Bringing to the next level

John (J5) Palmieri johnp at
Fri Apr 15 18:14:57 EEST 2005

On Fri, 2005-04-15 at 16:43 +0300, Ely Levy wrote:
> On Fri, 15 Apr 2005, John (J5) Palmieri wrote:

> > And this is what made it successful.  It became a single point of
> > communication where people of different camps felt safe to discuss
> > contentious issues.  It became a demilitarized zone of sorts and let the
> > projects evolve on its own merit.  By any measure it is hugely
> > successful because it did the one thing a formal standards organization
> > does not do well.  It created dialog.
> >
> Why are you so against formality?

I'm not against formality per say.  We already have formal
organizations, we don't need another one.  The approach fd.o has taken
works well.  Why add yet another "formal" organization?

> Do you think that just cause big companies screws it we can't make it in a
> better way?

Big companies?  I don't think there is any difference in this respect
from companies and organizations.  You can't just ignore historical
evidence telling us that standards organizations are by far slow moving.

> Is it fear of becoming like them?

Coming from both a corporate and FOSS culture I don't fear becoming like
"them" as you put it.  It is all the same to me.  My fear is creating
ridged standards that either no one will use or that prevents other
better standards from emerging.  As I see it fd.o is an incubator in
which strong standards that have been put to use are born.  If then need
to be they can be moved to the LSB or other standards groups.  

> It's opensource no one body would ever be able to take over it,
> there would never be complete agreement.

Which is why committees are always slow.  Please read the Cathedral and
the Bazaar (the papers that launched open source) by Eric Raymond and
then go back over your arguments.

> I'm just talking about making mainstream work together better.

I think things have been moving in the right direction and pretty fast
in the mainstream.

> > Because it works.  Trying to force standards in this case will create a
> > platform of just good enough software.
> Brute force works also it just takes few million years,
> So to no become a slow standard org you chose become a very inefficient
> not org...

I don't follow your train of thought here.

> > Why does a user care as long as the desktop just works?  This is a
> > developer issue but at this point not even D-Bus is mature enough to
> > create a platform that is not tailored to a particular distribution.
> > BTW there will be a fd.o 1.0 platform release at some point from what I
> > understand.
> Cause he is an idealist and want to support standards?

Not mainstream.  I'm not saying that idealists aren't important but this
does not fit in with your statement above.

> Cause she want to give the new system to his grama and he want to know
> everything would work together?

Does anyone care how MacOS works?  Do they care how windows works?  For
the mainstream user they just care that it works.  Again I am not saying
they shouldn't care how it works but again it is mostly plumbing.

> Cause he want to get to his local school and convince people to use it?

I think supporting standard file formats is more important here or
saving a school district money.  I don't think saying, it uses Cairo
which is a standard for vector graphics library will convince anyone.
In fact start bringing up Gnome, KDE and at your local
school board meeting and I am sure you will get a sea of blank stares. 

> It doesn't just work, it would just work if that user would chose
> programs which support the standards that make programs work with each
> other.

and pushing a bunch of standards will make it just work.  Right.  For
that matter why did we write dbus?  There were already standards we
could have used.  Because they didn't fit what we needed.  Just
Works(tm) comes from engineering, not standards.  The fruits of that
labor have been pushed as informal standards.  Standards is not a magic

> btw without board who exactly decide what goes into fd platform 1.0?

A board doesn't decide what goes into Gnome releases.  There is usually
discussions and a consensus.  The release team then makes a list of what
was discussed and does have the final say but really all they do is
filter the pros and cons and if there is any big contention the module
usually doesn't get in.  None of it is really formal.

> If formal decisions like that are being made better them being made in a
> way everyone can influance them.

Everyone can't influence them.  It really is a meritocracy.  Those who
do the work have more sway.  In the end it is what the developer choose
to use which pick the standards.

> >
> > If components in freedesktop warrant standardization they will get to
> > the correct body and be stuck in comity for years.  Have you read my
> > rant (  A snippet:
> What are you basing this acusation on?
> Just cause some bodies are inefficient you decided that all of them would
> be?

In terms of how fast the desktop needs to move, the fact that fd.o has
worked well in the past and historical data showing that standards
organizations can be slow and an impediment to innovation (look at the
XFree86 project) then yes I believe a formalized fd.o would be a
hindrance.  Note that I didn't say all of them would be.  OASIS for
instance works well enough.  However, it itself was not a formal
standards organization at the time it was able to put out what is
regarded by many to be a better schema standard (Relax-NG) than the very
complicated XML-Schema spec put out by the W3C.    

> Is it some nature law?It's just a matter of building it right
> It's like closed source companies usually release once every long while
> and opensource release very often if active. If you not always wait for
> 1.0 version of the standard before releasing and let it slowly come up
> like done now on fd.o the fact that there would be a body would slow
> anything. 

Wait for 1.0?  D-Bus, cairo, HAL, etc. are not 1.0 yet and they are in
heavy use as informal standards already.   

> Anyhow standards would be written the body would just make
> official fd.o compatible list out of them, and do an efford to offer
> and mediate. I don't mean shuving it down someone's trout.

Fd.o already plans on making a platform release.  I have no problem with
that.  Making it an official, "you have to listen to me and use what I
give you" list is what would be wrong.  Having an elected board would
just be a waste IMHO.  Let it be free flowing, let it remain flexible.


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