[OpenAFS] Foundation Plan redux

David Boyes dboyes@sinenomine.net
Mon, 27 Oct 2008 10:48:25 -0400

> there's been precious little in the way of comments regarding the plan
> a potential Foundation for OpenAFs, mostly positive, but I'm unwilling
> believe people like it that much so much as are lazy.
> If you have comments please send them! Public discussion is
> Please reply if you'd like to talk about it!

I've been reading the draft documents Derrick posted wrt to the AFS
Foundation proposal, and while there's a lot to like here, I'd like to
raise a few things that I think aren't addressed yet.=20

First off, I think that the folks that have been working on this deserve
a lot of credit for pushing the idea forward and getting the footwork
done. It's good to see progress on this front, and it's needed doing for
a long time. The current volunteer model is limping a bit (mostly for
lack of paid resources to get specific things done), and the additional
structure and organization around the idea of a non-profit
conservatorship of the AFS environment will help get a number of
long-standing problems addressed. I like the basic structure of the
foundation, but that leads me to my questions,=20

What I look for in a successful organization is a clear understanding of
the basic goals of the organization, and how it plans to sustain itself
over time. Financials are all well and good, but the largest open
question I have has to do with generating a strong set of leaders and
keeping a pipeline of those individuals coming by consciously developing
new leaders. I don't see much discussion of either in these documents.
I'd like to propose the following set of principles for discussion:=20

* Conservatorship.=20

The Foundation's primary goal should be to act as a non-profit
conservator of the  AFS code base. It should be generally acknowledged
that the foundation is acting as a legal representative of the
community, and serves on behalf of the community.

* Transparancy

The processes and procedures used to make decisions and select goals and
leaders should be clearly documented and applied, and it should be
easily determined how decisions are arrived at and the decisions each
participant made.=20

* Sustainability

Any organization that is going to survive beyond the first generation
needs a clear development plan and a succession plan to ensure that
leadership is available and understands the tasks and steps to run the

The current documents do a fair job with the first principle of
conservatorship, but I don't see much work on the other two yet. Perhaps
the idea is to develop the processes as things progress, but there are
good working examples of similar organizations that would probably prove
to be valuable examples if used as a starting point.=20

I'm also concerned that there is little discussion of the sustainability
principle. How does one become part of the various organizations or
committees described in the proposed documents? How long can one obtain
as a gatekeeper or board member? Is there a term limit (a desirable
thing, IMHO, as it forces an organization to develop new leaders rather
than having the same faces in the same places)?=20

All these questions are certainly things where answers can be found, but
I'd like to open the discussion and see if others have constructive
suggestions to develop a plan we can all live with. I'm happy to discuss
these issues with anyone, and look forward to seeing where the final
outcome may take us.

-- db=20

David Boyes
Sine Nomine Associates