I have been following what is being termed the “OpenDS mess” through infrequent readings of the blogosphere. I am sure that a statement that would attempt to provide an insight into what truly happened would be available soon and I hope that it provides the complete picture. But what it does for me right now is put a context to the conversation I was involved in yesterday (on #mozilla.in on the mozilla IRC server).
The talk was about “control” and how it is natural for humans to hanker after it. Somewhat simplistically I tend to believe that control and the urge to control is not the true picture. It is natural for almost everybody to be attracted to baubles and thus to property. The notion of loss (or gain) of such concept of property is where the genesis of control lies. However, once there is an urge to control that is generated, it is slightly difficult to step back and observe the potentially disastrous impact of it. For example, look at the FOSS world. A large number of the popular FOSS projects are also supported, sponsored, invested into by companies. Thus, the companies have a vested interest in ensuring that the technology vision for the projects are aligned with the strategic business visions. And there lies the fine line. Participating in a FOSS project really means showing a large amount of commitment and accountability. The fun bit about the last quality is that it is not limited to only the members of a company that sponsors it – but is inclusive of “everybody|community” around the project. This of course means that decisions can never be taken without transparency, authority can never be inherited by folks within the “chosen elite”. Almost all projects these days draw up governing rules and charter that have a single aim in mind “ensuring that the door is not shut to external community members”. So it becomes the duty of the Project Leader and the individual Sub Project Leaders to avoid falling into this elitist mentality. And this awareness is a part of the fiduciary duty they have towards the community who are their raison d’être
In this aspect, I recall (as far as I can recall well) that Seth Vidal is passionate about accessing Fedora bits by *not* using the corporate VPN. It might be an idiosyncrasy, but it provides the perfect “dip-stick” test as to how open a project is. If there is a favorable bias towards the corporate contributors, then surely something is wrong. A project has to have a healthy balance of corporate and community contributors. Because only then do words like Freedom, Accountability, Commitment and Courage make a difference and actually mean anything.
This is a nice relevant read.