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

Matthew Brett matthew.brett at gmail.com
Sun Dec 23 08:33:02 EST 2012


On Sun, Dec 23, 2012 at 8:56 AM, Dag Sverre Seljebotn
<d.s.seljebotn at astro.uio.no> wrote:
> On 12/22/2012 06:36 PM, Matthew Brett wrote:
>> Hi,
>> On Thu, Dec 20, 2012 at 5:39 PM, Nathaniel Smith <njs at pobox.com> 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
>> Ah yes - that is curious.  My - er - speculation was based on:
>> Numpy - Travis golden age in which we still bask
>> Sympy - Ondrej, then Aaron - evolving into group decision making AFAICT
>> IPython - Fernando, evolving into group decision making, AFAICT
>> Cython - Robert Bradshaw - evolving into ... - you get the idea.
> I don't really want to prolong this thread, but I feel like I should
> correct a factual error. Cython started with Robert Bradshaw (and other
> Sage members) and Stefan Behnel exchanging patches on top of Pyrex;
> there was definitely no leader at that point. Then I came along; there
> was no leader at that point either (but I was aware that the two others
> had a longer track record of course).
> Robert Bradshaw was declared leader in order to break the tie when I and
> Stefan Behnel had argued for a 100-post long thread and could not reach
> a conclusion. And at least in this case, we were able to settle on a
> leadership structure then, when we needed it, and didn't regret not
> doing it earlier.

Thanks for correcting the error - sorry for passing on my
half-understood knowledge, better history is useful.

I am sure not discussing stuff works for some groups, but I very much
doubt that it will work for numpy.  The masked array discussion was a
particularly good example where the attempt to shut down the
discussion led to a great deal of wasted time and effort and lots of
bad feeling, when some good time spent to hammer out the issues would
(probably) have been a much more efficient use of energy.

I hope that this time, instead of trying to shut down the conversation
as fast as possible, we can have a productive and reasoned discussion
about what to do next, in order to make the best possible decision.

See you,


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