my idea of open source governance

February 27, 2005

This week has worn me out. I’m taking actual effort to get some things done. The extras steering committee is trying to, slowly, make some progress. A bunch of things happened this week.

The fedora-maintainers list started up. It’s a list that is populated only by those people who maintain a package in fedora core, fedora extras or who otherwise contribute helpfully to fedora’s growth and prosperity. It’s available read-only to anyone who wants to read it. A lot of folks think this is about elitism and about control. It’s really not. It is about organization and some semblance of sanity. Right now the problem is that hearing from anyone who uses fedora is not a way to get anywhere. It means a lot of noise a lot of fury and nothing signified or done.

That’s what maintainers is all about. You do some work, you get a voice. You don’t do work, you can still speak, but you won’t be able to speak on maintainers list. This isn’t new. The Linux Kernel Summit at ols each year is invite only. The gnome foundation conference calls are invite-only. This isn’t new. The people who do the work get to make decisions.

This is the ultimate in free and ultimate in open. Because it means anyone, ANYONE, who is willing to help out can move through the hierarchy of decision making. You can do almost anything b/c you do the work and people trust and rely on you.

This is what open source governance has always been. No one really speaks of it much b/c we like to think open == democratic. It doesn’t. Open means unlimted social mobility. No glass ceilings.

So if anyone wants to get to start making decisions, take a look at the fedora extras todo/schedule. See if you can help, email or contact the person who is listed there and see how you can help them or what they need done. If you really can’t figure stuff out, email me.

There’s no grand conspiracy, no secret, just people doing the work, trying to keep it working.

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