[Numpy-discussion] Numpy governance update

Perry Greenfield perry@stsci....
Wed Feb 15 15:00:55 CST 2012


On Feb 15, 2012, at 3:01 PM, Matthew Brett wrote:

[...]

My 2 cents.

I think you put too much faith in formal systems. There are plenty of  
examples of formal governance that fail miserably. In the end it  
depends on the people and their willingness to continue cooperating.  
Formal governance won't protect people from misbehaving or abusing the  
formal system if they are so inclined.

So my thought on this is why not see how it works out. Even if  
Travis's company has a conflict of interest (and that is certainly a  
possibility) it isn't always a bad thing. Look at two scenarios:

1) a project requires that all work is done by altruistic people with  
no conflicts of interest. But it languishes  due to a lack of  
sufficient resources.

2) a big, bad, evil, self-interested company infuses lots of resources  
and talent, and they bend the project their way to meet their  
interests. The resulting project has lots of new capability, but isn't  
quite as pure as the altruistic people would have had it. (Mind you,  
it's still open source software!)

Neither is ideal. But sometimes it's 2) that has led to progress. If  
the distortion of the self interested companies it too big, then it's  
a net negative. But even the self-interested company has a large stake  
in seeing the community not split.

And you see this in the open source community all the time, even from  
the "altruistic". Those that do the work generally get the most say in  
how it is done.

Finally, I think you should cut Travis some slack here. No one has  
come close to the personal investment in numpy that he has (and you  
probably aren't aware of all if it). If anyone deserves the benefit of  
the doubt, it's Travis. Why not base criticism on actual problems  
rather than anticipated ones?

Perry

(full disclosure: one of those selected board members)


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