[openbeos] Re: Openness

  • From: "Jorge G. Mare (a.k.a. Koki)" <koki@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: openbeos@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 13 May 2007 18:37:31 -0700

Hi Ingo,

There is a reason why a typical BOD functions the way it does. Having Haiku Inc. governed by the admins, who are basically outsiders from the POV of the non-profit, raises accountability problems. In any corporation, with decision-making come attached responsibilities and accountability before the law. You can't expect a BOD to be accountable for decisions being made by someone else. Nobody smart enough would want to join such a BOD and put him/herself in such a vulnerable position. So if you do want to have a BOD with people that will actually be engaged in pursuing the activities that can support the growth of the project (expanding fund raising, protecting intellectual property, representing the project before businesses, etc. etc.), then the setup needs to change. I am not saying this because it is my personal preference, but because it's the only viable way.

Now, if all you want is a non-profit as a mere vehicle to accept donations for the project, and nothing more, then I guess there is no need to bother. Just keep Haiku Inc. the way it is now, but then don't expect much coming out of it in terms of browing beyond what it is now. Which would be a real pity... :(

With regards to the GSoC 2007 effort, I did not mention it in relation to Haiku Inc., but as a living example that being open and engaging the community is in fact good, and that the old approach of doing everything behind the scenes does deny the opportunity to people outside of the admin group to participate and become engaged.

Finally, yes I do know that I was able to make it into the admin group. But the heavy engineering-focus of the group is far from being inducive for productivity or motivation for anything not related to development. In layman terms, for someone like me, it was an uphill battle.

For that reason, from the POV of doing marketing related stuff (which is what I can speak for), being part of the admin group actually hindered my productivity and motivation, and therefore not a desirable situation from a practical POV. Please, don't take this as an offense to the admins. But this was the true, at least for me. You seem to portray mine as a success story within Haiku. I see it more as a failed attempt. I guess we will have to agree to disagree. :)



Ingo Weinhold wrote:
On 2007-05-13 at 18:58:33 [+0200], "Jorge G. Mare (a.k.a. Koki)" <koki@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Ingo Weinhold wrote:
On 2007-05-12 at 19:23:14 [+0200], "Jorge G. Mare (a.k.a. Koki)"
<koki@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Ingo Weinhold wrote:
The current setup is quite unique and anomalous, most likely *by
accident* as a result of Haiku Inc. being in the dysfunctional state
that it is, and not *by design* for the benefit of Haiku.
You're wrong here. Haiku Inc. was founded because the project needed a
corporate body particularly for handling things like donations, owning
trademarks, etc. In this respect Haiku Inc. is as functional as it was when it was founded, even if some BOD members are no longer active and should be
I think I was taken out of context, but it may be my fault.

I understand why the non-profit was created in the first place. However,
I think it is not currently fulfilling it's role (which is why I wrote
"present setup). In other words, I would want to think that the current
(dysfunctional) status of Haiku Inc. was not by design.

You may deny it and keep calling Haiku Inc. dysfunctional as often as you like, it still remains a fact that the relationship between admin group and Haiku Inc. is still pretty much as it was intended when the corporation was founded.

You may find the setup unique and anomalous, but it's nevertheless how it was
intended. The admin group -- people who earned trust by contributing
significantly over a long period of time -- makes the decisions, the
corporation executes those that concern it (e.g. by providing funds).
Yes, the corporation does provide funds and it should certainly find
people to execute stuff. But a BOD is, by definition, a body that
oversees and manages. That's where the anomaly is. Directors don't
execute, they direct (that's why they are called directors). In the case
of Haiku Inc., the BOD (which should have an admin/dev representation)
should be defining the direction, finding the resources, and managing
them so that things happen. That is the typical role of a BOD, I would say.

Whether our setup is atypical, anomalous, or whatever is irrelevant. It only matters what we deem preferrable. And that is a corporation which serves the project, which in turn is governed by the admin group.

I am not talking about "tasks" or moving them. In broad terms, what I'm
pointing at is defining clear roles and goals, and assigning those to
individuals that both have the *skill set*, the *mindset* and the *time*
to act on them.
Perfect! Define the roles and goals, find the people for them, and let them
join the admin group.
This is something that only Haiku Inc. can take the initiative on,

I fail to see, why *only* Haiku Inc. can do that.

input from the admins to at least define the general goals. I will try
to be a bit more specific.

IIRC, Michael had some sort of strategic plan for 2006; I thought it was
quite good, and I even printed it out from the admin list archive. While
this plan may have needed some adjustments, it had a clear vision and
goals for Haiku Inc., and it would have been a great starting point for
kick-starting Haiku Inc. in the areas that are now lacking.

Refining that plan and making it available to the public would have not
been only be very informational per se (by showing where the project is
headed), but also a good source of motivation for the potential
resources that the non-profit needs. It would also add to the
"transparency" factor that people are also talking about. It is a pity
that this plan was kept under wraps and not acted upon.

In my paragraph that you quote, I was saying that for somebody to take
care of the non-developmental issues that are one of the main topics of
this discussion, Haiku Inc. is the natural place to be. For performing
such a role, there is no real practical value being part of the admin group.
That's your opinion. IMO there's absolutely no reason why a project manager
(and other people with skill sets needed) should not be part of the admin
I am sorry; I may not have explained myself correctly.

As this thread was more about pursuing openness as a means to get more
people involved in the areas that are not related to development, and
which would be closely associated with Haiku Inc., I meant to say that
the logical/natural place would be Haiku Inc., and not the admin group.

I don't see why.

Please, do not think that I am trying to take power away from the admins
or to be dismissive of the admins/devs; it is just a matter of being
practical (more details below).

You and some other developers admit not having the time, motivation or
skill set to handle issues unrelated to development, and that as a
result these issues are neglected and nobody feels responsible for them.
If you go as far as to recognize that, what stops you from delegating to
and empowering others with the skill set and time to fill in the gap?
Nothing at all. If those people step forward they will be welcomed with open
Not to contradict you, but there are precedents to the contrary (though
I would rather not go there again at this point).

Then I won't mention that it apparently has worked for a certain marketing expert. :-P

Is there a reluctance to relegate control of certain areas of the
project? Because if there is, I think you are both denying potential
contributors the opportunity be come engaged, and in a way also
perpetuating the status quo of neglect that you yourself so well described.
There is indeed a reluctance to give up control completely. The people who
mainly created Haiku naturally want to have a say in what happens with their work. I don't think there's anything wrong with a democratic approach (we had
this discussion on the admin list and I know you think otherwise) and it
certainly doesn't hinder potential contributors from becoming engaged.
Nobody is talking about giving up control completely. I actually also
agree that the people who actively contribute to Haiku should definitely
have a say in what happens to their work, at least as long as they
considered to be active contributors and remain engaged. But that should
not preclude the project/admin-group from being more open/transparent
and actually empowering to take part. Let me give you an actual example.

Look at the stark contrast of how the Google Summer of Code was handled
in 2006 and 2007. Last year, it was a one-man effort. Nobody knew what
the application looked like, nor was there an open effort to look for
ideas or mentors beyond the small admin group.

In comparison, this year we openly engaged the whole admin group as well
as the community from the very beginning, and as a result several admins
contributed to putting together a substantive list of ideas, a great
articulation of our goals for the application and we even picked up
three mentors from outside of the admin group (mmu_man, Oliver and Ryan).

Would you not agree that the latter open approach is much better than
the former closed one? I think this is the kind of transparency and
openness that people are asking for. BTW, this is a good example that
when you open up an initiative, there is potential for luring resources
into taking part; with the closed approach, you deny yourself that

I fully agree. This actually a wonderful example! And it shows that all this has really nothing to do with Haiku Inc., since between 2006 and 2007 not the slightest change has been made in this respect.

Now, going back to what to do to actually address the issues, let me see
if I can articulate this better. You have recognized areas in the
project that are neglected and that the devs are not intrigued by or
motivated to deal with. Given the dev-centric nature of the admin group
and from past precedent, these areas are not likely to be addressed by
the admins (nothing wrong with that, so please don't take it personal or
as an offense).

That leaves you with Haiku Inc. as the entity to fill in the gap,

This is where I think you again jump to a less obvious conclusion. If the admin group is lacking non-dev contributors to address certain areas, wouldn't it be the natural step to have those contributors join the admin group?

anyway is the logical place to deal with this stuff, as you are talking
about things like trademarks and funding, which are tightly tied to the
non-profit. Please, don't misunderstand: this does not mean that control
on these matters is taken away from the admins, but that Haiku Inc. is
assigned the role of handling them.

I already said something to that effect in an earlier mail: In the end matters are handled by people not by entities. Therefore, if we had the people, that you are imagining would do that in the scope of Haiku Inc., why couldn't those people do the same work as part of the admin group?

Unfortunately, for some reason, Haiku Inc. has not been stepping up to
the plate.

By design.

So, given that you as devs are donating your time and work to
Haiku Inc., I think you are in a unique position to urge reciprocity
from the non-profit in the form of actually taking tangible action to
address the above-mentioned shortcomings of the project.

Again, a corporate entity doesn't take action, people do.

I don't think
this is unreasonable, nor do I think such a request to Haiku Inc. should
be taken as an offense. It is about doing what's best for Haiku.

That will take re-shuffling the BOD with people that have the time to be
engaged and proper representation from the admin group (which is lacking
now), so that the devs have a say in the doings of the corporation that
supports their project. I would actually take the 2006 strategic plan
and rework it for 2007 as a starting point, and then make it available
to the public. That would give Haiku Inc. a good base to start looking
for BOD members. It will not be easy, and it will take some time, but it
is needed.

I can only repeat myself: Ultimately it's about finding people for certain tasks. I simply don't think that this has anything to do with Haiku Inc. And your GSoC 2006/2007 example supports my position.

CU, Ingo

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