Re: SPI Workshop/Brainstorming Session at Debconf

From: Andrew Mulholland <amulholland(at)oftc(dot)net>
To: Ean Schuessler <ean(at)brainfood(dot)com>
Cc: spi-general(at)lists(dot)spi-inc(dot)org
Subject: Re: SPI Workshop/Brainstorming Session at Debconf
Date: 2003-07-21 20:04:54
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I've held back from commenting, or saying anything thus far - being
relatively new to SPI etc - but as the current 'leader' of OFTC, a
project which is parented by SPI, I felt I should voice my thoughts.

On Mon, Jul 21, 2003 at 01:46:06PM -0500, Ean Schuessler wrote:
> I agree, in every way, that the goals of SPI are praiseworthy. I am not
> advocating that we abandon those goals. What I am noting, and you have
> failed to address, is the fact that SPI cannot perform any of these
> services in any realistic way except by using Debian's resources. It is
> entertaining to dream of a SPI that has its own resources that are
> greater than Debian's but that SPI does not exist. I think it is time
> that we recognize that Debian will foot the bill if any of these legal
> adventures go awry.

That for the time being at least Debian will provide the vast majority
of resources, which are available to SPI, is I think a given - I mean,
Debian's been around (nearly) 10 years, and has developed a very large
userbase throught the world.
10 years from now though, its is conceivable, if not that Debian is no
longer the largest SPI project, that at least that SPI parents, some other
projects, which garner a signficant amount of interest, with a
sustantial userbase.
I for one, hope that OFTC will be one of them.

Since OFTC went public on 21st June 2002, it has grown to a userbase of
over 2200 users[0], following a steady pattern of growth, with over 1000
users online at any one point.[1]

It was stated earlier in the thread, one of the reasons for suggesting
renaming SPI-INC to "The Debian Foundation" was to try and ensure "SPI"
is linked more closely to its projects - and namely its biggest one -

This to put it quite frankly stinks of a corporate rebranding exercise,
the type of which, from my experience rarely succeeds, and ends up
causing much more harm than good.

As someone who is reputably one of the greatest playrights of all time
said "What's in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name
would smell as sweet."

I don't see how renaming SPI would drastically change things. Cutting
out a lot of the beaucracy which is preventing it functioning (e.g
Quorum...), is a much more beneficial way to improve its workings,
and ensure it runs efficiently.

Sure SPI has its "star player" - currently Debian, but I don't think
it should risk overlooking its less high profile projects in this way.

Wichert, and Mako, already mentioned the problems which could affect
other projects.

One of these problems, which would ineviatably because, would be
the reopening of the bitter flame war which took place last summer,
is I think what would happen to
If Spi Inc, became the Debian Foundation, then OFTC would be, a Debian
Which would then make the fact that points to FreeNode
a more than contentious issue. - I'm not saying it should be repointed,
its not my position to say, but if "The Debian Foundation" was seen to be
publically (as it would appear to a layman), having a vote of no
confidence in one of its projects (in choosing not to use it), it could
have serious reprecussions for that project.

> Again, I reiterate my earlier point. The services that SPI claims to
> provide cannot be provided without Debian's resources. The copyrights
> SPI has pledged to hold and defend will have to be defended with Debian
> money if it ever comes to legal blows. That fact has to be recognized.
> Debian, as an organization, needs to be on board with SPI's mission or
> we will face a disaster when it comes time to perform on the promises we
> have made to our projects.

For the moment the above is true, yes.
As other SPI Projects grow, and flourish alongside Debian, the resources
will be more evenly distributed.

I would recommend against a renaming of SPI to The Debian Foundation.


Andrew Mulholland
Chair - Network Operations Committee

[0] 20:22 -OperServ(services(at)services(dot)oftc(dot)net)- NickServ: 2237
records, 192 kB (currently registered nicks, going by my logs, there
is at least another 1000 users without registered nicks).

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