in place together with a set 
of policies and procedures through which it can administer itself and a 
manner accountable to the general public. Within the structure and 
procedures and provisions for the establishment of a sub-structure call 
a PMC. These PMCs provide a mechanism for the Board to scale their 
activities. The PMC structure is in effect a delegation of the Board 
authority to PMC to undertake due-diligence within a particular scope. 
The decisions taken by the PMC are decisions that are binding on the 
board. For example, if the Avalon PMC votes to release a product, this 
represents a liability on the ASF. This action is communicated to board 
by the Chair, and documented in a formal voting process.

Now, just for a moment, let's assume that ASF get hit with a law suite 
concerning an infringement on patents related to something which was 
developed within the Avalon community. Lets assume that Greg and Sam 
take a holiday, and were dealing with someone unknown. And let's also 
assume that ASF have two options: (a) fight the case, or (b) denial.

If ASF chooses to fight the case, they will very happy to see lots of 
formal documentation about processes, and they will be wetting 
themselves if see documentation for all of the votes on releases, 
attention to due diligence, etc. They will use this information to 
demonstrate that our actions have been public, have been part of the 
legal structure of the board, are consistent with the Board's legal 
practices, etc. In effect ASF will have everything they need to fight on 
our behalf.

On the other-hand - what about the denial avenue. If our policies and 
procedures are not up to the same standard as the Boards, (e.g. the 
textual version) what we are doing is in effect enabling different 
interpretations of the rules. The organization making a claim against 
ASF will look into the policies and procedures of the Avalon PMC - and 
will do so with attention to detail. In such a scenario, the case for 
ASF would be weaker because its framework of due-diligence has been 
compromised. In such a scenario there is the potential for the ASF to 
deny us some level of protection otherwise available to us.

>> This 
>>is exactly the sort of thing I would image on a web page that descibes 
>>the policies and procedures concerning decision making.  That same web 
>>page would also provide a link to the formal document.
>What purpose does the "formal" document then serve? 

Bottom line - by maintaining policies and procedures in a "crisp" form 
(legalistic, SOC, whatever you want to call it), your providing the 
Board with a more concrete foundation though which they can protect our 
interests with greater confidence and integrity.

>I think no-one 'll
>be reading it anyway.

Hopefully no-one.


Cheers, Steve.

>- Leo
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Stephen J. McConnell

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