[CentOS-devel] FYI: centos reproduceability

William L. Maltby

CentOS4Bill at triad.rr.com
Tue Apr 28 22:10:23 UTC 2009

On Tue, 2009-04-28 at 23:32 +0200, Dag Wieers wrote:
> On Tue, 28 Apr 2009, James Olin Oden wrote:
> > On Tue, Apr 28, 2009 at 2:19 PM, Dag Wieers <dag at centos.org> wrote:
> >> On Tue, 28 Apr 2009, James Olin Oden wrote:
> >>
> >> CentOS does not have customers,
> >
> > Yes you do. <snip>

> I wouldn't call it customers. And we don't have employees either. :)
> We have users, and some of them are volunteers and that is the first thing 
> to understand a project like CentOS. What is driving the project is a 
> combination of self-interest and recognition of those volunteers.
> Any user can become a volunteer given some rules and some skills. Although 
> currently that does not always scale that well and we are looking 
> for ways to improve this and empower people to take action too.
> As a project we need to regularly do a self-assessement and better define 
> who we are, what our goals are and how we want to reach those. And 
> communicate this clearly to get all heads in the same direction.
> If you look at the past year we have made a lot of progress in some 
> areas but we fell short on other domains. And I think we have seen 
> the limits of working with volunteers a few times too.
> We have to learn from what we did wrong, and find spots to improve, but 
> most of all we have to manage the resources we have better so that we can 
> put trust in the people that dedicate their time for free and plan ahead.
> Anyway I am getting off-topic now.
> Customers seems to imply we have an incentive/obligation to support/help, 
> and I am afraid we do not. Neither the project nor the community has any 
> obligations, nevertheless people are being helped. We have users and we 
> are users.

I disagree about obligations. The obligations are self-imposed and, I
would presume, are taken seriously by those who undertake those
obligations. Without this there would be no project. Each project member
must be able to have a certain reliance on the other project members, to
some unspecified-here degree, to both carry out the tasks they agree to
and do so in a "best effort" manner, allowing for many other factors.

Without this degree of reliance, enabled by self-imposed obligation, the
fabric of the project unravels - maybe quickly maybe over a long time.

Once one self-imposes this obligation, and states it so that others may
rely on that, it becomes more than "self-imposed" until such time as the
obligation is either publicly (within the project community) withdrawn
or the consistent long-term failure to satisfy the obligation is noted,
at which time other members must cease reliance on that obligation.

Now, unless one is a totally amoral individual, this obligation also
extends to the users, whether explicitly stated or not. Without the user
community accepting that you (the project) have undertaken an
obligation, they can not rely upon the project and should seek another
venue if that is an issue for their scenario.

The side-effect of being able to rely upon you (the project) is a
willingness of the/some users to return value, in various forms, to the
project. It may be as participation in support of other user's queries,
contributing to wiki contents, etc. or donation of $$, hardware, etc.

That constitutes "payment", even if in kind. That could reasonably be
argued to constitute a customer relationship.

The fact that something other than money is or may be the form of
payment does not alter the relationship.

Many projects die a slow and lingering death because the project members
and/or users are not willing to give up *any* "freedom" or make any
concessions in recognition of this actual relationship.

Unfortunately, the folks who *do* make such a commitment are often the
ones most severely harmed by those who will not make such a commitment.
It all has a relationship to a sense of "team" and "teamwork".

>From all this is derived another form of payment: a sense of
satisfaction from a job well done, both individually and as a team. If
you doubt such, take a look at the emotional and sometimes defensive
responses when some outside the project post what is taken as an
"unjust" criticism or an unreasonable and selfish request, without
consideration for those who are doing the "heavy lifting".

I could go on, but I hope you see the validity of this POV.



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