Getting LispOS going
Sun, 25 May 1997 10:10:15 -0500 (CDT)

> > I don't think Mr. Coleman has forsaken anybody.  He is in the unenviable
> > position of having control of this list, but potentially alienating 
> > some people if he exercises this control.  If he does nothing, chances
> > are we'll fizzle out and LispOS will become "an amusing conversation".
> > If he takes control, chances are that some people may accuse him of
> > being dictatorial, if his control and leadership installment does not
> > fit their views.  This is a very rough place to be in.
> Hmmm... so somebody should do something, certainly, but who and what????

Well I think Mr. Coleman is the only person who can do something since
he has the control of the list.  We could try elections and so forth,
but without real power to enforce the results, we could end up being
more anarchistic than before.  

I'm just saying that Mr. Coleman has a tough time in front of him, and
that he has not forsaken anybody.

> > The problem with that are as follows:
> > 	1) There will be quite a bit of wasted effort.
> Only a truely evil dictatorship has no wasted effort :-)

:) Ok, but how about a benevolent dictatorship where there's just
a bit of wasted effort?  I just want to see effort maximized
within some reasonable context.  Yeah, talk about vague :)

> > 	2) Some people may insist on continuing to do it themselves, thus
> > 		we'll lose potentially valuable resources.
> Yes, but at least they'll be doing /something/. Even if it isn't
> directly useful to us, there will probably be lessons learnt from
> it, publicity to be gained from it, etc. 

Could be, if they choose to share their results.  Thing is will they?
Also how much, and to whom?  Again, if we're in a unified group
and working together, then errors will be obvious to all, and learning

> > 	3) Those who have done something may try to force it down the
> > 		throats' of others.
> This would have to be "constitutionally" prohibited!

Well this could be a problem.  Here's what I'm visualizing.  Person A
chooses to do something that s/he feels is the best course.  Later
on groups get together and Person A tries to get his/her project
incorporated, but it gets voted out.  Well having spent so much time
on this thing, this person is not exactly eager to dump it, so s/he
makes an ultimatum:  Incorporate this project or s/he is out.  Given
that this person is a valuable resource, this is a pretty tough decision.

On the other hand, if we're working in a unified context, then results
of one group are closer to being guaranteed to be incorporated in the
big picture, so situations like the above will be minimized, if not
eliminated altogether.

> > 	4) There is no control over who groups with whom, so we could
> > 		end up with "tribes" of developers rather than a unified
> > 		"nation".
> Well, there are differing goals and viewpoints here, so unless the
> theory can provide a unifying model of computation for us, a unified
> nation would just end up in civil war IMHO.

Well there will be sub-projects, don't get me wrong, but again we need
a form of guidance that will keep the main focus -- LispOS in context.
If people go off on their own, they could go too far in one project,
or develop another project that is too restrictive to be incorporated
into the main project.

> > I for one know that this project is not trivial, and have no intention of
> > starting it without a body of control to govern it.  If people want to
> > go off on a tangent, that's fine with me, but I intend to work on
> > something that has the best chance of succeeding.
> In which case, amongst the tribes would be some big tribes where 
> people who don't have any problems with authority club together.
> An anarchic manifesto merely reifies the inevitable splinter 
> groups :-)

Well again I'm looking for maximum gains.  Right now the duty rosters
have 31 people who are all willing to make a contribution.  There may
be more who haven't posted a roster yet (I still am getting rosters
to this day, keep 'em coming folks if you haven't), but the point is
that with 31 people, well organized, we could get soem serious 
progress going.  Compare this with 31 people, all going in their own
directions -- what do you think the result will be?

> > I think that we should step back even more.  I think an authoritative
> > body consisting of an "elite" of our most experience should have the
> > final say, and decide what we do, whether it is discussion, or
> > implementation, etc...  They will have the power to assign tasks based
> > on our duty rosters, and we should all choose to abide by them.
> Out of interest, who would you trust to govern? 
> Henry Baker, Fare, Richard Coleman? Me? Yourself?

No, I'm the last person on Earth to govern anyone here.

I would trust people who have strong software engineering experience
(like project leaders) to govern us.  Mr. Coleman brought us together,
and has shown great wisdom in treading carefully around the issue
of control, so with that in mind and his natural power of controlling
the list, I definitely would trust him to serve as at least a figure
in setting up a means of control, and enforcing decisions made by
"Steering Committees" as a person on this list dubbed them.

I do have duty rosters, so I can at least pick through them and see
who has the most software engineering experience, or if folks are
interested, I could post the duty rosters and let them decide.
Of course we'd have to agree to this means of government first.

> > -- 
> > Cya,
> > Ahmed
> --
> Alaric B. Williams (
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