On Tue, Sep 16, 2003 at 10:33:39AM -0500, "Michael J. Hammel" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> 
> On Mon, 2003-09-15 at 20:58, [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
> > We should also consider that xfree86 currently falls aparts exactly
> > because of the board (and wrecks for quite some time already). 
> Interesting, if clouded, view of this situation.

I think I have a very clear view of the innards of xfree86.

> The board (which is actually made up of the core developers)

Was. Just ask them. The president abused his unlimited power to silence
everybody and expell most core developers from the board.

> letting fresh air into the process.  The board remains.  XFree86
> remains.  Advances continue.  Exactly where has XFree86 fallen apart?

Well, I can't argue with you, sicne you are supposing something about the
future, on which I disagree. xfree86 is falling apart because developers
leave it and no fresh blood is joining.

> Did you discuss your opinion with any of the core developers or are you
> just stating the opinion without gathering any facts on the situation
> first?

As a matter of fact I discussed it with quite a few current and previous
board members and core developers. I think it's pretty representative.
XFree86 might be somewhat exceptional, as a single person holds all the
power, but if you look around, that is how boards work usually.

> And some live fine with them.  KDE, GNOME and Debian come to mind.  They
> don't appear to be falling apart either having established definitive
> goals, target audiences, rules for interaction with outside vendors or
> even *gasp* establishing release schedules.

However, there is a distinctive difference there: There is no need to
negotiate with the industry. And since this is your original idea behind a
board, these boards are pretty irrelevant.

Even worse, you could at least have made your homework and look wether
these projects even have a board. That's not the case, so I guess your
agrument is (again) not backed up by facts. It doesn't help you to accuse
me of not basing my opinions on fact, and I think that's pretty low of

> > GCC (one of the largest free
> > software projects) did fine, too, for a very long time. 
> Indeed it has.  Of course, it does have the Free Software Foundation
> (and no less than Stallman himself) as a guiding force behind it.  But I

That's just plain bullshit (sorry, but what are you trying to achieve
with spreading such misinformation??). It's you who is making claims that
are badly researched and shed a bad light on what you say. The "guiding
force" behind gcc is purely the developer community. Even if you take the
steering committee (which has "power" and says it "guides"), it only does
so when the community can't make a decision. Neither of these is the FSF.

The FSF has absolute power over gcc (the name), but as history has shown,
it doesn't have power over gcc (the project). The current state of gcc is
*exactly* the result of a board (of the FSF in this case) trying to force

> guess that doesn't count as a "board" in your opinion.

Of course not, because it isn't a board. That is independend of my
opinion, but a fact.

Why do you get this personal?

> If by this you mean the board doesn't try to snatch control away from
> the developers then that's probably true.  

That's what I meant, yes.

> > Boards are a concept alien to free software projects, since boards
> > work like "we decide, you do the work", which might work in corporate
> > structures, but doesn't work at all in free software environments.
> You see the world as black and white, Marc.  Not all boards are so
> manipulative.

Well, if a board doesn't have any power, there is no need to create one in
the first place. It serves no purpose if it cannot do anything.

> But there are many projects who could use an authoritative voice to keep
> the project moving.

That is exactly the problem: an authoritative voice. Gimp already has
authoritative voices.

If your assumption is that authoritative voices and boards are the same
thing, then you are mistaken. And if you think that boards and auth.
voices are not the same thing, then it has nothing to do with this

In other words: boards are not necessarily autoritative voices, and you
don't need boards to have that. What _are_ your arguments for such an

> for GNOME, and that project (even without a board, but with an
> authoritative figure at its helm) has done quite well.

So that proves that boards aren't necessary, right? Boards are not even
necessarily productive for a project.

> "doesn't work at all in free software environments" isn't even close to
> the truth here.

Well, I disagree. The only counterexamples are boards without any power or
voice. I wouldn't oppose those and agree they work fine with free software

> You sound like you speak more from hate of anything that smells of
> authority than from research of the facts.

Obviously I did my homework better than you for example. No, I don't hate
boards. I hate people who argue unfarily (like you, this is not the first
ad hominem argument). Can't you just keep to non-personal arguments?

> As for boards being "alien" to free software, well, I've given a number
> of examples to the contrary.  There are many more.

Well, giving wrong examples is not backing up your claim :(

> > project itself (esp. for the Gimp, as the developers feel afaics strongly
> > against handing over the rights to the code to such an organization, which
> > means it would have no rights at all to the gimp).
> No one is going to get the "rights" to the code if its under the GPL. 

It's called "copyright", and the GPL is based on it. Please do a little
research on that topic and you'll see that you are wrong.

> This sounds like FUD.

Yes, because you don't understand the GPL and how it works, it seems.
Also, it's not me who is constantly spreading FUD here, but you :(

> But developers may feel disinclined to handing over the direction and
> control of the *project* (not the code itself) to another group or
> individual.

I think developers feel disinclined to hand over control AND/OR the code
itself, not just the control.

> establish one.  It is my assertion that such leadership is missing and
> would help extend GIMP's value to both the developers and the user
> community.

Well, you can assert that, of course, and it's worth disucssing it.
However, I have corrected the misinformation you are spreading in this
mail, and am not interested in further communications with you about this
topic, as long as you can only resort to ad hominem arguments or untruth.

> Please note that when I say "leadership is missing" I say that with
> Sven's acknowledgment that he is not the central authority and that such
> central authority does not exist.

Sven _is_ a central authority. That is not something that Sven can
decide. Sven can say he doesn't want to be the central authority, or
that he doesn't want to manage various aspects of the gimp development.

As far as authoritative goes, sven is one of the persons who, without
doubt, are.

I mean, one doesn't _chose_ to be authoritative. One either is because
people respect you, or one isn't.

> I do not mean to imply that the work
> Sven and the others have done to this point was without value.

At least (to assure you) I did not understand it that way at all.

> contrary:  The GIMP developers have done very well without central
> authority.  I feel they can do even better with it.

Well, you are mixing up "board", "foundation", "central authority" all the
time. It's difficult to argue with somebody who constantly changes his
propositions. "central authority" is quite a different concept as "board"
is, for example.

> > Recently I hear a lot about "target audience" and "have to work with the
> > industry" and similar ideas.
> You'll hear a lot more as open source catches on in the real world.

Ehrm... pardon you? Free Software hit the real world decades ago. I think
it's rather insultive of you to hint that free software didn't "catch on"
in the real world before.

Even as industry-close projects as xfree86 explicitly make commercial
viability (the industry) a non-goal.

> > In my opinion, this has exactly zero relevance. 
> And you are entitled to your opinion, no matter how far removed from
> reality it might be.

Well, at least I make sure I know of what I am talking before claiming

Again, attacking me personally (again) is a very unfair way of "arguing"
(and is not logically succinct).

> > The question to ask is:
> > how would a board/non-profit-org help the _developers_. 

Finally, some non-personal arguments:

> By lighting the fire of interest in the non-technical community that
> often sparks motivation and interest in the project itself.

Well, at least in the case of the gimp, interest is extremely high in the
non-technical community, in case you missed that. And again: how does
that help the developers?

> Getting the word out about the GIMP and it's plans and direction (and
> having helped establish both) may help bring in new developers, which
> in turn *could* (but is not guaranteed, of course) help to speed the
> process of development.

Well, that works fine. Remember the big discussion about the 2.0 version
number exactly because directions and plans on development _have_ been
known outside the dveeloper community?

This sounds like you assume that weren't the case.

> It could also generate funding for hardware.

That could be, although, I guess funding for developer conventions would
be much better even.

> small scholarships for students participating in the project.

Practise in other projects (e.g. GCC, Linux) has shown that this kind
of scholarship does not usually result in anything usable. (Why is a
difficult question, most probbaly because just dumping some code is not
the same as having some code that works in a real-world environment).

> importantly (in my opinion, which is worth as much as your own), it can

I slightly disagree, as long as I can back up my opinions with facts, and
you spread verifiably wrong information to back up your opinion.  You
might define "worth" differently, of course.

BTW, I also have some background in working with existing boards and
project structures.

> > One can create
> > boards as much as one likes, this won't change nor create a single line of
> > code or code-change.
> You couldn't be more blind here, Marc.

I really don't know why you ar always resorting to this very low style
of arguing. Wether I am blind or not has nothing to do with the

It's not productive to claim that I am blind, far from reality, lacking
knowledge etc.

> The board members, as a requirement for participation on the board,
> could be required to take coding responsibility for a certain part
> of the application - perhaps filters or maybe (if they're qualified)
> something internal.  You see the board as "suits".  You miss the point
> of their purpose or their possible makeup and duties.

I miss it because this is not how it does work in practise. Yes, one could
require them to take responsibility, but what are you trying to achieve
with that? Just taking a few developers, calling the "responsible" and
putting them into a board is not an achievement in itself, and certainly
not something that we would need a board for...

Again, why would that help the developers? Your only arguments so afr is
that it wouldn't necessarily hurt, but that's not enough.

> But, like I said, you are entitled to your opinion.  And I encourage you
> to share it.  It's how things get changed.

Yupp. And I encourage you to keep personal offenses out of such
discussions. You might not like my opinions, but that doesn't entitle you
to resort to ad homimen arguments and spreading untruth.

> Any authority granted to such a group would have to be to the benefit of
> both the developers and the user community the developers serve.  If
> this group fails either, it fails in its mission.

Unfortunately, you don't know how to achieve that, it seems. That is
exactly my point: I am severly missing reasons and arguments in favour of
why such a board would help the developers. So far, it's extremely scarce.

> > So what are the benefits of a board for the developers? How would that
> > help them? How would such a board counter the frustration on the side of
> > developers that a board exists that has power but no obilgations? Where
> > does it get it's rights from? Who has to submit to it's decisions? How
> > is it elected (if at all)?
> The only two questions I haven't answered here are the last two.

Three, if you care to count.

> board gets its authority from the developers (any group of governors
> gets its authority from the governed or they cannot lead) who must be
> willing to abide by the boards decisions for the general good of the
> project.  The board would be elected either by the developers directly
> (which is probably not the best solution but might be an interim
> solution till all parties are comfortable with the workings of the
> board) or by open elections, with the developers votes being weighted
> slightly more than an end users vote.  The actual mechanism for voting
> is a detail which can be built later, based on existing mechanisms
> (Debian's or GNOME's, for example).

(btw, "open elections" is a horrible idea, really. Weighing votes different is
much, much worse).

But most of all, the above paragraph is rather contradicting itself, and
very fuzzy on who the goverened are and who hold the power. If users vote,
they hold the power (depending on weight and/or other factors).  And if
the board doesn't hold any powre (because it has no rights to the code)
then it has nothing to govern.

The precise point why I am arguing against such an institution is that
everybody always resorts to the board as beign an institution that
governs the developers, the code, the development.

This is exactly what is wrong about the idea. A foundation (like the
one that is planned), as a mere instrument to collect money, maybe do
publicity or similar tasks, is quite fine.

It's when people want to take the power away from the developers where I
say no.

      -----==-                                             |
      ----==-- _                                           |
      ---==---(_)__  __ ____  __       Marc Lehmann      +--
      --==---/ / _ \/ // /\ \/ /       [EMAIL PROTECTED]      |e|
      -=====/_/_//_/\_,_/ /_/\_\       XX11-RIPE         --+
    The choice of a GNU generation                       |
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