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From "Noel J. Bergman" <>
Subject RE: ASF member role - accountable to whom
Date Sat, 20 Sep 2003 08:02:11 GMT

The following is synthesized from numerous conversations, messages, etc.  It
represents my understanding.  Hopefully, if I have gotten any aspects wrong,
someone will correct it (and me).

Please put this in context.  There have been questions as to what criteria
should exist for incubation, and how to bring projects into the Incubator.
The Incubator PMC is trying to address the issues, while providing adequate
oversight manageable by the PMC.  If they say that a project is eligible for
incubation if there is a Member wanting to sponsor it and it is clear of
legal entanglements, that is actually improving access to the Incubator.

I believe that you used the term "country club."  Corporation is more
accurate.  Take a look at the Bylaws.  The ASF is a legal Corporation.
Members, Officers, and PMCs are all present as legal entities within the
Bylaws.  I believe that other options were said to be sponsorship by an
existing PMC, which means sponsorship by the PMC Chair, who is an Officer
(VP) of the Foundation; or by the ASF Board.

What is the Incubator's purpose?  What I am told from multiple sources (I
have asked about this out of interest), is that the Incubator is to be used
whenever a substantial codebase (a sub-project) is brought in from outside
the ASF, regardless of whether it is going to be a sub-project or a new TLP.
As I understand it, the Incubator PMC is charged with ensuring not just
successful community building, but the legal protection of the Foundation.
In my view, the sponsor should take responsibility, and not leave it up to
the Incubator, but the Incubator PMC is going to act as a gatekeeper making
*sure* that it happens.  The Incubator PMC is charged by the Foundation with
making sure that the project has satisfied all legal issues before being
allowed to move into the Foundation proper.  Because its focus is on
incubation on a regular basis, the Incubator PMC is more likely to be aware
of the issues than others.

If that understanding is correct, it certainly fits with the scenario that
Nicola Ken put forth.  He appeared to suggest that the people responsible
for incubation should include both the Sponsor and a PMC member acting as an
"incubation specialist."  Nicola Ken seems to be referring to some recent
incubation experiences to explain why he feels that it is important to have
both to ensure proper oversight.  So this is all about legal oversight,
Stephen, not exclusion.

Do you imagine that the best way to incubate a project would be with a
Sponsor, a PMC member, and a group of new committers?  No, of course you
don't; the question is rhetorical.  If you did, you would not be raising
this issue with, I am sure, the best intentions.  I'm sure that you agree
that such a scenario would not be conducive to incubating projects that work
well with other ASF projects.  When working with Alex to help prepare the
Directory project for proposed incubation, one of the primary keys to
success in my mind was finding interested people and related projects within
the ASF with which to collaborate, and structuring the project in such as
way as to facilitate win-win collaboration.

Collaboration, not exclusion.  The fact that a Sponsor may be required by
the Incubator PMC to provide project oversight does not exclude what I hope
would be your very active participation!  Anything else would be
counter-productive.  Being there to help provide the lattice work for the
podling's Community, and participating in its development is invaluable,

You asked to whom a Member is accountable.  You should also ask the
flip-side of that question, and ask for what a Member is responsible.
Because becoming a Member means being entrusted with shared responsibility
for the ASF as a whole.  And things you view as privileges are largely the
flip-side of new responsibilities.

	--- Noel

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