[CentOS] Open Letter to Lance Davis

Fri Jul 31 02:20:27 UTC 2009
William L. Maltby <CentOS4Bill at triad.rr.com>

On Thu, 2009-07-30 at 20:36 -0400, Jim Perrin wrote:
> <snip>

Jim, you're spot-on with all that you posted. Since some don't seem to
understand what I think you're leading to, I thought I would chime in.

> 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.

And there is good reason for that, other than just a moral view. As I
replied to Dag in a post long ago, there is an implied client
relationship in these sorts of things _even_if_no_money_change_hands and
_even_if_no_contractual_obligations exist.

Projects such as CentOS exist on two basic foundations: trust and
reliance (there is a small difference). Trust must exist and each must
be able to rely on others. This applies not only *within* the project,
but also between the project personnel and the users of the project.

Your "because it's how we want to be treated" sums it up nicely, the
"Golden Rule". Each of us wants to be able to trust and be trusted and
to rely upon and be relied upon.

Having most actions in public view engenders the feeling of reliability
and can demonstrate to others that one (or in this case, the project) is
trustworthy. It also permits a feedback from those outside the project
itself that might be useful to the project. If one solicits donations,
they are (hopefully) more likely to be forthcoming if the potential
donor can see what the money is used for, in some detail. Regardless of
that, everyone who donates time or money wants to *know* (not just hope
or feel) that the contribution was worthwhile and not "frittered away".

Personally, I do not think *everything* at all times must be public.
E.g. trying to resolve issues with the unavailability of a key person
before bringing the problem public. If the first step were a public one,
irreparable harm might be done, in many areas, if it turns out the
concerns were unfounded. Or it might make the issue more difficult to
resolve because of a concern over "appearances", potential damage to
one's ego, reputation, etc.

One of the big failings of various open-source projects has always been
the attitude by some members that because the efforts or results are
"gratis", there is no obligation undertaken by the project members to
the community.

This is patently absurd as such an attitude, if widespread and
unchecked, spells certain doom to the project over the long haul.