On Thu, Aug 27, 2015 at 10:15 AM, Bryan Van de Ven firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
On Aug 27, 2015, at 9:36 AM, Matthew Brett email@example.com wrote:
So, in answer to your question, it's difficult to know if a particular governance model is successful. It isn't enough that a project has lasted, or is still active, because there are so many factors in play. On the other hand, I think it is possible to point to models that have a tendency to fail in particular ways, and the by-invitation meritocratic 'core' group (I think this is close to the 'steering committee' in our current draft) is the model that failed for NetBSD and XFree86, with a particular pattern of poor or absent accountability and lack of project vision.
Anecdotes about two projects is not compelling evidence of anything unless you can also point to a comparison of the corresponding success rate. Two failures out of three is suggestive. Two failures out of three hundred is significantly less interesting. More useful would be actual details of an alternative proposal or pointers to examples of alternative arrangements that could be modeled.
Unfortunately, I don't think we have much choice but to do our best in sifting through the anecdotal evidence we have available, weak and contradictory as it is. Successful forks in large projects are pretty rare, and as I was arguing before, they are particularly useful as evidence about governance models.
In the case of the 'core' model, we have some compelling testimony from someone with a great deal of experience:
""" Much of this early structure (CVS, web site, cabal ["core" group], etc.) was copied verbatim by other open source (this term not being in wide use yet) projects -- even the form of the project name and the term "core". This later became a kind of standard template for starting up an open source project. [...] I'm sorry to say that I helped create this problem, and that most of the projects which modeled themselves after NetBSD (probably due to its high popularity in 1993 and 1994) have suffered similar problems. FreeBSD and XFree86, for example, have both forked successor projects (Dragonfly and X.org) for very similar reasons. """