[foundation-board] Chapters

Ben Laurie ben at links.org
Fri Sep 14 16:44:01 UTC 2012

I just wanted to clarify a little why I keep harping on about the
purpose of chapters. It is because they remind me very much of
projects in the Apache Software Foundation.

When we were starting out, we thought that the fact a project used the
Apache Licence was good enough to ensure that the Right Thing would
happen. This turned out to be very far from the truth, and is why we
ended up with the Incubator and mentors (who must be ASF members) and
a lengthy process whereby a project proves it is conforming to "The
Apache Way".

Likewise, right now it seems that OKFN thinks that "conforms to the
Open Knowledge Definition" is sufficient to ensure that a chapter will
behave as we expect, and I think this will turn out to be as untrue as
it was in the ASF. I would really rather avoid going through all the
pain of fixing that after the fact!

The kinds of things that went wrong at Apache include, but are not
limited to, projects that were really a vehicle for a company to
promote its products, projects that were a way to promote patented
technologies, projects that were run by petty dictators and the kinds
of problems that led Fitz (an early member) to give this talk many
times: http://apachecon.com/2006/US/presentations/FR13/FR13-Poisonous-people.pdf.

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