[IPython-dev] [IPython-User] The site needs an update... Web team, anyone?

Carl Smith carl.input at gmail.com
Sun Sep 23 21:38:04 EDT 2012

Hi all

I just saw Brian's post and wanted to offer my initial thoughts as the
author of nbcloud.

> To be part of the ipython universe a subproject must:
> * Be hosted as a github repo under the ipython org.

This seems fine. New projects can be developed independently, then
move to the ipython org once they're mature enough.

> * Be released under a BSD license.

Seems fine.

> * Not charge users in any way or be funded directly through a for profit entity.

This might be problematic. NotebookCloud is designed to work with the
user's EC2 machines, but I had considered providing a more integrated
offering, where nbcloud would bill users directly and pay Amazon
separately. For me, this just wasn't workable, but other projects may
need to charge users, even if only to recover some or all of its
costs. Web service provision normally costs money, sometimes lots of
it. Someone has to pay.

> * Ideally, any funding would go through the ipython
> foundation/numfocus.  This would allow for profit entities to sponsor
> ipython development, but it would allow the foundation to make sure it
> was being done in a way that was consistent with the goals of the
> project.

I'm a fan of sponsorship. If a project had a sponsor that paid the
bills, should this prevent it from becoming an official sub-project?
It's also unlikely that a company that's willing to do a deal with one
project is going to be equally happy to donate to a third party that
wont offer anything like the same package.

> * Participate in our governance model (although we haven't formalized this).

Would this be a requirement, or an open offer?

> * Have someone who is committed to maintaining the project.

This is a difficult thing for an open source developer to commit to
long term, but makes perfect sense nonetheless.

> * Be approved for inclusion by a vote of the devs who have commit rights.

Seems very sensible.

> In return, the subproject would get:
> * Possible funding through numfocus/ipython foundation and other grants.

This sounds cool, but not if your project is forced to depend on this
type of funding exclusively. It discourages commercial involvement and
isn't really in keeping with the spirit of BSD licensing, as I
understand it.

> * Promotion on the ipython website as an official ipython subproject.

This'd be cool.

> * The participation of the ipython dev team in helping with development.

I don't see how this would work. If anyone wanted to send me a patch,
they can now. Being an officially recognised sub-project would only
make this a little more likely. There's no way IPython can say that,
if a project's official, our volunteers will work on it.

> * Name recognition from being part of ipython.

Sounds good.

P.S. As an aside: I'm currently looking to do some stuff with IPython
and the NAO robots. This will cost me at least £3,000 up front. I
can't personally donate that kind of money to the public good. I'd
need a way to earn it back. I think your proposals make a lot of
sense, but I can see the financial requirements being too restrictive,
possibly making official sub-projects a very cliquey affair.

Personally, I'd probably always opt for unofficial status on every
project, just because I don't want to agree to something I might
regret down the line. It's a lot of restrictions to accept,
perpetually, with potentially nothing much in return.

Sorry, if this comes across as negative. It's not meant to at all. I
just wanted to offer a different perspective on some of these points.
Ultimately, the question has nothing to do with whether nbcloud would
'get in' or not, but how IPython wants to go about adopting projects.

All the best


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