[Numpy-discussion] Numpy governance update

Travis Oliphant travis@continuum...
Thu Feb 16 17:58:43 CST 2012


What you should take from my post is that I appreciate your concern for the future of the NumPy project, and am grateful that you have an eye to the sort of things that can go wrong --- it will help ensure they don't go wrong.  

But, I personally don't agree that it is necessary to put any more formal structure in place at this time, and we should wait for 6-12 months, and see where we are at while doing everything we can to get more people interested in contributing to the project.     I'm comfortable playing the role of BDF12 with a cadre of developers/contributors who seeks to come to consensus.    I believe there are sufficient checks on the process that will make it quite difficult for me to *abuse* that in the short term.   Charles, Rolf, Mark, David, Robert, Josef, you, and many others are already quite adept at calling me out when I do things they don't like or think are problematic.    I encourage them to continue this.   I can't promise I'll do everything you want, but I can promise I will listen and take your opinions seriously --- just like I take the opinions of every contributor to the NumPy and SciPy lists seriously (though weighted by the work-effort they have put on the project).    We can all only continue to do our best to help out wherever we can. 

Just so we are clear:  Continuum's current major client  is the larger NumPy/SciPy community itself and this will remain the case for at least several months.    You have nothing to fear from "other clients" we are trying to please.   Thus, we are incentivized to keep as many people happy as possible.    In the second place, the Foundation's major client is the same community (and even broader) and the rest of the board is committed to the overall success of the ecosystem.   There is a reason the board is comprised of a wide-representation of that eco-system.   I am very hopeful that numfocus will evolve over time to have an active community of people who participate in it's processes and plans to support as many projects as it can given the bandwidth and funding available to it.   

So, if I don't participate in this discussion, anymore, it's because I am working on some open-source things I'd like to show at PyCon, and time is clicking down.    If you really feel strongly about this, then I would suggest that you come up with a proposal for governance that you would like us all to review.  At the SciPy conference in Austin this summer we can talk about it --- when many of us will be face-to-face.    

Best regards,


On Feb 16, 2012, at 4:32 PM, Matthew Brett wrote:

> Hi,
> Just for my own sake, can I clarify what you are saying here?
> On Thu, Feb 16, 2012 at 1:11 PM, Travis Oliphant <travis@continuum.io> wrote:
>> I'm not a big fan of design-by-committee as I haven't seen it be very successful in creating new technologies.   It is pretty good at enforcing the status-quo.  If I felt like that is what NumPy needed I would be fine with it.
> Was it your impression that what was being proposed, was design by committee?

>> However, I feel that NumPy is going to be surpassed with other solutions if steps are not taken to improve the code-base *and* add new features.
> As far as you are concerned, is there any controversy about that?

>> For the next 6-12 months, I am comfortable taking the "benevolent dictator role".   During that time, I hope we can find many more core developers and then re-visit the discussion.  My view is that design decisions should be a consensus based on current contributors to the code base and major users.   To continue to be relevant, NumPy has to serve it's customers.   They are the ones who will have the final say.   If others feel like they can do better, a fork is an option.  I don't want that to happen, but it is the only effective and practical "governance" structure that exists in my mind outside of the self-governance of the people that participate.
> To confirm, you are saying that you can imagine no improvement in the
> current governance structure?
>> No organizational structure can make up for the lack of great people putting their hearts and efforts into a great cause.
> But you agree that there might be an organizational structure that
> would make this harder or easier?
> Best,
> Matthew
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