I Just Voted

I just voted in the OpenSolaris OGB Election. It was pretty easy and only took me about 2 minutes. I'll not tell you the order I ranked my votes, but I was influenced by the fact I had spoken to thirteen of the candidates, all of whom were ranked higher in my voting list as a result of my having had the chance to hear how they think first hand. I'd like to thank all of them for taking the time to speak with me. I was sorry the others didn't feel inclined to talk, but of course that's their choice. A reply would have been nice though (only Casper did, of the five).

In my voting I favoured diversity, ranked higher on a willingness to work with others of all persuasions, on an openness to friendly discussion and on a lack of elitism. I also voted "yes" to ratifying the draft Constitution because I think we have to start somewhere.

OGB Bootstrapping

On that subject, I promised the OGB I'd write a little about the rationale behind the Constitution and electoral roll. The current OGB doesn't pretend to have all the answers. Once it realised the scale of the issues, it sought to bootstrap the community, both in terms of the Constitution and of the initial electors, in a reasonable and fair way while recognising its own imperfection.

The initial electorate was a big problem. We decided the best plan was to have a group of voters identified by the selection of their peers. We sought a large enough electorate to make voting diverse, but the very fact some communities failed to select any Core Contributors even after repeated reminders guaranteed that it would be flawed. I am sad that some people felt disenfranchised, and hope we caught all the most serious errors over the last week or so. Plenty needs fixing, and that was inevitable and unavoidable. Nonetheless, we have a diverse electorate large enough to dilute most biases. It's good enough for bootstrapping.

We did not have the breadth of vision to solve all the tricky issues in OpenSolaris that need to be covered by a Constitution, nor the personal knowledge of community members to perfectly identify the electoral college. I've heard one of the candidates harshly criticise this fact and imply he had all the answers, but I disagreed and still do. No-one does. I still believe it's smarter to iterate and to leave properly elected OGBs to iterate. Trying to solve everything up-front usually fails.

The new OGB needs to build on the Constitution and amend it, especially to address the community structure properly. It also needs to fix the electoral college to reflect the community that will exist once the project/community issues are fixed. I would also suggest to them that they expect the OGB that follows them to need to do further fixing and regard themselves as a phase of the bootstrap. Amending a Constitution in the light of experience has precedents, after all.

Comments:

I'll assume "I've heard one of the candidates harshly criticise this fact and imply he had all the answers" refers to the concerns about the constitution's deficiencies I aired during the governance working group's effort and more recently on cab-discuss. You neither linked to the threads in question nor explained how I implied I "ha[ve] all the answers" so your observation lacks context and constitutes an ad hominem attack, albeit on an individual cleverly left unnamed. I don't expect your vote, but this baseless personal attack is unwarranted. The Constitution does contain numerous errors of omission; my contention is not that I know the perfect language for filling these gaps but that leaving them unfilled is worse than filling them imperfectly. As you point out, we can always amend later. But the reality on the ground today gives the lie to your "you're not gonna need it" assertion in many of these cases: we're already suffering for lack of clarity and consistency in managing the existing consolidations in an open manner. It may be difficult to see these flaws from inside Sun, especially if one is not directly involved with the task of creating and enhancing the operating system for which our community exists. Improving that visibility and correcting the underlying flaws are challenges I expect the next OGB to take up. It's unfortunate that it won't have a solid framework in which to do so.

Posted by Keith Wesolowski on March 23, 2007 at 01:10 PM PDT #

Keith: You make all the assumptions you want (and you're making plenty, rather aggressively if I may add), but remember I have spoken personally to thirteen of the eighteen candidates, on and off the record, so there's a chance it's not all about you.

You, of course, did not reply to my repeated invitations to be interviewed and I admit I did find that discourteous. I am not going to identify who I am talking about since that identity is not material to the point I'm making, but your attitude is notable in and of itself.

Posted by Simon Phipps on March 23, 2007 at 01:32 PM PDT #

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