[Twisted-Python] the Foundation Litmus Test
glyph at divmod.com
Tue Aug 3 02:49:14 EDT 2004
On Aug 3, 2004, at 10:50 AM, Tim Stebbing wrote:
> My last email was possibly taken out of context, I was suggesting that
> I didn't oppose you going off and doing these things, some of which I
> didn't think where bad ideas, but you cant expect any help for free,
> Noone else is interested, or seems to see a need.
This is almost, but not entirely how I feel about the issue.
I do see a need for the Twisted foundation. I am the progenitor of the
project, but I am not the principal author any more. I can barely keep
up with the fantastic team, and larger community, that has grown up
around the project. To my great relief, I receive very few personal
messages about the framework, which must mean that the world at large
(correctly) identifies the community at large with the maintenance of
the project and not me personally.
I have no interest in holding a large body of other peoples' work
hostage, either on purpose or by accident. I want the Twisted
community to flourish and for the framework to become a standard in the
software development industry. After all, I wrote Twisted in the first
place as just _one_ layer of infrastructure for a multi-decade-long
project; the whole point is to offload the maintenance so that I can
work my way up the tiers of abstraction to the singularity lurking just
around the bend.
However, a foundation is a lot of work, and a lot of that work falls
necessarily upon me as both the original author and principal copyright
holder. You can think of this overhead as a litmus test.
I promise you this: I am never going to take the first step to start a
foundation. I have lots of other things to do; even if I weren't
monumentally busy with work, I have a beautiful woman who lives with me
that I see far too little of. I have thousands of hobby projects I
could be working on. I have lots of friends who could use my volunteer
assistance, both on their companies and on their charitable projects.
I also have about ten years of sleep to catch up on.
So, if I am going to spend time on the Twisted project, I am going to
do what I do best, which is to implement the huge laundry list of
features that remain. I am not going to file legal paperwork to fill
some ambiguous, long-term goals that are never going to be personally
important to me.
So here is the litmus test - a challenge, if you like - for the
maturity of the Twisted community. If you are interested in a Twisted
foundation to hold the copyrights, finance development, accept
donations, etc., take responsibility for organizing a group to do this,
and come to me with a proposal. Be organized enough so that I don't
have to do a lot of the work, and be prepared to compensate my company
for the time that I do have to spend. Normally I don't do consulting,
but I will persuade my co-workers and management to give me the time to
do this, since I do think it is a worthy cause, if at least the
proto-foundation will cover the nominal costs.
Until a sufficiently large group of people in the community and in
funded organizations (for- or non-profit) see a real need for such a
foundation, I don't think that the community is mature enough to get
any benefit from one. Furthermore I think that the organizational
overhead that a foundation would impose would actually be a *detriment*
to the community until the community itself is sufficiently organized
to be able to muster the infrastructure which surrounds a successful
Such infrastructure includes both organized, knowledgeable,
self-motivated volunteers who are aware of the legal and technical
requirements to get started, and enough money to keep the foundation
alive and functioning for a good long while. A dead foundation holding
the copyrights is almost as bad as a dead corporation.
Such an organization would find the initial expenditure for my services
(and those of the other principal Twisted contributors, which I'm sure
you'll need for one reason or another) to be a pittance.
Good luck on organizing one, but I don't think the community is quite
there yet - I would estimate one more year before we reach critical
mass. If we make it by then, keep in mind that four years is doing
VERY VERY well. Most projects which don't immediately as foundations
don't reach this point for about ten years.
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