[ocaml-infra] ocaml.org licensing

Fabrice Le Fessant fabrice.le_fessant at ocamlpro.com
Wed Feb 26 21:46:08 GMT 2014

On Wed, Feb 26, 2014 at 5:57 PM, Anil Madhavapeddy <avsm2 at cl.cam.ac.uk> wrote:
>> 3/ I am concerned by the "governance" part of
>> http://ocaml.org/about.html . I don't think the 5 current members are
>> representative of the OCaml community, 3 of them are in the UK, 1 in
>> the US and 1 in Belgium. Given that the current rules gives them too
>> much power (each of them has the right to prevent anybody from joining
>> the group: I have never seen that anywhere else, I would actually
>> expect the contrary, that any member would have the right to add new
>> members), I think it is a barrier for adoption and contribution by the
>> wider community (especially the French one, see for example how
>> outdated the page http://ocaml.org/docs/install.fr.html is, latest
>> version is 4.00.1 there).
> It's important to note that the governance structure arises from the
> people who participate and have done most of the work as volunteers
> (particularly Ashish and Christophe).   That's why the first line is
> "a small team of individuals volunteer their time to manage and develop
> the site".

The point is: is ocaml.org THEIR website, or the website of the
COMMUNITY ? If it is their website, it is clear that they should keep
the control of what they have done. But if it is the website of the
community, then the control should belong to the community, i.e. a
representative group of persons, and contributors should not have more
control, but just be credited for what they have done (this can be
done by adding a "credit" page, or  a hall-of-fame of contributors).

> I agree that consensus is a rather strong form of governance, but it's
> also not been a barrier so far.  I'd very much like to see ocaml.org
> remove as many blockers to external contributors as possible, particularly
> in the realm of translations.

I think it has already been a barrier, but it was not noticed, just
because it is hard to see contributions that are not sent.
Contributing to a website is not the same as contributing to free
software. In the case of free software, you usually contribute by
something that is going to be useful to yourself first, and that can
then be useful to other people too. For a website, why would somebody
contribute ? In some way, if you plan to become an heavy contributor,
you need some insurance that you are giving your contribution to the
good place, that the website is the one of the community, and not just
yet another project of web portal for OCaml. For that, if the website
is not already attracting everybody, you are going to check that you
like the team driving the website, if you know them, if you like what
they usually do, if they are likely to like what you are going to
contribute, etc. So, I think it is important to have a much larger
team than the current team, maybe also with members who are not heavy
contributors, but who are famous in the community.

>  To address your short-term concern about diversity, would anyone from OCamlPro or INRIA Gallium be willing
> to step into the team?

I already applied a few months ago. I can check around me at OCamlPro
and Gallium if there are other volunteers to contribute.


More information about the Infrastructure mailing list