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From Benson Margulies <>
Subject project supervision
Date Wed, 29 Feb 2012 13:14:16 GMT
A recent thread on legal-discuss drifted off into a discussion of a
project pathology that some thought was part of the historical record
of the Maven project.

As a fairly recent addition to the Maven PMC, I've been trying to get
some historical sense of the project so as to better understand the
situation it finds itself in.

My uncomfortable conclusion is that the Maven TLP exhibited a number
of fairly severe problems over a long period of time. The trademark
enforcement issue which finally led to board intervention was a mote
in the eye compared to some of the earlier beams.

This leads me to wonder about supervision in the Foundation. PMC
members are responsible for supervision of their project. However, I
submit that there are some limitations to this. The PMC is the
community. If the community get peculiar, the PMC is as likely as not
to be part and parcel of the overall drift. Pick your metaphor: the
boiled frog, the Stockholm Syndrome, whatever.

The board is responsible for supervising the projects, but I felt that
it would be kinder and more productive to try to start a conversation
here about if or how the Foundation could improve project supervision
and see if it resulted in a coherent proposal to the board, rather
than start another noisy thread on the board list.

To support my observation above about the Maven project, I'll cite two
things that seemed to have been true long before a company was founded
around one vision of commercialization of Maven: a BdFL and the
extensive use of code outside the Foundation to shortcut (or, perhaps
more accurately, circumvent) community supervision.

I have not gone so far as to spelunk archives to see if there is any
evidence that the board was conscious and concerned about these issues
over their long lifetime.

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