[openbeos] Re: Openness

  • From: "Jorge G. Mare (a.k.a. Koki)" <koki@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: openbeos@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 13 May 2007 11:02:34 -0700

Hi Thom,

Thom Holwerda wrote:
On May 13, 2007, at 2:32 AM, Jorge G. Mare (a.k.a. Koki) wrote:

You have to look at when does openness stop being functional, and does it become a roadblock? Sometimes, it's better NOT to be open about things or decisions, simply because that same openness hinders the actual goal: to make a decision.

In the same vain, you also have to recognize when your closeness hinders your ability to grow your project, which I think is what has been happening to Haiku. There are ways to keep the focus and still be more transparent. I think that's what the community is looking for.

That's up for those who do the most work (see my previous email) to decide. If they feel their current way of doing things suffices, and that more openness would hinder them, then so be it. They have proven to be committed to Haiku, so I'm sure they will do the right thing. So far, it seems to me as if things are going fairly smoothly.

I guess I just don't see how any more openness would have a positive factor on the process; in fact, I think it will only hinder it.

Please, see my reply to Ingo; you will see there a good example of how openness can (and did) actually help. Nothing to do with decision-making.

OSNews is a voluntary project, and everybody can join in/participate, but that does NOT mean it belongs to our readers. OSNews is owned by those who spend the most time working on it. The same applies to Haiku. And if that group of people who spend the most time working on it believe being more open than they are now hinders the decision making process, I can do nothing but trust them. It is their prerogative.

Well, in reality, Haiku belongs to Haiku Inc.; but the code is there for anyone to grab, which makes it quite irrelevant who it belongs to. But more importantly, if you are a volunteer-based project and you want to grow your volunteer base, a "Haiku belongs to XXX so they will do as they please" message, which is a form a elitism, is probably not going to inspire a lot of people to help you out.

It's not elitism, it's common sense. Adam, Eugenia, and I do 99.9% of all the work needed to properly run OSNews, and hence OSNews is *our* project, and *we* get to decide the course of action. If a new committed editor comes along (Eugenia and I have been the only ones committed enough to stay longer than a few months), he/she will earn our trust, and as time passes by, his opinion will be taken more seriously. Same with Haiku.

I am sorry Thom, but you cannot compare a news site run by three people to a project with many more contributors today and a potentially and exponentially higher number of contributors in the future. OSNews may have hit it's peak in terms of growth, and Haiku may be on its way to grow exponentially, so they have different needs and are driven by different dynamics.

I don't see how that is elitism. Elitism has to do with a certain class of people having the power irrelevant of their performance or contributions.

I am OK with people that are actively engaged and making tangible contributions to have participation in the decision-making. But I am not so sure that's exactly the case with Haiku.

I don't see that here; I'm sure that if I could actually code, and I would contribute majorly to the Haiku project, I would get more and more say in Haiku's direction as time progresses. That certainly does not fit the header of 'elitism'.

Volunteers who give their time and skills to a project find motivation in a number of intangibles, affinity of goals and a sense of community/participation being two very important ones. I think the point being made in this thread is simple: that Haiku would benefit from becoming more transparent as a means to inspire motivation among potential contributors.

In my country, The Netherlands, we held a referendum about ratifying the EU Constitution. Politicians thought that by allowing the public to decide on this matter would increase the awareness among people of what the EU is and does. They thought the people would understand how this new Const. would keep the EU manageable.

It didn't. People did not vote for or against the merits of the Const. They voted against the current government, against the Euro, that sort of stuff. I doubt even 10% knew what the constitution was actually about. An overwhelming 60+% voted 'no'.

This is what could happen to Haiku too. You don't want mere mortals like me having a say in development decisions, because I know fcuk all about programming. Decisions like that should be made by the people who know their stuff.

Well, you take the openness out of context. Nobody is saying that you should take popular votes on development decisions. You can be open and transparent in many areas and ways within a project w/o hindering the decision-making process. The kind of openness that is being asked is the type that is well represented in the example that I gave in my email to Ingo about the GSoC:

http://www.freelists.org/archives/openbeos/05-2007/msg00159.html

I have been looking at other projects for hints, and I like what the Gnome Foundation states in its charter, and I quote:

I don't think you want to put GNOME on a pedestal. In case you haven't noticed, GNOME is dead in the water when it comes to its future. There is no leader, nobody who makes decisions. As a clear example: it took the GNOME guys 2 (two!) years to add a small, minor, user-invisible but often requested feature, because the discussion just kept going on and on and on and on and on and... Well, you get the idea. In the end, it was Havoc Pennington himself who get fed up with it, and he just made his own personal patch in 5 minutes, despite the indecision. So, again, openness can be a real roadblock.

I was simply pointing out to their charter, which is very articulate as to why the foundation was formed in the first place. Anyway, the point was not to idealize Gnome, but to show that projects do have stages of growth with varying needs, and that the Gnome foundation was created and empowered to address those changing needs. It may not be ideal, but the foundation seems to have been doing good in terms of raising funds, spreading the word, protecting the IP (trademarks, etc.), networking with businesses, organizing GUADEC, etc., IOW, the kind of stuff that Haiku Inc. should be taking care of for Haiku.

Whether to be open about certain matters should be decided upon by those who contribute most to the Haiku project. That's not elitism, it's common sense.

Having said what I said on the matter of elitism, I agree that those who most contribute to Haiku should be the decision-makers. But being that there are people outside of the admin group that currently contribute as much or perhaps even more than some admins, I just don't think that being an admin should automatically be equated with high level of contribution and engagement. To me, there still seems to be some arbitrariness as to what it takes to *attain and maintain* admin status.

All the IMHO, FWIW and "I don't mean to be offensive" disclaimers apply (just in case).

Cheers,

Koki


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