Saturday, April 18, 2009

What can the OGB do for you?

It's a great honour to be elected to the OGB, and I want to thank everyone who took the trouble to vote.

So, what is the OGB going to do this year?

Let's start by looking at the Charter. This defines what the OGB has to do. And if you look at that, then the job of the OGB - above all else - is to construct and maintain the OpenSolaris Constitution. Much of the Charter is about the Constitution, and there's also quite a bit about the structure of the OGB itself (and a lot of that is the initial bootstrapping of the OGB when the OpenSolaris community was created and we started with the CAB).

Past that, the OGB then manages the community according to the Constitution. There are clear problems with the current Constitution, which is why a revised version was proposed. Having failed to pass, we're going to have to do something, because the current Constitution is a obstacle that's getting in the way of developing the community, but how we deal with that is another matter.

Note that the OGB is quite constrained in its operations. Both the Charter and the Constitution are reasonably specific about what we are supposed to do. In particular, it's pretty explicitly clear that the OpenSolaris we govern is not OpenSolaris the Sun distribution, nor is it OpenSolaris the codebase, it's just the OpenSolaris community.

However, I'm going to interpret the Charter slightly more broadly. At the beginning, it says to manage and direct an OpenSolaris community in its efforts to improve upon and advocate in favor of OpenSolaris. There are two phrases there that are key.

The first is manage and direct - and clearly we the OGB cannot in fact direct any member of the community to do anything. What we can do is put into place management processes that will allow the community to do its work more easily; it's up to the community to use them. One of the things we have talked about (it's come up before, but I think we want to push it again) is some level of reporting. We should expect every structural part of the community to produce regular status reports, so that we know what's going on. At the very least, that a project or community is still alive. Beyond that, these reports would promote wider awareness of what each group is doing, and would also give groups an opportunity to make bottlenecks known so that they can be acted upon. There are problems that are well known already, and we need to make sure that progress in those areas is maintained - and is more visible so that people don't think the problems are being ignored.

The second key phrase is advocate, and I would like to see the OGB more prominent as advocates and champions of OpenSolaris. On a personal note, this is difficult for a quiet reserved Englishman such as myself, but it needs doing. And at least some of the other OGB members (I'm not going to say all, because I certainly can't presume I can speak for them) feel that the OGB should be taking a more active role. If we don't, then call us to account.

Going back to the title - and given the limitations on the real power that the OGB has - what can the OGB do for you?

1 comment:

luminair said...

the governing board governs nothing but the community? that is weird

why does the community need governors?