[Twisted-Python] the Foundation Litmus Test

Sergio Trejo serj_trejo at hotmail.com
Tue Aug 3 03:43:39 EDT 2004

Thank you Glyph for your time authoring this email which was quite 
professional, eloquent, and well reasoned. I may have been over zealous and 
got a little hyper, but I certainly didn't intend to offend anyone. Perhaps 
another year should pass and then the community can raise the question 



P.S. (But let us not forget about the book ;-)

>From: Glyph Lefkowitz <glyph at divmod.com>
>Reply-To: Twisted general discussion <twisted-python at twistedmatrix.com>
>To: Twisted general discussion <twisted-python at twistedmatrix.com>
>Subject: [Twisted-Python] the Foundation Litmus Test
>Date: Tue, 3 Aug 2004 02:49:14 -0400
>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 foundation.
>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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