Tuesday, 8 March 2011

The Universe is Unfair

Fairness is a highly subjective thing. It's not simply about everyone being treated equal, it's about everyone being treated in a way that's proportional to need, merit, or some combination of the two. The universe is objectively blind to need and merit. It rains fortune and misfortune on the guilty and the innocent with equal abandon. Given that the universe is unfair, we must intervene to rectify the situation and be prepared that when we do, it will be, as Dave points out, contentious.

So it is with divvying out the Friends of Eclipse funds. Scott suggests we give up. Just kidding; I'm distorting his words by taking them out of context. What's life without a bit of humor? He actually suggests we give up centralized control. Fortunately he doesn't mean we should have a vote each and every time. We all know how contentious voting can be and how easily one can stack the vote with all your best friends. It's more likely to resemble a popularity contest than anything else.

Concretely, in 339239, Scott suggests that the individuals donating the money should make the decision. I'm not completely sure what this would entail. I think the suggestion is that the donor delegates the spending decision to a specific project's leadership, sort of like ear marking it, perhaps via a huge drop-down list of all projects. That certainly sounds very fair, at least to the donor.

Let's consider though just for a moment if donor earmarking is likely to be fair in the grand scheme of things. I hope the Aardvark project, being early in the list of choices, doesn't get most of the donations! I hope projects with poor documentation, builds, and testing get some money to help fix that. I hope projects that are used in the many other projects, but aren't apparent in the user interface, get lots of donations. In fact, I hope it's not just a few sexy projects that get the lion's share of the money. Simply put, I hope the donors will be fair. I doubt it though. I fear it will just be a case of the rich getting richer. Personally, I'd rather have people I trust to do what's fair making the decisions.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

To be Fair and Balanced, That is the Question

As you may or may not be aware, your committer representatives are responsible for the allocation of the Friends of Eclipse fund. There's not a lot of money and we'd like to use it in a way that promotes our community. A few people have proposed ideas. Some were accepted and some were not. We'd like to think our decision making process was fair and balanced, but that's been called into question, particularly with regard to a request for release engineering support for ECF. As a group, all the people currently running to be a committer representative agreed that using the community's limited funding to scratch the admittedly nasty itch of one specific project isn't appropriate.

To me, that seems fair and balanced, but apparently some are inclined to see it differently. Simply put, we are doing damage to small projects like ECF by saying no, we have wasted the valuable time they spent asking for money, and we generally don't represent the interests of the community. The list of things we're doing poorly is long and we're clearly bad people. It's ironic to me how often those most skilled at dishing out critique---calling Ekke an ignorant hack being another good example---are the very same ones so easily offended by another's poor choice of words. I need to keep an open mind though, so if others feel we've misjudged in our decisions, please let us know your thoughts.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011


Never put off until tomorrow what you can forget about forever. After all, some problems will just go away on their own if you ignore them long enough, right?

I've been so busy these past months that a great many things have slipped through the cracks. I'm beginning to think there are more cracks than solid ground. Last I blogged I'd just traveled to Zurich for Eclipse Enterprise Modeling Day as well as to Ludwigsburg for Eclipse Summit Europe and I was living in Maple Ridge. Three months later, I'm planning a trip to Zurich for a Modeling Workshop---don't procrastinate, register immediately or miss your opportunity---as well as a trip to Santa Clara for yet another fun-filled, action-packed EclipseCon and I'm living in amazing downtown Vancouver; the Tasktop office just a five minute walk away. What happened to the house plans? A word to the wise: if you think we software engineers have trouble staying on schedule and within budget, the North American construction industry makes our industry look like a well-oiled machine. I'd rather step on a stone fish than try to design and build my own house again; it would a much quicker and far less painful death.

Don't forget, it's election time again for the Committer Representatives of the Eclipse Board of Directors. I thought fierce mudslinging might ensue while I was off gallivanting around the far east, but apparently it's turning out to be another tame campaign. While all the candidates are very good, and obviously very nice, I'm clearly by far the best because I have the prettiest underwater photographs.

Okay, that's not terribly relevant. But I do have a proven track record when it comes to braving shark-infested waters.

That's an essential skill to be sure! If you plan to vote, you have until March 11th to procrastinate.