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

Brett Cannon brett at python.org
Fri Jul 13 14:26:26 EDT 2018

On Fri, 13 Jul 2018 at 04:31 Nathaniel Smith <njs at pobox.com> wrote:

> 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 :-).)

Thanks for thinking of me, but I actually already have a governance model
that I want to propose so I don't think I could be viewed as impartial when
gathering details on other approaches.

> 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

So are you thinking an informational PEP that does a general survey of
other projects and how they handle things? If so then I think that would be
interesting to have even for other projects looking for this kind of

My suspicion is when we all decide it's time to make a decision that we
will have a call for PEPs on governance models and then we will choose from
those. So in that situation I would view this initial PEP as information
gathering for those that want an idea of what preexisting approaches there
are before working towards a concrete proposal. That sounds about right?

> 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.

Someone privately suggested Kafka to me, but I think that's partially
because Kafka is apparently about to propose a release and the person
follows its development.


> -n
> [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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