[ocaml-infra] Adopting a Governance framework for OCaml.org

Anil Madhavapeddy anil at recoil.org
Mon Sep 14 14:23:34 BST 2015

On 11 Sep 2015, at 17:15, Xavier Leroy <Xavier.Leroy at inria.fr> wrote:
> On 11/09/15 12:46, Amir Chaudhry wrote:
>> This is just a reminder that this process is still ongoing.  
>> The following people are currently involved with the domain itself
>> or Projects that make use of it.  For each of the people in the list,
>> do you agree to adopt the governance document?
> I agree to adopt it.  And I thank Amir for all his efforts setting it up.

I also agree to adopting this governance document.

> Fabrice Le Fessant adds:
>> It seems a bit surprising for me, while reading the document, that
>> only people are involved, and not organizations. Given the structure
>> of the OCaml community, I would have expected INRIA, Jane Street,
>> OCamlPro, OCamllabs to be explicitely part of the discussion.
> I read this as a board of trustees: people who might represent
> organizations, but also contribute personally to the operation of the
> ocaml.org infrastructure, and commit to support it in their personal
> names.  Inria, OCamlPro, and OCamlLabs are represented.  I guess
> someone from Jane Street would be welcome if he/she participates in
> the operation.

That's exactly the model that would be most beneficial. The infrastructure
around the operations is fairly non-trivial now (>10 VMs), and so requires
a certain amount of trust in the *individuals* taking part to not abuse
it.  Naming people explicitly ensures that if they depart or otherwise
wish to transition away, the remaining group can ensure that the health
of the deployment.

>> For example, opam.ocaml.org is maintained by OCamlPro (for OPAM source
>> itself, by formerly Thomas and now Louis) and OCamllabs (for the
>> repository, by Anil and Thomas). So, can a "Maintainer" be a company
>> or institution, in addition to the  developers that are currently
>> doing the work ?

I'd be against a company being the maintainer.  Both Thomas and Louis
(and me, and David Sheets, etc...) have quite a bit of unwritten knowledge
about the current deployment, and I trust them to handle it all correctly
until we get around to documenting everything perfectly.  If people just
start swapping around and giving each other SSH root keys to VMs, things
will rapidly descend into chaos.

Consider how many companies have come and gone in OCaml's 20 year history.
The same individual characters still pop up with alarming regularity
through those years, however, no matter who the paymasters are :-)

Please do also note that OCaml Labs is nothing like OCamlPro, and cannot
identify as a corporate entity. It's a group within the Cambridge Computer
Laboratory, and not separately incorporated.  As such, we are covered by
the Statutes of the University of Cambridge Regent House, which includes
the assignment of non-patentable intellectual property (such as copyright)
with the individual members.  Therefore, anyone who contributes from this
group acts as an individual, despite being part of an academic collective.

> Technically, no:  Inria doesn't have a trademark on "OCaml" nor "Caml"
> (believe it or not, that was considered in the late 80's, but
> abandoned), and I *personally* own the ocaml.org domain.

The same is true of the GitHub organisation, and the VMs are "personally"
owned by me via the Rackspace Developer Program.  I would be happy to
assign some sort of co-ownership to Xavier in the future to ensure that
he has full access to every part of the infrastructure.


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