Friday Sep 19, 2008

Reminder: 3 Key Lists for Website Upgrade

It's important for all leaders of OpenSolaris communities and projects to be on the following lists:
In the coming months we'll be upgrading the infrastructure and content and also going through a governance-based community reorganization. So, the Constitution will be updated, the website platform will be updated, and the content and site navigation will continue to be updated. There will be many discussions and testing phases and migrations, and all of these issues will be implemented primarily on these three lists. So please sign up and start monitoring. As things come together, we'll also post schedules or timelines in the Website project with pointers and instructions.

Here are some updates as of now:
Many of these discussions have been taking place for some time now, and there is much more background information in the archives of the three lists above.

Tuesday Sep 16, 2008

OGB Meeting 091508

The OGB met this morning. We had a good discussion about how to start implementing the community reorganization proposals we've been talking about and voting on recently. There are a few directions we can take, but I think we settled on doing a couple of things simultaneously. There's a lot to do. Basically, we have to do a better job documenting what we've done, communicating that information to the community, asking for feedback (more than we already have), writing and synchronizing transition plans, and implementing where we can even if parts will still be manual initially. We need to get people used to the idea that the community structure will change, the Constitution will change, the webapp will change, and some of the processes will change. The hope is that it will all change for the better, of course. Anyway, this  strategy seems like the best solution because there will be multiple times over the coming months when the infrastructure (webapp, wiki, etc) will have to be upgraded and tested by the community, and there will be a great deal of migrations going on that involve user data (we'll do that automatically internally) and web page content (which may be partially automated and partially manual but the community will be directly involved in that part). So, the implementation of the community reorganization is directly tied to the implementation of the new website platform we are building.

I've been happy with our progress lately because, well, we've actually been making progress now. Previously, we were stalled a bit. I don't particularly care how slow we go (slow is better in this situation), but what is critical is that we have consistent movement each month toward a goal. Momentum is necessary for any project to succeed, and we have some good movement now. I'm not a supporter of the weekly OGB meetings, though. I don't think they are necessary each and every week since the board is distributed around the world. It would make more sense if we were all on the same hallway. But when you have a community -- which is exactly what the OGB is -- you need to do more work on list and then meet to resolve issues. Scheduling and attending weekly meetings is extremely difficult if you don't live on the West coast of the United States. There is only one solution to this: work on list as the core platform for getting stuff done. The OGB is currently not working on list very much these days. This is a problem because it forces live meetings to get anything done and breaks flow of potential work each day. That's a bug. This is odd because we actually started out on list very actively. I think we need to get back to working on list, and then we can meet live every two weeks or so. We'll see. Making some really good progress, though. 

OpenSolaris Community Meeting Booking

Book your time to talk at the OpenSolaris Town Hall Community Meeting. Everyone will gather on Tues Sept 16th at 3 pm Pacific. There will be community updates as well as an executive briefing from Tim Cramer and Dan Roberts. The OGB will also do an update about the community reorg. I worte a little summary here.

Thursday Sep 11, 2008

Reorg Votes Continue

The OGB earlier today voted to approve the next two parts of the community simplification process -- Group Creation Process | Membership Process. The Groups & Roles Proposal was approved a couple of weeks ago. Next up will be a discussion about how we implement these proposals and reconcile them with the Constitution. There's no rush, really. As long as we are making steady progress in stages, we're fine. 

OpenSolaris Town Hall: Sept. 16, 2008

Tim Cramer and Dan Robers will be holding the next OpenSolaris Town Hall on Tuesday September 16th from 3 to 5 p.m. Pacific time. Stop by and get an update on the pending OpenSolaris 2008.11 release and contribute to the call. More details will be posted soon on the wiki about how to participate on the call.

Friday Aug 29, 2008

Keeping Up, Staying Involved

I've been trying to update the various parts of the community in which I participate about the OGB community reorganization. This is a big deal we are embarking on, and the OGB has to be out there in the community educating people about the changes we are implementing on the community's behalf. I've been sending notes to opensolaris-announce, ogb-discuss, advocacy-discuss, and i18n-discuss. Here is the latest I sent tonight. The entire process is open, and all the documentation is on the OGB's site. Sign up to ogb-discuss to participate.

Wednesday Aug 27, 2008

Reorg and Simplification Progressing

The OGB's community reorganization and simplification process is progressing. See the roles/groups proposal here (approved), and the group creation process here (draft), and membership process here (draft). We are just picking off pieces and flushing them out on list and in meetings. Eventually, we'll have to bring all these documents together into one document and update the Constitution. OGB reorg tag on this blog right here.

Wednesday Aug 06, 2008

A Vote of Approval

On Monday the OGB voted to approve the first two parts of the draft community simplification document. I've been talking about this for quite a while. Now that this decision is made, our webapp development team can move on to finishing the applications that will not only make up the core of the new but will also support the SCM migration. Working on that team and the restructuring project will now also take up the vast majority of my time over the next few months. I'm looking forward to it. It will involve some engineering management, some content management, and an enormous amount of communications with the community. Lots of learning, too. Cool.

Friday Aug 01, 2008

Simplification: Moving a Proposal Forward

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 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 infrastructure coming along will easily allow it, and now we hope to adjust the governance to enable it as well.

Friday Jul 18, 2008

Cut the Bureaucracy, Cut the Hierarchy

I'd like for the OGB's community simplification effort to be successful. We all want that. But I'm not sure why we are finding this so difficult to move faster. We talk about it intensely in conference calls, and then we drop it for weeks at a time. We chat on lists, and then the lists go quiet. I'm getting frustrated. We are not working together. We are talking at each other, not with each other. Consistent movement in small steps is critical for building momentum on any project. Without that movement, agreement is difficult and that undermines implemention. Also, to simplify anything you have let go. You have to trust that the bureaucratic structures you have in place may not actually be holding things together at all. It's ok to cut. It's ok to cut to the absolute minimum and build structure only if it's needed and only when it's needed.

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.
Communities: Social groups gathered around issues or technologies. All roles except Participant have edit rights to web pages in their Community.
  • 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.
Projects: Development groups gathered around code repositories and integration tools. All roles except Participant have edit rights to web pages in their Project.
  • 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.
User Groups: Groups of users gathered around issues or technologies in a specific geography. All roles except Participant have edit rights to web pages in their User Group.
  • Participant: Someone who participates in the activities of a User Group.
  • Coordinator: A participant who leads and coordinates the activities of a User Group.
Group Creation Process
  • 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.
Membership Process
  • 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).
Earlier drafts here and here.

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

Roles for the Reorg

Earlier this week the OGB voted to create a committee to specify the roles and overall community reorganization we may attempt when the new webapp is implemented. We need the new webapp in place to do the reorg, but work on the webapp is dependent on the OGB specifying up front any changes in the current roles or organization. We've been discussing this for a couple of months now, and we all agree that we want to start small and make incremental changes as needed. So, after the meeting on Monday, I posted to ogb-discuss some of my thoughts about specific roles and an overall organization, and I tried to focus on an extreme simplification of three roles and three collectives. I knew full well that that was too simple, but I wanted to start from there and work up as needed. There was some discussion during the week, and I just posted an update to the proposal with Alan's and John's comments. It's just a start to keep the process moving.

Some previous blog posts on this issue are here and here.

Sunday Jul 06, 2008

Moving Faster

It's great to some of the core open development issues really starting to heat up now. You can hear Tim Cramer, Stephen Hahn, and Dave Miner talk about these projects at the OpenSolaris Community Strategy Planning Meeting (slides and audio). At the 21:35 minute mark of the audio, which is slide 6 in the deck, you'll hear Tim talk about the movement of kernel development (gate and tools) to Mercurial and then outside the firewall. See the preliminary schedule and the SCM migration project here and here for more details. Anyway, back to the call: lots of install from Dave and lots of packaging from Stephen. Good stuff. I slept through this meeting, so I'm glad it's all online.

Thursday Jun 26, 2008

OSDevCon Presentation

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.

The Reorganization

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.

That's it.

Update: Here is the video of my session:

part 1, 30 mins

part 2, ~40 mins

Saturday Jun 21, 2008

OpenSolaris Requirements Call: Slides and Audio

I missed the OpenSolaris requirements call the other day. Damn.

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

The OGB Breaks Wind

Sam Varghese scratches out a very humorous quote here -- Hey FOSS project, what's your pedigree?
"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.

From Reorg to Simplification

The OGB is continuing the discussion around how to simplify the structure and function of the OpenSolaris community. Simon Phipps posted an updated version of his initial draft that the OGB discussed a few weeks ago -- Simplifying OpenSolaris Governance. What I like about this is that it offers the ability for people to group themselves so that structure doesn't get in the way of function, and then over time we can see what actually works rather than attempting to specify all possibilities up front. Some of the discussion we've had on list is way too confusing for the issue of simplification.

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 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.

Tuesday Jun 17, 2008

What to do with the OpenSolaris User Groups?

I started a thread on advocacy-discuss about the OGB community reorganization and new webapp coming (here, here) in the near future. I hope it generates some discussion and some consensus.

As the OpenSolaris Governing Board (OGB) discusses the possible reorg and community simplification, I wanted to bring up the OpenSolaris User Group (OSUG) issue so we could go back to the OGB with our input. The time for this discussion is right now, so I wanted to make sure everyone in the Advocacy CG and the OSUGs had an opportunity to participate.

There are a few issues involved: (1) the OGB's community reorg, (2) the progress on the new webapp, and (3) the desire of some in Advocacy to see the OSUGs have a higher profile on the site. History: I migrated all the OSUGs to individual projects within the merged Advocacy CG last year. But at the time I felt, and many agreed, that this was a temporary solution to solve an immediate problem and that in the future we could do more to help the OSUGs evolve on the site. That future is now.

There are two key features of the new webapp related to this discussion: (1) it will be able to recognize new collective groups (user groups, SIGs, consolidations, or whatever we want to specify) so we'll have new options for organizing the community, and (2) it will include a new content management system based on a wiki so it will be easier to edit and maintain. The new webapp will be implemented over time, of course, so we will all have to go through a migration of content to move to the new site in the future. So we may as well decide now how we want OSUGs to be characterized in the new webapp.

We have some obvious options:
  • Do nothing. Leave the OSUGs as sponsored projects inside Advocacy. The new webapp will allow horizontal relationships between collectives as well as hierarchical relationships. So, we can just leave things alone and see what the OGB comes up with -- whether the new system is horizontal or hierarchical or just a cleaned up version of what we have now.

  • Move the OSUGs to, which is supposed to evolve into the central user site for the community. The big issue there would be that moving OSUGs to another site would remove them from the OpenSolaris governance system, and we don't know how OSUG members would feel about that.

  • Choose to assert that OSUGs should be their own collective along with Community Groups and Projects when the new webapp is implemented. The new webapp will allow this functionality. Also, this option would keep the OSUGs within the OpenSolaris governance system, thus preserving all the Contributor and Core Contributor grants. How we grant Contributor and Core Contributor status would have to be considered, but that issue is also being discussed as part of a potential OGB reorg.
The OGB is a dependency here. I'm not sure how the OGB will implement a reorg at this time, and there is no time line or schedule at the moment. Also, we can't actually change our status without going to the OGB, but we don't necessarily have to wait for reorg, either. The two issues are not necessarily joined. There's nothing stopping us from going to the OGB and asserting what we want independent of the reorg. That would be helpful to the OGB, actually, since Advocacy is the largest CG in the community, and the OGB needs to hear from the entire community about these issues well before a reorg actually takes place.

Here's my view: I propose we ask the OGB to let the OSUGs become a new collective -- User Groups -- on the site when that functionality becomes available whether the reorg is specified or not. This would not get in the way of a potential reorg. In fact, it could be part of a multi-step reorg, but more importantly, it could enable the OSUGs to have the same status as Community Groups and Projects if the reorg is delayed, or we decide a reorg is not needed, or if the reorg is relatively minor with no structural or relationship changes to what we have now. The OSUGs are different from CGs and Projects, so they ought to have their own space. My goal is to move the OSUGs out from under the Advocacy CG, maintain governance status for the 4,000 people involved, and help the OSUGs grow in size, activity, and number. In other words, I want faster growth, more exposure, and less process.

Agree? Disagree? Any other options we should consider?

Monday May 26, 2008

The OpenSolaris Electorate

One of the things that came up on the OGB lat week was voting and the characteristic of the OpenSolaris electorate. I started a discussion on ogb-discuss since this is related to how people would become Contributors and/or Core Contributors under a potential community re-org (multiple threads on the re-org started on ogb-discuss).

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

The Re-org

The OGB has started a discussion about a potential reorganization of the OpenSolaris community. This grew out of the re-org that started last year with the previous OGB and also discussions on various lists and at the OpenSolaris Summit in California last week. We talked about it earlier this week on our call, too.

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 29, 2008

Website CG Approved

Earlier this morning (well, my morning), the OpenSolaris Governing Board voted to approve the Website Community Group proposal. This is good news. We are making progress in small steps on the website itself, and now we'll have a CG to be home for website development and content projects. Background here, here. We'll get this set up in the next couple of weeks.


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