[python-committers] Organizing an informational PEP on project governance options (was Re: Transfer of power)

Nathaniel Smith njs at pobox.com
Fri Jul 13 07:31:00 EDT 2018

On Thu, Jul 12, 2018 at 6:35 PM, Łukasz Langa <lukasz at langa.pl> wrote:
> I'm +1 to an Informational PEP around the state of the art in project governance.

I think this is a great idea. There's a lot of experience out there on
different governance models, but of course any given project only uses
one of them, so knowledge about what works and what doesn't is pretty
fragmented across the F/OSS community. And this is a really important
decision for us and our users, so we should do due diligence. For
example, we should think this through at least as carefully as we
thought through Github vs. Gitlab :-). A PEP is a good format to start
doing that.

I volunteer to co-author such a PEP. But I'm not up to doing it on my
own. So... who else wants to be a co-author? (I'm not going to
pressure anyone, but Brett, Mariatta, and Carol, please know that your
names were the first ones that jumped to my mind when thinking about
this :-).)

What I'm thinking:

- While this might eventually produce some recommendations, the
immediate goal would just be to collect together different options and
ideas and point out their trade-offs. I'm guessing most core devs
aren't interested in becoming experts on open-source governance, so
the goal here would be to help the broader community get up to speed
and have a more informed discussion [1].

- As per the general PEP philosophy, I think this is best done by
having some amount of general discussion on
python-dev/python-committers, plus a small group of coauthors (say 2-4
people) who take responsibility for filtering ideas and organizing
them in a coherent document.

- Places where we'll want to look for ideas:
  - The thread already happening on python-committers
  - Whatever books / articles / blog posts / etc. we can find (e.g. I
know Karl Fogel's Producing OSS book has some good discussion)
  - Other major projects in a similar position to CPython (e.g.,
node.js, Rust) -- what do they do, and what parts are they
happy/not-happy about?
  - Large Python projects (e.g. Django) -- likewise

If you have suggestions for particularly interesting projects or
excellent writing on the topic, then this thread would be a good place
to mention them.


[1] The NumPy project has put a lot of energy into working through
governance issues over the last few years, and one thing that
definitely helped was coming up with some "assigned reading" ahead of
the main sprint where we talked about this. NumPy's problems are/were
pretty different from CPython's, but I'm imagining this PEP as filling
a similar role.

Nathaniel J. Smith -- https://vorpus.org

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