[Numpy-discussion] Future of numpy (was: DARPA funding for Blaze and passing the NumPy torch)

Nathaniel Smith njs at pobox.com
Thu Dec 20 20:39:19 EST 2012

On Thu, Dec 20, 2012 at 11:46 PM, Matthew Brett <matthew.brett at gmail.com> wrote:
> Travis - I think you are suggesting that there should be no  one
> person in charge of numpy, and I think this is very unlikely to work
> well.   Perhaps there are good examples of well-led projects where
> there is not a clear leader, but I can't think of any myself at the
> moment.  My worry would be that, without a clear leader, it will be
> unclear how decisions are made, and that will make it very hard to
> take strategic decisions.

Curious; my feeling is the opposite, that among mature and successful
FOSS projects, having a clear leader is the uncommon case. GCC
doesn't, Glibc not only has no leader but they recently decided to get
rid of their formal steering committee, I'm pretty sure git doesn't,
Apache certainly doesn't, Samba doesn't really, etc. As usual Karl
Fogel has sensible comments on this:

In practice the main job of a successful FOSS leader is to refuse to
make decisions, nudge people to work things out, and then if they
refuse to work things out tell them to go away until they do:
and what actually gives people influence in a project is the respect
of the other members. The former stuff is stuff anyone can do, and the
latter isn't something you can confer or take away with a vote.

Nor do we necessarily have a great track record for executive
decisions actually working things out.


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