X.Org Foundation Board of Directors 2010 Election

Daniel Stone daniel at fooishbar.org
Mon Feb 15 11:21:31 PST 2010

On Fri, Feb 12, 2010 at 05:26:46PM -0600, David Nicol wrote:
> It seems that the X bylaws allow for outsider participation,

Yeah, they do.

> perhaps
> to provide oversight to mitigate developer-driven coolitis (not as bad
> a malady as featuritis, but still suboptimal), and that has attracted
> me.

The X.Org Foundation not only lacks a technical direction role, but very
explicitly does not have one.  It is, in a sense, the court of last
arbitration, and is concerned with the health of X.Org (as distinct from
the Foundation) as a whole, but does _not_ have any form of day-to-day
technical oversight.  I don't expect this to change any time soon.

> That and the fact that you do Borda counting.

Er. :)

> Aside from the hopefully redundant role of focus maintainer,

If you want to maintain focus, the lists are the place to do so, rather
than through the Foundation.

> Aside from hoping that any Tools For Organzations I bring will be
> useful, and hoping that my sense of focus will be helpful, I also
> bring a desire to see a general world-wide bounty clearinghouse set up
> for adding features to open-source projects. I think that X might be a
> good place to start by establishing a general-purpose bounty system
> for X development projects that do not carry either sufficient
> intrinsic amusement value to attract volunteer developers or
> sufficient business value to trigger deployment of professionals.
> That's not general purpose, that's special purpose, but by creating a
> bounty system with a more general vision, the system may spill over
> into other realms, much as Orkut is now widely used in South America
> and India, surprising those who launched it originally.

To be honest, I'm incredibly skeptical of bounty systems after seeing
them fail quite spectacularly for both GNOME and Ubuntu in 2004 --
noting also that GNOME and Ubuntu have very large casual
('opportunistic' seems to be the current buzzword) development
communities, which bounties are generally targeted at, whereas X.Org has
a very small base of casual contributors.

This is something that has been very rapidly improving and definitely
needs to continue improving, but I don't think bounties would be a good
idea right now.  Perhaps it's worth talking to some of the people
involved in the original bounty craze in free software a few years ago;
I think at least of the GNOME guys even posted somewhat of a post-mortem
for the bounty program online somewhere.  But yeah, our problem seems to
be much more lack of time (combined with a high barrier to entry for
casual contributions), rather than lack of financial incentive.  (If
people want to get paid for hacking X, just mention it and you'll have
quite a few companies beating down your door ...)

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