[OpenAFS] Foundation Plan redux

Simon Wilkinson sxw@inf.ed.ac.uk
Mon, 27 Oct 2008 09:17:56 -0700

On 27 Oct 2008, at 07:48, David Boyes wrote:
> * 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.

 From my reading, it seems like the proposal already addresses issues  
of transparency. Do you have specific areas in which you have concerns?

> * 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
> organization.
> 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.
> 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?

It's not clear to me how one becomes a board member, beyond the  
normal corporate election structures. Criteria for becoming a  
gatekeeper (appointment by the TAC), or a TAC member (appointment, in  
the case of corporate members, or election for individual members)  
seem pretty clear.

> 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)?

In this case, as with AFS standardisation, I strongly disagree that  
term limits are desirable. At their worst, they just ensure the  
retirement of strong post holders, and their replacement with  
inexperienced ones.

OpenAFS badly needs a way of encouraging new faces, and growing those  
individuals into positions of responsibility. I don't believe that  
requiring the abdication of successful leaders after some arbitrary  
period will help with this. It's kind of like cutting off the head of  
a random animal in the hope that it will grow a new one - it works in  
a small number of cases, but the rest of the time you'll end up with  
a lifeless corpse.