[Numpy-discussion] Numpy governance update - was: Updated differences between 1.5.1 to 1.6.1
Tue Feb 14 18:07:45 CST 2012
On Tuesday, February 14, 2012, Matthew Brett <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> On Tue, Feb 14, 2012 at 1:54 PM, Travis Oliphant <email@example.com>
>> There is a mailing list for numfocus that you can sign up for if you
>> like to be part of those discussions. Let me know if you would like
>> information about that. John Hunter, Fernando Perez, me, Perry
>> Greenfield, and Jarrod Millman are the initial board of the Foundation.
>> But, I expect the Foundation directors to evolve over time.
>> I should say that I have no knowledge of the events above other than
>> from the mailing list (I say that only because some of you may know
>> that I'm a friend and colleague of Jarrod and Fernando).
>> Thanks for speaking up, Matthew. I knew that this was my first
>> announcement of the Foundation to this list. Things are still just
>> starting around that organization, and so there is plenty of time for
>> This sort of thing has actually been under-way for a long time --- it
>> has not received much impetus until now for one reason or another.
>> To be clear, there were several email posts about a Foundation to this
>> last fall and we took the discussion of the Foundation that has really
>> in the works for a couple of years (thanks to Jarrod), to a Google Group
>> (very poorly) called Fastechula. There were 33 people who signed up
>> that list and discussions continued sporadically on that list away from
>> When we selected the name NumFOCUS just a few weeks ago, we created the
>> for numfocus and then I signed everyone up for that list who was on the
>> other one. I apologize if anyone felt left out. That is not my
> My point is that there are two ways go to about this process, one is
> open and the other is closed. In the open version, someone proposes
> such a group to the mailing lists. They ask for expressions of
> interest. The discussion might then move to another mailing list that
> is publicly known and widely advertised. Members of the board are
> proposed in public. There might be some sort of formal or informal
> voting process. The reason to prefer this to the more informal
> private negotiations is that a) the community feels a greater
> ownership and control of the process and b) it is much harder to
> weaken or subvert an organization that explicitly does all its
> business in public.
> The counter-argument usually goes 'members X, Y and Z are of
> impeccable integrity and would only do what is best for the public
> good'. And usually, members X, Y and Z are indeed of impeccable
> integrity. Nevertheless I'm sure I don't have to unpack the evidence
> that this approach frequently fails and can fail in a catastrophic
>> Perceptions can be damaging. This is one of the big reasons for the
>> organization of the Foundation -- to be a place separate from any
>> venture which can direct resources to a vision whose goal is more
>> democratically determined.
> Are you proposing that the Foundation oversee Numpy governance and
> direction? From your chosen members I'm guessing that the idea is
> for the foundation to think about broad strategy rather than - say -
> whether missing values should be encoded with masked arrays?
>> I think we do have a NumPy steering group if you want to call it that.
>> It is currently me, Mark Wiebe, and Charles Harris. Rolf Gommers,
>> Virtanen, David Cournapeau and Robert Kern also have opinions that carry
>> significant weight. Are there other people that should be on this
>> There are other people who also speak up on this list whose opinions
>> be listened to and heard. In fact, I hope that many more people will
>> to the list and speak out as development increases.
> The point I was making was that the concentration of numpy development
> hours and talent in your company makes it urgent that the numpy
> governance is set out formally, that the interests of the company are
> made clear, and that the steering group can be assured of explicit and
> public independence from the interests of the company, if and when
> that becomes necessary. In the past, the numpy steering group has
> seemed a virtual organization, formed ad-hoc when needed, and with no
> formal governance. I'm saying that I firmly believe that has to
> change, to avoid the actual or perceived loss of community ownership.
I have to agree with Mathew here, to a point. There has been discussions
of these groups before, but I don't recall any announcement of this group.
Of course, now that it has been announced, maybe a link to it should be
prominent on the numpy/scipy pages(maybe others?). It should also be in
the list of mailing lists.
A funding org much like the Linux Foundation would be great, and I am all
for it. A separate governing committee is also important, and I think we
had some very good ideas in previous discussions.
I also have to agree with Matthew's concerns about the concentration of
developer resources at Continuum. I think that establishing a
community-driven governance committee would be crucial in making sure that
Continuum's (and Enthought's??) efforts go to serve both the community and
the company's customers.
Travis, in about a month, I will be starting up work at a company that has
been users of the SciPy stack, but has not been active members of the
community. I wish to change that. Will this Funding committee serve as a
face for numpy for private companies?
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