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From "Phil Steitz" <p...@steitz.com>
Subject Re: Inappropriate use of announce@
Date Tue, 21 Oct 2003 15:13:27 GMT
Craig R. McClanahan wrote:

<snip/>


> Your comment about bureacracy is interesting.  For the first time in my 
> life, I've spent the last three+ years working for a big company (Sun), 
> after working for organizations with < 500 employees previously in my 
> career.  Apache's bureaucracy doesn't hold a candle to Sun's :-).  Nor, 
> from what I gather, does it compare to most other big organizations 
> either.  In fact, the real problems I see for Apache are almost the 
> opposite.  It is the *lack* of a final "authority" making decisions is 
> what causes most of the conflict I see.
> 
> In the case at hand, you ended up reacting to one person's statement.  
> That person did not speak for the Board or the Members; he spoke for 
> himself.  I personally doubt if his opinion was, or is, even a majority 
> view of whatever constituency you consider to be "the Apache 
> community."  And, the fact that the previous community@apache.org 
> discussions on this topic did not reach any definite conclusion is a 
> symptom of the *lack* of an authoritative Apache bureacracy, rather than 
> evidence that one exists.


I don't think that effective decision-making in a large organization 
*requires* bureacracy. A hierarchical bureacracy is certainly one way to 
establish and maintain authority, but it is not the only way and, in my 
experience, it tends to be a very bad way when it comes to technical 
decison-making. The Apache "meritocracy" model has resulted in great 
software and a great community. What we lose in "final authority" we 
gain 100x over in individual empowerment and quality, IMHO.

The trick is to make sure that none of the really important discussions 
are "inconclusive" and that enough de facto, extemporaneous 
"authorities" emerge to lead the efforts that the community takes on. 
In my limited experience with Apache, I have been very impressed with 
how well the system actually works.

Admittedly, I don't have very much experience with Apache, but I do have 
a lot of experience with large technologies organizations and I think 
that it will much better if "they" (the bureacracies) become more like 
"us" (Apache) than the other way around.


Phil


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