[Numpy-discussion] Numpy governance update

Matthew Brett matthew.brett@gmail....
Wed Feb 15 15:36:58 CST 2012


On Wed, Feb 15, 2012 at 12:55 PM, Mark Wiebe <mwwiebe@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Wed, Feb 15, 2012 at 12:09 PM, Matthew Brett <matthew.brett@gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> Hi,
>> On Wed, Feb 15, 2012 at 11:46 AM, Benjamin Root <ben.root@ou.edu> wrote:
>> >
>> >
>> > On Wed, Feb 15, 2012 at 1:32 PM, Alan G Isaac <alan.isaac@gmail.com>
>> > wrote:
>> >> Can you provide an example where a more formal
>> >> governance structure for NumPy would have meant
>> >> more or better code development? (Please do not
>> >> suggest the NA discussion!)
>> >>
>> >
>> > Why not the NA discussion?  Would we really want to have that happen
>> > again?
>> > Note that it still isn't fully resolved and progress still needs to be
>> > made
>> > (I think the last thread did an excellent job of fleshing out the ideas,
>> > but
>> > it became too much to digest.  We may need to have someone go through
>> > the
>> > information, reduce it down and make one last push to bring it to a
>> > conclusion).  The NA discussion is the perfect example where a
>> > governance
>> > structure would help resolve disputes.
>> Yes, that was the most obvious example. I don't know about you, but I
>> can't see any sign of that one being resolved.
>> The other obvious example was the dispute about ABI breakage for numpy
>> 1.5.0 where I believe Travis did invoke some sort of committee to
>> vote, but (Travis can correct me if I'm wrong), the committee was
>> named ad-hoc and contacted off-list.
>> >
>> >>
>> >> Can you provide an example of what you might
>> >> envision as a "more formal governance structure"?
>> >> (I assume that any such structure will not put people
>> >> who are not core contributors to NumPy in a position
>> >> to tell core contributors what to spend their time on.)
>> >>
>> >> Early last December, Chuck Harris estimated that three
>> >> people were active NumPy developers.  I liked the idea of
>> >> creating a "board" of these 3 and a rule that says any
>> >> active developer can request to join the board, that
>> >> additions are determined by majority vote of the existing
>> >> board, and  that having the board both small and odd
>> >> numbered is a priority.  I also suggested inviting to this
>> >> board a developer or two from important projects that are
>> >> very NumPy dependent (e.g., Matplotlib).
>> >>
>> >> I still like this idea.  Would it fully satisfy you?
>> >>
>> >
>> > I actually like that idea.  Matthew, is this along the lines of what you
>> > were thinking?
>> Honestly it would make me very happy if the discussion moved to what
>> form the governance should take.  I would have thought that 3 was too
>> small a number.
> One thing to note about this point is that during the NA discussion, the
> only people doing active C-level development were Charles and me. I suspect
> a discussion about how to recruit more people into that group might be more
> important than governance at this point in time.

Mark - a) thanks for replying, it's good to hear your voice and b) I
don't think there's any competition between the discussion about
governance and the need to recruit more people into the group who
understand the C code.

Remember we are deciding here between governance - of a form to be
decided - and no governance - which I think is the current situation.
I know your desire is to see more people contributing to the C code.
It would help a lot if you could say what you think the barriers are,
how they could be lowered, and the risks that you see as a result of
the numpy C expertise moving essentially into one company.  Then we
can formulate some governance that would help lower those barriers and
reduce those risks.

> If we need a formal structure, maybe a good approach is giving Travis the
> final say for now, until a trigger point occurs. That could be 6 months
> after the number of active developers hits 5, or something like that. At
> that point, we would reopen the discussion with a larger group of people who
> would directly play in that role, and any decision made then will probably
> be better than a decision we make now while the development team is so
> small.

Honestly - as I was saying to Alan and indirectly to Ben - any formal
model - at all - is preferable to the current situation. Personally, I
would say that making the founder of a company, which is working to
make money from Numpy, the only decision maker on numpy - is - scary.
But maybe it's the best way.   But, again, we're all high-functioning
sensible people, I'm sure it's possible for us to formulate what the
risks are, what the potential solutions are, and come up with the best
- maybe short-term - solution,

See you,


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