[CentOS] Open Letter to Lance Davis

Fri Jul 31 00:36:03 UTC 2009
Jim Perrin <jperrin at gmail.com>

On Thu, Jul 30, 2009 at 6:47 PM, Johnny Hughes<johnny at centos.org> wrote:

>> The problem is this situation is erroding the trust
>> in this project.

This goes back to my original post in this thread about transparency
in the project. I don't see it as erroding the trust, but it's not
building any good will either.

> Why ... we are under no obligation to tell people how how we spend
> monies.  There are costs that are incurred for any organization.  We are
> probably going to disclose how monies are spent in the future because we
> choose to.  If you run a private organization, must you tell me how you
> spend your money?  You get an OS and can chose to donate monies or not.

We're not under any obligation to tell people how the money gets
spent, but doing so certainly goes a long way building good will. In
my opinion, a simple 'We got X monies in donations which were used to
purchase dedicated hosting, bandwidth, and various novelties for booth
and show kit' once in a while would do worlds of good for showing
people how we use the money they choose to give us.

I don't have any legal obligation to help old ladies cross the street,
or rescue cats from trees. It's what you do because you're a good
person. Doing this in a community sense is what makes you a good
neighbor, and what helps build community reputation.

>> To me, the larger problem is the fact that the rest
>> of the team kept it under wraps for so long.  That
>> immediately begs the question of what else they are
>> hiding or potentially will hide in the future.

Not all dirty laundry gets aired immediately. There's no reason to
tell everything to everyone, and there are a great many people who
don't care what happens internally. They just want a solid distro with
updates in a timely fashion.

> We are hiding nothing ... why exactly does CentOS need to provide that
> information to you?

We don't *need* to. We should. I feel that the way the situation was
handled was the right way. We approached in private first. We
approached as a collective group in private. And finally when all else
failed to work, action was taken and the issues were made public.

> We were not then and not now hiding anything.  It is purely and internal
> matter as to how some things need to be controlled.  If the CentOS.org
> domain where not involved, then most if this would be being handled
> privately among the developers/primary officers.

Thinking that this is entirely an internal manner is a bit
short-sighted. Keeping all the problems internal doesn't solve them.
Not to speak for Dag, but judging by his blog reaction to the news,
the finance issue and lack of openness is part of what drove his
departure. If we move to adopt a slightly more open approach and
include more community efforts, I believe that we'll see a great deal
of good from it.

It's not that we OWE the community anything. It's that we should do it
because it's how we want to be treated, and how we SHOULD deal with
them while we participate in the project.

During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.
George Orwell