This proposal has some good thoughts. Cut me some slack for not
being completely supportive of it; in my country, when they allowed
the public to ask the elite candidates for office any question they
wanted, the favorite question was "Do you wear boxers or briefs?"
> How about an open, crossplatform mailing list for issues, with a mechanism
> perl.org for public voting on larger issues. The issue would be given, 30
> would take the polls, it would be as rig-proof as possible, and Larry would
> have the power to veto (final say period). That gives a soapbox, guidelines
> (Win32 and Mac are people too - elitists well we'll see),
Speaking as a Mac user, I don't know that we particularly feel left
out or anything. Then again, I'm also a UNIX user, and being both is
not the norm (at least, not until OS X catches on).
> a direct public
> effect on Perl, and Larry's final say over his intellectual property. Simple
> majority rule on issues, 2/3 to impeach,
Do you mean impeach a person (Larry? or someone else?), or do you
mean override a veto?
> simple majority per O/S to release.
That could be tricky, since the number of Perl users per OS is very
disproportionate. When they drafted the U.S. constitution, there was
a huge debate over whether to base congressional representation on
population per state or make each state equal. Both sides had a good
claim to the other being unfair; giving a smaller state (Rhode Island,
or Mac users) equal say with a larger one can seem unfair to the
larger segment, and I think in this case it would be. ("No,
seriously, guys, I think we should move the epoch to 1904.")
> Takes n requests to come to a vote (keep it low until we know what we're
> working with), fully automated (pre-poll or signature style). Authenticated
> emails only (a la majordomo), real emails only (sorry hotmail).
This is real tricky; nearly everyone reading what I'm saying is
fully capable of writing a program to register 1000 hotmail addresses
and vote 1000 times, but this doesn't mean that all hotmail addresses
are fake (though I would presume that nearly anyone capable of
participating in this process has a real email account). Plus, the
fact that an email is from a more legitimate domain doesn't
necessarily mean that it represents a unique person; plenty of ISPs
give multiple mail accounts. Is aol.com a domain of real email
addresses? (What about wall.org? <ducks for cover/>)
> Good? Bad?
> It's simple enough to achieve the objectives, I think.
If enough people really feel that worried about Perl falling into
the hands of a few, then something like this might be a good idea. I
feel protected against such emergencies by the possibility of forking.
I realize I just broke through into a place none of us wants to go.
(Let me reiterate very carefully: *none* of us wants to go there,
least of all, me.) However, if Microsoft or whoever were to somehow
to gain total control of Perl, couldn't somebody just go off and
create a Perl-compatible p*rl, according to the GPL and/or Artistic
License? And if not, why not? Perhaps there should even be an
officially blessed, "How to politely fork Perl development and choose
a new name if you're really that unhappy and think there's enough
people who think like you to join you" document.
The possibility of such a fork keeps me from worrying about most of
the issues you raise. However, if everyone's really that worried,
then formal mechanisms would be in order.
Let me make the following proposal: let's test your idea on itself.
Require n nominations/seconds/whatever to bring your idea to a vote (n
should be determined by you and Nat Torkington). If it does come to a
vote, conduct it in 30 days, along the lines you have said, and if it
passes with a simple majority, give it to Larry as a proposal and see
if he wants to veto it. I'll go on the record as saying I would vote
against the proposal, but wouldn't be upset if it passed.