Wednesday Aug 27, 2008
Wednesday Aug 06, 2008
By Jimgris-Oracle on Aug 06, 2008
Friday Aug 01, 2008
By Jimgris-Oracle on Aug 01, 2008
I'm trying to move the OGB's community simplification process forward.
There are important infrastructure engineering projects that depend on
some very basic decisions from the OGB. So I've been advocating
breaking this process into many small decisions, rather than one large
and complex one. We need to vote on Monday. We are out of time. Make a
decision. Move to the next one.
I've expressed my frustration about all this in a few forums, but that's mostly my desire to just move faster. It's my default position on everything, actually. But I think we may now be getting closer to agreeing on a draft from which we can start. Here is the latest draft of the community simplification proposal. I say start because there is absolutely no way to simplify and reorganize the OpenSolaris community before the main ON gate has been moved outside and before the opensolaris.org webapp infrastructure has been implemented. First, the movement of the gate outside brings with it a significant amount of infrastructure and process we've never had outside, and long with that comes a whole boat load of people as well. And second, the current webapp is not flexible enough to enable any reorganization. Instead, all three things need to occur -- and are occurring -- at the same time. There are some clear dependencies that need considering. By necessity, the two infrastructure implementations are happening in a phased way, so any community governance reorganization needs to follow that same model.
Also, the work on the new webapp has been based on the existing Constitution, but it fixes many of the obvious and well-known issues that have been discussed for years in the OpenSolaris community. This is very cool. We will have a remarkable amount of flexibility with the new site that we've never had before, so it only makes sense simplify governance by actually simplifying governance, so we don't inadvertently add too much layers and process before we need it. That's why I'm pushing to keep things as flat as possible and as simple as possible. We can always get more complex over time if we need to. It was a mistake to create governance before we needed it, so we shouldn't make the same mistake now by recreating governance before we need it in a genuine attempt to simplify what we already have. We should cut first. Then build back up. If we need to. Regardless, I will always argue for a flat, simple, approach.
Although we still have some bits to figure out regarding all of this, at least there is clear consensus for making the OpenSolaris User Groups their own collective group on the site. This is very good news. This means that the OSUGs will have top level exposure right along side Projects and Communities and any other meta groups we specify under the reorganization. Many of us have been wanting this for a long time. The new opensolaris.org infrastructure coming along will easily allow it, and now we hope to adjust the governance to enable it as well.
Friday Jul 18, 2008
By Jimgris-Oracle on Jul 18, 2008
On ogb-discuss I have offered a simple operational structure based on three categories: Communities, Projects, User Groups. Within each of those three categories there can be many instances of those groups. They can create themselves easily, they can organize and run themselves any way they want, and they can associate with whoever they want. Operations are their business, so they ought to know that better than any centralized authority. They'll have only a few operational roles to contend with, and if people in those groups want to apply for Membership status (voting rights), they can go to the OGB Membership Committee when it's formed (the Membership interaction between groups and the OGB needs to be specified). Or they can ignore Membership entirely if they are not interested in community-wide voting issues.
This is very simple plan. It pushes governance to the back, it pulls development to the front, it decouples governance from operations, and it cuts the bureaucracy and hierarchy. Here's an outline:
Constitutional Term Changes and Deletions
- Group replaces Community Group to describe all collectives.
- Groups are Communities, Projects, and User Groups.
- Core Contributor is removed.
- Facilitator is removed.
- Emeritus Contributor is removed.
- Participant: Someone who participates in the activities of the Community.
- Contributor: A Participant who has been acknowledged by the Community as having substantively contributed towards accomplishing the goals of that Community.
- Leader: A Contributor elected by a Community to lead the Community.
- Participant: Someone who participates in the activities of a Project.
- Committer: A Participant who has been acknowledged by the Project as having substantively contributed towards accomplishing the goals of that Project and who has commit rights to any code repositories owned by the Project.
- Leader: A Committer elected by a Project to lead a Project.
- Participant: Someone who participates in the activities of a User Group.
- Coordinator: A participant who leads and coordinates the activities of a User Group.
- Groups can associate with each other for purposes of collaboration, but development Projects are no longer sponsored by Community Groups. As a result, the new Group creation process can be simplified because governance is decoupled from operations and there is no need for CC voting for Projects. If people want infrastructure so they can do some work, they can send mail to a Group creation alias with a request and if it's not rejected in a week it's automatically created.
- If Groups want their participants to be involved in community-wide voting then each Group will have to follow the OGB Membership Committee's specification (which is yet to be defined).
Please note: This is not meant to be the reorg. It's meant to be the start of a reorg that will emerge over time as the new infrastructure is implemented, as we move to open development, and as we experiment with simple operational and Membership structures. All we have to do right now is specify three things from an operational perspective: (1) group categories, (2) roles within each group, (3) and relationships (if any) between the groups. That's it. From that point, the infrastructure engineering team can finish implementing the new webapp, and the OGB can then move on to communicating with the community about these issues as well as specifying the Membership process.
Simon summarized some of our early conversations beautifully. But I think a few of us are interpreting those initial conversations differently. I'm clearly at the extreme edge of simplicity, and I'm there quite intentionally. I just don't see the need for much process here at all. We already have enough. It's time to cut. I also think I'm pretty consistent with the original intent of the simplification process. We'll see. There are many proposals now, and they live on lists, in bug databases, in blogs, and on wikis. Here are the basic proposals from Jim, John, Glynn, and Simon.
Friday Jul 11, 2008
By Jimgris-Oracle on Jul 11, 2008
Some previous blog posts on this issue are here and here.
Sunday Jul 06, 2008
By Jimgris-Oracle on Jul 06, 2008
Thursday Jun 26, 2008
By Jimgris-Oracle on Jun 26, 2008
Here are the
slides from my talk at the OpenSolaris
Developer Conference in Prague
earlier today. From an information perspective, the slides are pretty
much useless. They are just full bleed images with almost no content
whatsoever. I talked about community building from a governance
perspective and made up much of the specifics as I spoke. I had a
specific outline in mind, of course, but I just tried to tell some
stories about what I've experienced on the project -- including the
things we've done right, some of the things we've done wrong, and where
I think we're going. I was more assertive about my own opinions than
I've ever been, which was intentional, so I hope it came across ok. I
was a bit long winded (as I am in writing), so I think I have to
improve that. I'm the only non-technical speaker at the entire
conference, though, so I figured I'd try something new with the full
frame images with very few words. I think I'll continue this technique
for a while because I have a lot of photos I can talk about and that
offers a remarkable amount of flexibility to improvise during a talk.
But this was ultimately a discussion about getting involved in the OpenSolaris project -- either in governance itself or in any number of roles that will help you earn Membership and Core Contributor status in the community. In many ways, governance is just another form of community development, and there are many social, strategic, and technical factors involved. The governmental systems on OpenSolaris are still evolving, though, and some of the issues have been controversial. This is normal. It's simply the evolution of a complex and unique engineering project, one in which a multi-billion dollar corporation is opening its core product and is building a global community while still maintaining critical business operations.
There have been three clearly definable phases of governance on the OpenSolaris project:
(1) Sun's role in creating the CAB from within the Pilot Program, the development of (and confusion about) the Charter and Constitution, the redefinition of the CAB to OGB and the expansion of its mandate and extension of its term, and the ratification of the Constitution and election of the first OGB. This period of time ranges from late 2004 to March 2007.
(2) The first elected OGB begins normal operations with a Constitution that doesn't necessarily reflect reality, but many people on the board and in the community make a good faith attempt to make things work. The OGB controls no resources and key parts of the project are still internal to Sun. A community reorganization is specified and attempted but stalls due to disagreements and inflexible infrastructure issues. Trademark disputes over a new Sun distro lead to more arguments about the project's lack of openness in some areas. This second phase was March 2007 to March 2008.
(3) The second OGB takes office after a significant community argument with Sun. Most members ran on a platform to reform the governance and reorganize the community for two key reasons: the OpenSolaris community and Sun need to be in sync about the project, and the structure of the OpenSolaris community needs to reflect the reality of how the community actually functions. The re-org can now take place because the OpenSolaris engineering infrastructure team has resources to update the website, move the gates external, and finish the work necessary to make OpenSolaris an open development project -- which was the goal all along. The reorganization is not fully specified yet, and the discussion moves slowly. Sun's executive engineering management engages with the OGB as well as the community. This current phase started from March 2008.
Currently the OpenSolaris community is structured around Members, Community Groups, and Projects. Community Groups sponsor Projects and grant Membership status to Core Contributors. There are some odd groupings, as well, such as user groups, which we have stuffed into Projects due to site constraints. Also, we have many Community Groups that were crafted back in the Pilot Program that really ought to be Projects today or consolidated into other Community Groups. And Sun has yet another grouping called Consolidations, which doesn't fit the Constitution. The website doesn't reflect the Constitution, too, since the site per-dated the Constitution and its evolution stalled due to resource constraints. So, the OGB's community reorganization has to address all of these issues.
To begin the process of discussing the issue, the OGB recently proposed interpreting the term Community Group to mean a class of groupings in the community, not a group itself. In other words, Projects, Consolidations, Special Interest Groups, and User Groups could potentially make up the new groupings and they could have relationships with each other in a web-like structure instead of the current hierarchical structure. To establish some consistently across the community under this proposed system, a new OGB committee would be formed to create standards for granting Membership status.
The reorganization idea has already generated several counter proposals, but the general concept is moving in the direction of offering more flexibility for different types of groups and crafting a system that reflects how OpenSolaris developers work rather than imposing an artificial structure on top. The reorganization and the infrastructure work necessary to support the changes will probably take a year, so there is plenty of time to get involved and contribute. The site can not be changed rapidly, and neither can a governance decision. The site's current monolithic architecture is being updated in stages to a new modular architecture, but it still must support current operations. And the community will have to participate in and finally approve any new governance structure.
The OpenSolaris governance process should define how the community operates. Therefore, it's at the core of how people participate in the project. It should not get in the way of participation, but it should offer opportunities for many people to contribute in many ways.
Update: Here is the video of my session:
part 1, 30 mins
part 2, ~40 mins
Saturday Jun 21, 2008
By Jimgris-Oracle on Jun 21, 2008
It was 6 a.m. for me in Tokyo, so I had to get up around 5:45 or so after an wonderfully restful three hours of sleep following my 1-2 a.m. meeting earlier that night. Or early that morning, I guess. Whatever. It's just all one big hairy 24 hour day now. Anyway. I wanted to hear Stephen and Tim and ask some questions, and then quietly go back to bed. I did two 22 hour days this week, so I didn't think I could swing the planned three hour meeting on only three hours of sleep after staying up for 22 hours. It takes me a few days to recover from my regular 22 hour Tuesday, so repeating it on Friday would be tough. The 22 hour bit is necessary since I have to catch meetings in California at the end and at the beginning of what is for them actually two different days but it's one day for me. But as it turns out the conference call system didn't work for me when I got up at 5:45, so I got up for absolutely nothing -- other than a healthy dose of searing anger and frustration, which is always helpful in getting back to sleep, right? So pissed.
Anyway, Glynn recorded the session, so I'll take a listen this week. Excellent. You can, too. And the slides are posted on the wiki, so check 'em out if you missed the call. Tim is trying to gather requirements from all interested parties for the next OpenSolaris distribution, so take him up on his offer. Also, if you want to get directly involved with the engineering effort, go to the indiana-discuss or pkg-discuss lists or the Indiana, Installation and Packaging, and Image Packaging System projects. There are many more links at those pages, too.
Friday Jun 20, 2008
By Jimgris-Oracle on Jun 20, 2008
"The project is so tied up in its own bowels, trying to draft structures for its own operation, that the only thing it has left to chance is probably the order in which members of the governing board break wind - and in which minor key they do so. I wouldn't be surprised if even that was specified in an amendment some years down the line."Sam, I have to admit, that's a great quote. You know pretty much nothing about OpenSolaris (just ask Patrick), but that's a very funny quote indeed. I'm saving it.
The context for Sam's quote is the whole "organic vs inorganic" open source argument. Linux is great because it's "organic" and springs to life from the great wild, and OpenSolaris sucks wind because it's "non-organic" and is driven by Sun and the OGB has flatulence. That's pretty much it. Whatever. I'm a fan of Linux (I use Ubuntu), but I really don't know enough yet about the Linux community to comment about its lack of pesticide use. I know more about OpenSolaris, so I can comment there.
OpenSolaris is still very much a mix. Some parts are most certainly organic -- porting of DTrace and ZFS to MacOS/BSD), the non-Sun distros, the user groups, the OSDevCon conference, etc. Some parts are represented by transparency on Sun's part and the interaction with other communities, such as the specification and testing of the SCM choices, the new wiki applications, the OpenSolaris Summit operations, etc. Some parts are characterized by various open development projects on the site with live gates outside the firewall with external committers, such as desktop and g11n, or just engineers working in the open as much as possible, such as some of the technologies in the new OpenSolaris distro (install, packaging, etc). And other parts of the project are still largely internal to Sun but plan to move outside, and that's probably represented best by the ON consolidation -- the kernel. The kernel source is out there, of course, and the community is contributing via the request-sponsor process, but the main gate is still inside. So, give or take few inaccuracies on my part, it's pretty much a mix of organic and inorganic. Or is it non-organic. Anyway. The problem with all this is ... what? What's the big deal? This is all normal operations for a large, multi-phase, long term project to open Solaris from within a multi-billion dollar corporation that still has build, ship, and support products.
OpenSolaris can't live up to an artificial standard of being a totally "organic" project. I'm not sure anything could, actually. And we never claimed such a characteristic, actually. I think it's fine for those involved in the project to criticize various things (and they do), but that's all in an effort to fix things and move forward. Again, it's normal. You will find that in all projects in all industries. I'll give Sam one thing, though. There is a kernel of truth in that we have spun ourselves around silly on some issues these last few years. But that's very much changing now. Sure, you can argue with the changes, but the fact is that the project has changed significantly lately and for the better. But did Sam choose to get involved and help out in the true spirit of open source? No. Instead, he chose to use a two thousand year old rhetorical technique (well documented by Aristotle) to attack while sitting safely on the sidelines.
It's not big deal, really. I just loved the quote.
By Jimgris-Oracle on Jun 20, 2008
We are fortunate that Alan Burlison has built enough flexibility into the authentication application for future evolution. So, the OGB should just concern itself with defining the collective groups (Projects, Communities, SIGs, UGs, etc) and also the main governance-oriented roles (Contributor, Core Contributor, Facilitator, Member, etc) and leave the rest to the new edge applications that will access the authentication application. The current opensolaris.org webapp is monolithic in design, and we are replacing that with a distributed and modular design. The real intelligence and flexibility here is at the edge where apps will give people access to resources to get work done.
Just making these changes that Simon suggests (which we all discussed in two OGB meetings) is a big enough deal. We should start small and move and adjust in small and consistent steps along the way. The OGB has absolutely zero resources, so it really has no other choice. It has to carve out reasonable chunks of things to do and then engage other groups to do the actual work. As a result, big and comprehensive reorgs will get bogged down and ultimately fail.
Monday May 26, 2008
By Jimgris-Oracle on May 26, 2008
I support the notion that in order to become a voting Member of the community someone should assert they want the status. Go register to vote, in other words (using the American process as an example). So, in OpenSolaris, that could mean someone asserts they want to be a Core Contributor and provides substantiation of contribution, or someone else offers a person as a Core Contributor with substantiation and the person accepts (so in that case the assertion is the acceptance). Simon agrees on this point, too.
However, there are many people participating in the community who are /not/ contributors or core contributors and have no desire to be. That's fine. It could be a personal choice or cultural characteristic, and we as a community need to accommodate this diversity of opinion. In other words, just because you don't vote or participate in cross-community discussions about governance issues doesn't mean you are not a valuable member (small "m") of the community. But I also think it's fine that community leaders go out and actively engage people in governance because that's good community building and a way to educate people around the world about how the community functions at its core. The more options for participation people have the better, and if one of those options is governance so much the better.
But my view is based on the repeated experience of going out and trying to make voters out of people who may not be interested in governance. Steve seems to agree, too. I'd rather build community by getting people involved and contributing for peer recognition at a local or global scale, and than out of that pool of people a voting block will naturally emerge. That takes a little trust because it involves letting go of the notion that large numbers of people have to be voters. They don't. Very large numbers of people have to be engaged as users, smaller numbers for developers, and even smaller for votes. That's how it seems to be working so far, anyway.
Friday May 16, 2008
By Jimgris-Oracle on May 16, 2008
I have a couple of interests here: First, I'm a member of the board and I want us to have a flexible community with a minimum of governance and process, and second, I very much want to complete the fixing of the user groups and this re-org will provide an opportunity to do that. With respect to the user groups, I moved all of them to projects when I merged the old User Group Community, the Marketing Community, and the Immigrants Community into the Advocacy Community Group (which was part of the first community re-org attempt last year). The good part of this is that the UGs are projects now and have their own spaces on the site. That was Stephen's idea. Love it. It took me three months, but it fixed the mess we created by stuffing individual UG pages inside one community until everything broke. But the UGs are still somewhat buried inside the Advocacy CG, and the vast majority of UG members are not at all involved in Advocacy and are not on advocacy-discuss. The user groups really need to be their own collective group with top level billing along side Projects, Community Groups, SIGs, Consolidations (or whatever mix of terms we come up with and hopefully a reduced mix).
I can't predict where any of this will go. Can you? It will be interesting, though, that's for sure.
Tuesday Apr 22, 2008
By Jimgris-Oracle on Apr 22, 2008
Wednesday Apr 16, 2008
By Jimgris-Oracle on Apr 16, 2008
- Getting elected to the OpenSolaris Governing Board,
- The evolution and changing needs of my team in California,
- My own career goals, and
- The unique opportunities offered by my geography.
I'll still be doing project management and building OpenSolaris communities globally, of course. But I'm going to narrow my focus so I can get closer to some engineering projects that not only generate contributions but also help lead to revenue for Sun. And I'll still be interacting with developers and users, but I want to get involved with other open source and standards communities and more customers, partners, universities, and governments as well. I'm already getting more requests to brief customers about OpenSolaris, so I want to expand that it if possible. And although my focus has always been global, I'll surely be spending more time in China and India and other parts of Asia since those markets are growing rapidly and since I live in the neighborhood. I'll also be exploring some new opportunities in Eastern and Western Europe this upcoming year.
Here's a rough split of time and projects:
- Website: 40% on website development projects, especially the implementation and support of the software platform on which opensolaris.org runs.
- Globalization: 20% on g11n engineering projects.
- Governance: 20% on OGB initiatives across the entire OpenSolaris project.
- Advocacy: 20% on user groups, conferences, and presentations globally.
There's a fair amount of crossover there, but that's ok since it gives me the flexibility to mix and match projects under some main categories that make sense if I absolutely had to quantify them. What changes significantly, however, is the project mix and time split. Governance, website, and globalization are all new and will take up most of my time. But there will be many opportunities for community development in APAC with user groups, conferences, and engineering projects. And although all of this involves advocacy to one degree or another, I'll now be focusing those communications efforts specifically on the projects I'm driving rather than anything I can get my hands on across the entire OpenSolaris community. That's a critical point. That also will be a big change as I specifically let go of some stuff in order to take on new stuff. There is no other way to grow, in my opinion, unless you have a solid core competency but also aggressively reach out to grab new things. So I intend to build from that perspective.
And finally, I'm now getting closer to the globalization engineering organization at Sun with a
dotted line report to Mimi Hills, the director of g11n who manages
software development operations at many sites around the world. I'll
be adding some
OpenSolaris-related g11n engineering projects to the mix of stuff I do
for Bonnie Corwin's
OpenSolaris engineering team. First up with g11n will be to evolve the
language/country portals on opensolaris.org so we can properly
implement the localization of content on the site. This is important as
we build the OpenSolaris community around the world. If you build
globally, you are actually building across languages and cultures, and
that's very different from building within a single language and
Saturday Apr 12, 2008
By Jimgris-Oracle on Apr 12, 2008
Thursday Apr 03, 2008
By Jimgris-Oracle on Apr 03, 2008
Monday Mar 31, 2008
Friday Mar 28, 2008
By Jimgris-Oracle on Mar 28, 2008
Earlier this evening Stephen Hahn posted the results of the OpenSolaris elections. I'm glad both questions passed. And congratulations to the new board members! I'm happy to have been elected along with those guys, too, and I'm thankful for the vote of confidence from the OpenSolaris community. I'll treat that confidence with the utmost respect. Special thanks to Stephen for working the voting system and also to the outgoing OGB for their efforts this entire year.
Wednesday Mar 26, 2008
By Jimgris-Oracle on Mar 26, 2008
Friday Mar 21, 2008
By Jimgris-Oracle on Mar 21, 2008
- Tokyo BarCamp 2010: Photos
- BarCamp Tokyo 2010: 4 Days Away
- Photos: Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010
- Tokyo OpenSolaris Study Group: May 2010
- Tokyo OpenSolaris Study Group 2010.04
- OpenSolaris Night Seminar 041610
- Tokyo Linux User Group 041610
- Sun Japan
- Tokyo Linux User Group 041010
- OpenSolaris DTrace @ Yokohama Linux UG
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