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Re: Thought provoking piece on NetBSD

From: Josh Berkus <josh(at)agliodbs(dot)com>
To: pgsql-advocacy(at)postgresql(dot)org
Cc: "Joshua D(dot) Drake" <jd(at)commandprompt(dot)com>, PgSQL General <pgsql-general(at)postgresql(dot)org>
Subject: Re: Thought provoking piece on NetBSD
Date: 2006-08-31 18:41:41
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Lists: pgsql-advocacypgsql-generalpgsql-hackers

> On the other hand, we do suffer from the locked project problem (the
> recent recursive query debacle is a perfect example).

Yep, and that was immediately recognized as a problem in need of a 
solution.  In fact, some of the arguments againts the issue/feature 
tracker were that it would encourage the locked project issue.  So the 
NetBSD experience should inform our design of the future feature/bug 
tracker: it should be used to encourage new developers (by providing clear 
specs and status information) rather than locking in old ones.

> We do have portions of a meritocracy in place but we are by no means
> mature in that arena. Likely because of our lock problem ;)

What specific issues do you see?   We're pretty strongly merit-based -- the 
only reservation I see on that is a bias toward more eloquent writers 
having disproprotionate influence.  But I don't see any way to avoid that.

> Another odd issue, which may or may not be a positive is that we don't
> have a public leader. We have half a dozen people (less I think) that
> are very, very public (I am not talking mailing list public).

Actually, this issue is a complete red herring.   People like to point to 
Linux as successful because of Linus's benevolent dictatorship, but Linus 
is the exception rather than the rule.  Most of the very successful 
projects (Apache, Perl, MySQL, Debian,, etc.) are led by councils or 
companies without a dictator.  I can name more than a few projects where 
the "charismatic leader" was the main thing preventing the project's 

In general, I think that people who harp on PostgreSQL's lack of a 
benevolent dictator as an inhibitor to progress are people who are not 
comfortable with democracy and are looking for excuses why company X needs 
to "take over the project for its own good."


Josh Berkus
PostgreSQL @ Sun
San Francisco

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