On Wed, Aug 26, 2015 at 11:46 PM, Stefan van der Walt email@example.com wrote:
On 2015-08-26 10:50:47, Matthew Brett firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
In short, the core structure seems to be characteristically associated with a conservatism and lack of vision that causes the project to stagnate.
Can you describe how a democratic governance structure would look? It's not clear from the discussions linked where successful examples are to be found.
Ah yes - as I was writing at the top of the xfree86 summary, it's difficult to assess governance models, because you cannot tell if a project that has a particular governance model would have been more successful with another model. For example, would clang be competing so successfully with gcc, if gcc had had a different governance model? Would Apache be further ahead of the many competitors in the web-server space with different management? Difficult to know.
The advantage of studying forks is that they usually arise from disagreements about how a project is managed. All other things being equal, we might expect a fork to fail, given the general aversion to forks and the considerable new work that has to be done to get one going. So, if a fork succeeds in the long term, that is probably an indication that the governance / management of the fork is indeed an improvement on the previous model.
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.