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From Henning Schmiedehausen <...@intermeta.de>
Subject Re: Open Source, Cold Shoulder (fwd)
Date Wed, 13 Oct 2004 08:44:27 GMT
On Tue, 2004-10-12 at 19:21, Niclas Hedhman wrote:
> On Tuesday 12 October 2004 21:02, Ben Hyde wrote:
> > Projects that: fail to
> > welcome new comers; fail to bring in credible new contributors ... well
> > they are just stupid.  They will ultimately become dysfunctional and
> > implode.
> Question; Should Open Source be Open Participation?
> I am sure that the upper-tier of ASF would shiver at the thought that hordes 
> of people can gain direct access to the repositories. They/we will dust of 
> the same arguments of why Wiki won't work. But it does. Why? Because *most* 
> people *want* it to work.

But the few that don't will spoil the show. We had our share of Wiki
defacement. With a wiki, that is easily corrected because all pages are
in _one_ place. If you have code defacement (consider a malicious third
party put a backdoor into the httpd stable branch) and anyone checks out
code from the CVS with this backdoor, your project reputation is toast
(/. reports a that a backdoor in widely distributed web server has been
found. Film at eleven).

> Can it work on code? _I_ am absolutely certain, but I never expect that the 

Sorry Niclas, but in the last few weeks I've read quite a number of
postings of you on the Avalon and general apache lists, that suggest
that you either live in a dream world where everyone is everyone elses'
friend or that you have no clue what you are talking about  

In the real world, there are probably ~99% of the people that are
interested in working constructively together. But the last remaining
percent is enough to put grafitti all over the walls in any bigger city
(probably in Sweden too), burn holes in the seats on the subway and
litter the streets. In the end, the majority of the 99% must adjust to
the 1% of idiots. 

It is the same thing with the internet. On a wiki, where defacement and
pranks are easily repaired, the majority might be able to tolerate the
annoying people on the net. With a code repository where everyone can
get a cheap copy and redistribute it: No way, Jose.

This is a meritocracy, not a democracy. Prove me that you know what you
are doing, earn trust and you will get more power. 

> hard-earned ranks of the upper-tier in ASF to willingly relinguish the 
> 'military style rankings' that makes up ASF and most other OSS projects.
> Future will tell, but I am putting my money on Open Participation Software 
> (OPS) where everyone is welcome to join in, not barriers of entry and 
> "militarism" of promotions. ;o)

It seems to me that you have no idea how a larger organization should be
structured. And the ASF with 800+ committers is such a "larger

There have been lots of experiments in the dot-com bubble startups with
"non-hierarchical structures" "community concensus" and "self
management". In the end, those companies survived that have modeled
themselves after the good old "executive, middle-management, workers"
model what has been proven to work in the last few centuries.

Because the others couldn't even agree who should wash the cups after a
meeting and had to hire a consultant for this. 

IMHO you should reflect on:

"Now I am a firm believer in democracy, but I also believe that there
are some fields of human activity in which a count of noses does not
provide the best basis for law and order." (Theodore M. Bernstein: The
Careful Writer)

But please, stop talking about things that you obviously have never
tried out or at least not tried out on a marginally successful project.
That your ideas work for the obscure project with a few developers and a
community where everyone knows everyone else: Sure.

Would it work for Tomcat, httpd or even a mid-size project like
Avalon/Merlin/Excalibur: Surely not. 


Dipl.-Inf. (Univ.) Henning P. Schmiedehausen          INTERMETA GmbH
hps@intermeta.de        +49 9131 50 654 0   http://www.intermeta.de/
RedHat Certified Engineer -- Jakarta Turbine Development  -- hero for hire
   Linux, Java, perl, Solaris -- Consulting, Training, Development

"Fighting for one's political stand is an honorable action, but re-
 fusing to acknowledge that there might be weaknesses in one's
 position - in order to identify them so that they can be remedied -
 is a large enough problem with the Open Source movement that it
 deserves to be on this list of the top five problems."
                       --Michelle Levesque, "Fundamental Issues with
                                    Open Source Software Development"

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