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

Travis Oliphant travis at continuum.io
Fri Dec 21 03:14:53 EST 2012

On Dec 20, 2012, at 7:39 PM, Nathaniel Smith wrote:

> 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:
>  http://producingoss.com/en/consensus-democracy.html
> 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:
>  https://lwn.net/Articles/105375/
> 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.

I will strongly voice my opinion that NumPy does not need an official single "leader".    What it needs are committed, experienced, service-oriented developers and users who are willing to express their concerns and requests because they are used to being treated well.    It also needs new developers who are willing to dive into code, contribute to discussions,  tackle issues, make pull requests, and review pull requests.    As people do this regularly, the leaders of the project will emerge as they have done in the past.    

Even though I called out three people explicitly --- there are many more contributors to NumPy whose voices deserve attention.  But, you don't need me to point out the obvious to what the Github record shows about who is shepherding NumPy  these days.    But, the Github record is not the only one that matters.    I would love to see NumPy developers continue to pay attention to and deeply respect the users (especially of downstream projects that depend on NumPy). 

I plan to continue using NumPy myself and plan to continue to encourage others around me to contribute patches, fixes and features.   Obviously, there are people who have rights to merge pull-requests to the repository.    But, this group seems always open to new, willing help.    From a practical matter, this group is the head development group of the official NumPy fork.    I believe this group will continue to be open enough to new, motivated contributors which will allow it to grow to the degree that such developers are available. 

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