[Numpy-discussion] Numpy governance update

Charles R Harris charlesr.harris@gmail....
Thu Feb 16 15:08:25 CST 2012

On Thu, Feb 16, 2012 at 1:45 PM, Nathaniel Smith <njs@pobox.com> wrote:

> On Thu, Feb 16, 2012 at 8:36 PM, Charles R Harris
> <charlesr.harris@gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> >
> > On Thu, Feb 16, 2012 at 1:13 PM, Nathaniel Smith <njs@pobox.com> wrote:
> >>
> >> On Thu, Feb 16, 2012 at 5:17 PM, Travis Vaught <travis@vaught.net>
> wrote:
> >> > On Feb 16, 2012, at 10:56 AM, Nathaniel Smith wrote:
> >> >
> >> >> Travis's proposal is that we go from a large number of self-selecting
> >> >> people putting in little bits of time to a small number of designated
> >> >> people putting in lots of time.
> >> >
> >> >
> >> > That's not what Travis, or anyone else, proposed.
> >>
> >> Maybe I was unclear -- all I mean here is that if we suddenly have a
> >> few people working full-time on numpy (as Travis proposed), then that
> >> will cause two things:
> >>  -- a massive increase in the total number of person-hours going into
> >> numpy
> >>  -- a smaller group of people will be responsible for a much larger
> >> proportion of those person-hours
> >> (and this is leaving aside the other ways that it can be difficult for
> >> full-time developers and volunteers to interact -- the volunteers
> >> aren't in the office, the full-timers may not have the patience to
> >> wait for a long email-paced conversation before making a decision,
> >> etc.)
> >>
> >> I think Travis' proposal is potentially a great thing, but it's not as
> >> simple as just saying "hey we hired some people now our software will
> >> be better". Ask Fred Brooks ;-)
> >>
> >
> > What, you are invoking Fred Brooks for a team of, maybe, four? Numpy
> ain't
> > OS/360.
> For the general idea that you can't just translate person-hours of
> effort into results? Yes, though do note the winky emoticon, which is
> used to indicate that a statement is somewhat tongue in cheek ;-).
> Do you have any thoughts on the actual content of my concerns? Do you
> agree that there's a risk that in Travis's plan, you'll be losing out
> on valuable input from non-core-contributors who are nonetheless
> experts in particular areas?

I'd be more concerned if I saw more input from non-core-contributors. The
sticky issues I see are more along the lines of

1) Trademarking Numpy (TM), which probably needs doing, but who holds the

2) Distribution of money, accounting, and maybe meeting minutes. If
donations are targeted to specific uses, that probably isn't a problem.
Advertizing income could be in issue, though. I don't know how much
transparency is required by 501(c), probably not much judging by the
organizations that have that status.

I think Mark's proposal to revisit the issue if/when the number of core
contributors reaches maybe 5 is a good one. But in order to attract that
many developers long term requires making the code more attractive and
laying out a direction. I hope that the initial work along that line is
soon published on the list, the sooner the better IMHO.

It's not difficult to become a core developer at this point, apart from the
non-trivial task of understanding the code and wanting to scratch an itch,
since we are pretty desperate for developers. That is to say, the barriers
are technical, not social.

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