[Distutils] pip/warehouse feature idea: "help needed"

Nick Coghlan ncoghlan at gmail.com
Fri Apr 17 05:56:48 CEST 2015

On 16 April 2015 at 17:42, Wes Turner <wes.turner at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Apr 14, 2015 7:15 PM, "Nick Coghlan" <ncoghlan at gmail.com> wrote:
>> [...]
>> The perception that open source software is provided by magic internet
>> pixies that don't need to eat (or at the very least to be thanked for the
>> time their generosity has saved us)
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_models_for_open-source_software
> https://gist.github.com/ndarville/4295324

Right, there *are* for-profit business models and non-profit
fundraising models that can support sustainable development and
maintenance of open source software. However, it can also be hard to
tell the difference between supported and unsupported software until
low level infrastructure shifts like Python 3 or Linux
containerisation come along - in those cases, the software without a
good sustaining development story runs a high risk of getting trapped
in the old model.

Unfortunately, "Do you know and understand the sustaining engineering
model for all of your dependencies?" is a question most of us will be
forced to say "No" to, even those of us that really should know
better. It's very easy to assume that a popular open source project
has a well-funded sustainable development process backing it without
actually checking that that assumption is accurate.

When I first started working there, I used to think Boeing's risk
management folks were overly paranoid for demanding to know the answer
to that question before agreeing to depend on a new supplier, but I
eventually came to understand that it's mostly a matter of being able
to quantify risk - if you have 10 key dependencies, each with a 10%
chance of going away in a given time period, then you end up facing a
2/3rds chance of having to replace at least one of those components
with an alternative. As a result, these days *I* tend to be the one
wanting to know the long term sustaining engineering plans for new
services and dependencies (and sometimes a service or dependency will
be valuable enough to be worth taking a chance on).


Nick Coghlan   |   ncoghlan at gmail.com   |   Brisbane, Australia

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