Puppy Linux Discussion Forum Forum Index Puppy Linux Discussion Forum
Puppy HOME page : puppylinux.com
"THE" alternative forum : puppylinux.info
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

The time now is Fri 28 Nov 2014, 04:38
All times are UTC - 4
 Forum index » Advanced Topics » Puppy Projects
Establishing a formal community
Moderators: Flash, JohnMurga
Post new topic   Reply to topic View previous topic :: View next topic
Page 1 of 8 [108 Posts]   Goto page: 1, 2, 3, ..., 6, 7, 8 Next
Author Message
tombh


Joined: 12 Jan 2007
Posts: 422
Location: Bristol, UK

PostPosted: Mon 06 Oct 2008, 09:53    Post subject:  Establishing a formal community
Subject description: Using an existing model such as that provided by the Cooperative movement
 

Background
Last week I had a meeting with my local Cooperative Development Agency (CDA), I talked to them about the situation that Puppy now finds itself in and they offered some interesting ideas and useful advise.

The Cooperative movement was established some 150 years ago and has become internationally recognised as an

Quote:
autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise


Essentially a Cooperative offers a set of rules and best practices that promote and ensure the fair and effective democratic organisation of groups of people. They provide a set of unalterable Primary Rules and the means for members to create and maintain a set of Secondary Rules. For instance, one of the Primary Rules is that meetings must be pre-arranged on a set date and be advertised to all members. An example of a Secondary Rule is that Puppy Linux, as a policy, will not use proprietary code in any of its releases. Secondary Rules can also be used to organise the community, for instance, what a majority margin should be when voting, eg 75%.

The Benefits
I am very much in favour of Puppy taking this kind of route in the future, I certainly think there are drawbacks but on the whole I think these are significantly outweighed by the benefits. Allow me to briefly outline my thoughts on this:

Firstly, as it is said, 'the whole is greater than the sum of its parts', therefore, that when working together towards a common goal, more can be achieved than by that same number of people undergoing the same amount of effort when heading in different directions. However, in order to have a common goal there must be agreement as to what that goal is, fundamentally this involves communication and compromise.

For me communication is key here, it needs to be sincerely and patiently encouraged to the point that everyone feels they can have their opinions heard in a supportive, unbiased and constructive environment. And quite simply this is achieved by asserting and maintaining clear boundaries and rules. If expressed constructively and in an attitude of mutual exploration all opinions are valid and significant. This is an example of how rules actually nurture creativity rather than suppress it. The more respect there are for these rules the stronger and more effective they will be.

Which is where the use of an existing model comes in. Rather than try and muddle along and make something up from scratch, why not appeal to methods that have been tried and tested by millions of others over hundreds of years. Personally I am in favour of not trying to find a single person to exactly replace the role of Barry Kauler, I just simply think there cannot possibly be such a person. However, that does leave us with the problem of, to whom do we refer absolute authority? So my answer to this would be to the authority of a tried, tested and proven pre-existing model for democratic organisation. We all have our own opinions about how things should be done, but none of us can compare in expereince nor knowledge to the time-earned wisdom of something like the Cooperative model.

I also feel that aligning ourselves to such a universally recognised and respected set of established principles would provide Puppy with a healthy helping of dignity and kudos. It would likely inspire more people to become involved, especially in terms of those rarer specialists, experts and sponsors.

The Nitty Gritty Details
So, back to the CDA, the CDA is a government funded agency to freely provide advice and assistance to Cooperative startups (the link at the top is just to my local one, there's one in every county here in the UK). I met with two advisers, both of whom were welcoming, patient and genuinely interested in what's happening here at Puppy. We covered a lot of ground, primarily exploring the feasibility of international on-line Cooperatives, for which there are few precedents; though it quickly became apparent that there were not actually any serious obstacles.

Limited liability
What did emerge though was the distinction between an incorporation and unincorporated association (yes it was quite new to me too!). Basically this is to do with something called limited liability. As an incorporation Puppy would exist as a 'person' in its own right, so that Puppy, and not any of its members, would be liable (therefore responsible) for any legal responsibilities. For instance, it seems that Barry is willing to retain ownership of the intellectual property of Puppy, therefore the name, logo, etc. However, if this wasn't the case then Puppy, as an incorporated body, could 'own' these things. The advantage of all this is that only Puppy could ever be responsible, in a legal sense, for itself and that none of its members could ever be taken to court or some such.

Unincorporated Associations
That's all pretty serious stuff and in the meeting, it was suggested that unless there are huge amounts of money involved then incorporation is not worth the extra hassle. However, the other option, unincorporated associations, does not protect members from liability. Now, we're getting into pretty hypothetical territory here, I mean what trouble could Puppy and the community seriously expect to get into to? I know it's a big question and one that most of us tinkerers and hobbyist would rather not have to think about! But it's a big world out there and the operating system sector has one of the biggest players in history throwing its greedy weight around. If we're serious about taking Puppy forward then we're caught between a rock and a hard place; we can't make Puppy better and not expect it to become a more prominent feature (and therefore competitor) on the technological map.

But of course we're not there yet! There's absolutely no rush. As we discussed, it is perfectly possible to evolve from an unincorporated association into a limited liability incorporation at some date in the future, if that was deemed necessary by the community -- because then we'll be able to have a proper vote about it!

And if nothing else, what all this very usefully highlights is the rather sober reality that we can't have our cake and eat it. Growth involves change. And of course change involves the possibility of changing something that works into something that doesn't work -- that's an unavoidable fact. Without Barry in his current role something fundamental changes in Puppy, we, as the community, are left to deal with things that we never had to deal with before. And in reflecting on these seemingly serious and un-Puppy issues we get a flavour of some of those things that Barry has, up until now, provided a measure of protection from.

Where to Begin
Which ever way we go, the Cooperative rules will be underlying. One of these rules is that there needs to be at lest two founding members and that they need to formally sign their names to these rules in order to be considered members. The CDA has said they'll provide a copy of these initial rules (some of which can be changed using the Secondary Rules system) for us to consider and discuss. They are very happy to help us out in whatever way they can, even if we decide not to become a Cooperative.

Good Luck Puppy!

_________________
Colour-Memories Database
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website 
Aitch


Joined: 04 Apr 2007
Posts: 6825
Location: Chatham, Kent, UK

PostPosted: Tue 07 Oct 2008, 21:11    Post subject:  

Hi tombh

Interesting to me this, as I was a core member of a Housing Co-op for many years a goodly while ago, and we had ourselves incorporated - mainly because of housing corporation [i.e. mainstream] grant funding & legal ramifications from potential property ownership & rental revenue, with particular banking/insurance/tax etc considerations

So you may be asking what this has to do with us as a community?

Well, the answer is quite simple

Formality & structure, organisation & chaos [or lack of it] and potential expenses

It should be glaringly obvious that, as you rightly point out Barry has protected us from these requirements, & if we are to progress and grow as a community team , and trust me,
teamwork is the key to survival for a project such as this, we will need some form of structure

However, what we probably won't have to do is have meetings..... though online communication [pjsip] is still developing nicely and polls are available in the forum

Just an element of cohesiveness and communication of ideas will be enough initially, since, I believe Barry has said he intends to pick/select/choose a team of developers & trusted individuals to work as a core group, so maybe this should be discussed here, but put to Barry for his views, since, if we have a half sensible discussion, he will have something/some evidence to consider

The big headache is likely to be personality clashes, and/or factioning/divisiveness leading to separate 'camps'
Good clear rule structures help [as with the forum]
Barry's presence may well keep this in check, without being burdensome on his time, energy, pocket, or sanity

So applause, applause - good start

thanks

Aitch Smile
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message 
ttuuxxx


Joined: 05 May 2007
Posts: 10843
Location: Ontario Canada,Sydney Australia

PostPosted: Wed 08 Oct 2008, 02:22    Post subject:  

what not bashing of Tom?? I'm jealous Wink
Sorry I had to get that off my shoulders Smile
anyways I'm up for anything that will start to move puppy forward.
As for Voting goes usually its 50+1% or 51%
because 50 is a tie and you can't spit a vote in half Smile
ttuuxxx

_________________
http://audio.online-convert.com/ <-- excellent site
http://samples.mplayerhq.hu/A-codecs/ <-- Codec Test Files
http://html5games.com/ <-- excellent HTML5 games Smile
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website 
Aitch


Joined: 04 Apr 2007
Posts: 6825
Location: Chatham, Kent, UK

PostPosted: Wed 08 Oct 2008, 07:08    Post subject:  

ttuuxxx

sorry if you felt bashed, not my intention

Quote:
As for Voting goes usually its 50+1% or 51%


There's also either a 'chief exec' or 'chairperson' who exercises 'executive powers' [a la GWB, recently] who has power to unbalance an even or split vote - can be a power trip! [something you have been accused of as I recall, ttuuxxx]

There's a thin line between assertiveness and arrogance, and just south of arrogance is as far as any chief exec should ever be allowed to get, before 'the community' starts issuing a 2nd amendment reminder - 'You can be removed' [with a subtle he he, to leave them wondering, know what I mean? Wink ]

Usually effective Very Happy

Aitch Smile
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message 
raffy

Joined: 25 May 2005
Posts: 4796
Location: Manila

PostPosted: Wed 08 Oct 2008, 09:53    Post subject: a start  

Quote:
tombh: One of these rules is that there needs to be at least two founding members and that they need to formally sign their names to these rules in order to be considered members.

That's a liberal enough rule, and perhaps there is a way to move from unincorporated to incorporated, too? (In Manila, 15 people are needed to start a coop.)

Anyway, there is a good number of Puppy enthusiasts in your country, like Lobster, Hairywill and others, so you might want to start a local discussion.

Incorporating indeed produces a legal entity which can own assets, like copyright and server, while at the same time protect members' exposure through limited liability. If the individual share of capital is affordable, perhaps incorporation is the proper first step. (To those who may be unfamiliar with a coop, it is an economic entity started in Rochdale, England by workers, to engage in activities that benefit its members. They started by distributing consumption goods, which in our case can be likened to software.)

Of course Barry's consent is needed for any plan to take off, and tombh has done some exploring. Good work, tombh.

PS - The coop model can be copied across countries, and they can enter into agreements, so work on this first entity is quite useful.

_________________
Puppy user since Oct 2004. Want FreeOffice? Get the sfs (English only).
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message 
Aitch


Joined: 04 Apr 2007
Posts: 6825
Location: Chatham, Kent, UK

PostPosted: Wed 08 Oct 2008, 10:54    Post subject:  

Quote:
tombh: One of these rules is that there needs to be at least two founding members and that they need to formally sign their names to these rules in order to be considered members.


It takes a bit of skill/caution, here too, as the 'standard' package offered by the CDA includes rules that are 'default examples'

Many people, not knowing any better sign up to those and become bound by them [for one year, at least, its governed by constitution, apparently]
- best is to create a set of 'interim variables for discussion & amendment'; [or become hog-tied]
The same for the 'management'; Interim can be the same in law, as 'Director's pending registration' is in a Company Register

Raffy - What happened to the 'Foundation'?


Aitch Smile
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message 
raffy

Joined: 25 May 2005
Posts: 4796
Location: Manila

PostPosted: Thu 09 Oct 2008, 00:53    Post subject: draft papers  

You can read the history of past preparations here and there.

In mid-2006, a forum member from Perth volunteered to gather a group (that should include Barry) to form a foundation, but at about September 2006, Barry declined his offer. It's been on hold since then. Barry hesitated because of the distracting demands of an organization (from development work on Puppy, that is).

As it stands, the Foundation model has been studied already, and work on it can be resumed anytime.

_________________
Puppy user since Oct 2004. Want FreeOffice? Get the sfs (English only).
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message 
WhoDo


Joined: 11 Jul 2006
Posts: 4441
Location: Lake Macquarie NSW Australia

PostPosted: Thu 09 Oct 2008, 03:21    Post subject: Re: a start  

raffy wrote:
Incorporating indeed produces a legal entity which can own assets, like copyright and server, while at the same time protect members' exposure through limited liability. If the individual share of capital is affordable, perhaps incorporation is the proper first step.

In New South Wales (Australia) such entities are governed by the Associations Incorporation Act 1984. It is administered by the Department of Fair Trading, provides "model rules" that can be altered although any alterations must be agreed by the administering body, gives protection to office bearers and committee members and doesn't require any annual subscription.

The only requirement is a vote by the members to incorporate and a one-time fee for setting up the entity. After that they need annual financial returns and details of changes in office bearers but not much else. They only require a minimum 5 members, and they don't dictate the membership cost; it could be as little as $AUD2.00 if you wished.

I don't know where they stand on overseas membership or online meetings though. That would need to be sorted out. Certainly Barry would need to vest his copyright in the incorporated entity if it was to use that in any way; otherwise Barry could sue the incorporated body for breach of that copyright.

There is no minimum number of meetings either; you might only meet once each year to elect office bearers and committee. The rest of the time the Executive (office bearers plus committee members) acts on behalf of the incorporated body.

Anyone interested in the nitty gritty can follow the above link and get details in spades.

Hope that helps.

_________________
Actions speak louder than words ... and they usually work when words don't!
SIP:whodo@proxy01.sipphone.com; whodo@realsip.com
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message 
Aitch


Joined: 04 Apr 2007
Posts: 6825
Location: Chatham, Kent, UK

PostPosted: Thu 09 Oct 2008, 05:35    Post subject:  

Quote:
Certainly Barry would need to vest his copyright in the incorporated entity if it was to use that in any way; otherwise Barry could sue the incorporated body for breach of that copyright.


I don't think that is quite right, or even necessary, since copyright is also collateral/equity/potential revenue, as well as protection from theft of original works

However, a contractual agreement for 'permission to use', for the body could be given for a nominal [or otherwise, fee] In effect a royalty payment, which is quite standard practice

If, as suggested, Barry signed over the Copyright, he would IMHO lose both respect, and revenue, & I would advise against it, no-one would [need to] follow any guidance he may retain

The reason for asking about the foundation is, many who were involved are, I believe still around, and it may be necessary to have national co-op bodies, with the Foundation being overall Global core
There must be a 'written-in' top level, as a favourite ploy is 'a coup by topping'

Aitch Smile
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message 
tombh


Joined: 12 Jan 2007
Posts: 422
Location: Bristol, UK

PostPosted: Thu 09 Oct 2008, 07:10    Post subject:  

My impression is that we can indeed have various roles, secretary (eg for looking after the signed registration forms), treasurer, etc but that there doesn't need to be any one person that has more power than any other. I know that in the more traditional model of a company there are directors and such like. I personally would prefer that all members had equal power, or at the very most there was a token organiser/coordinator role.

Aitch wrote:
It takes a bit of skill/caution, here too, as the 'standard' package offered by the CDA includes rules that are 'default examples'

Many people, not knowing any better sign up to those and become bound by them [for one year, at least, its governed by constitution, apparently]
- best is to create a set of 'interim variables for discussion & amendment'; [or become hog-tied]


Yes! They (Brian and Hillary at the CDA) talked about that, though I would hope that those that did sign were able to read and understand what they were signing up for. Brian and Hillary said they would provide the set of initial rules for us to look over first, we can change them before anyone even signs up to them.

raffy wrote:
That's a liberal enough rule, and perhaps there is a way to move from unincorporated to incorporated, too?


Yes, very much so, that was what appeared to be the conclusion at the end of the meeting; that we begin as unincorporated, get used to that, then use the new structure to discuss, vote and move into becoming incorporated such as we see fit. Also, two founding members is just a minimum, there can be more founding members and they don't need to all be from the same country. But the registration forms do need to all be kept in one place.

raffy wrote:
Good work, tombh.

Thanks raffy!

WhoDo wrote:
In New South Wales (Australia) such entities are governed by the Associations Incorporation Act 1984.

Brian and Hillary did say it would be worth considering registering as incorporated in another country, though they are only able to give in depth advice on the British systems. Interestingly, to become an unincorporated Coop here is free and to become an incorporated Coop costs 250 pounds and I don't think there are any annual fees on top of that.

Aitch wrote:
If, as suggested, Barry signed over the Copyright, he would IMHO lose both respect, and revenue, & I would advise against it, no-one would [need to] follow any guidance he may retain


Yes Barry is certainly a factor in all this, but I very much get the impression that he would rather not be too involved in some such formal community thing. Of course it would be fantastic if he was a member, but what if our criteria becomes that members must not miss more than three votes? That means that members need to be able to commit to following the details of discussions such that they can make informed votes. Maybe Barry won't have the inclination to keep up to date with all the ins and outs of the community.

My own feeling is that, the whole point of Barry retiring is that he no longer wishes to be solely responsible for deciding the direction of Puppy. So now we find ourselves in a paradox/catch 22 type situation! Barry's not 100% sure of what to do next because we're (ie the 'community') not 100% sure what to do next -- and we're not 100% sure what to do next because Barry's not 100% sure what to do next!! Blimey Smile Though actually I happen to think this is a very good situation to be in, it provides us with a lot of space to consider, discuss and imagine, so that we can be as open to as many possibilities as we can. But this can't carry on forever! Barry can't relinquish the future of Puppy and remain our source of authority.

So certainly Barry could potentially play a significant role in the future of Puppy, but I would say that strictly/legally speaking we don't need Barry's consent in order to relocate Puppy's core decision making processes into the heart of the community. However, it would be tremendously beneficial and indeed courteous to involve Barry.

_________________
Colour-Memories Database
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website 
Aitch


Joined: 04 Apr 2007
Posts: 6825
Location: Chatham, Kent, UK

PostPosted: Thu 09 Oct 2008, 08:04    Post subject:  

Just FYI

The International Co-operative movement is over 100 years old and collectively is responsible for over 1/10th of the global economy Exclamation

We already have an example of a Puppy-related co-operative, in our midst, in the form of the ecomoney & community cybercafe

http://www.ecomoney.co.uk/

A quick co-op intro for those who are curious

http://www.ica.coop/coop/principles.html

Thanks again, tombh, & hope this initiative will be supported

Count me in!

Aitch Smile
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message 
Aitch


Joined: 04 Apr 2007
Posts: 6825
Location: Chatham, Kent, UK

PostPosted: Thu 09 Oct 2008, 08:37    Post subject:  

Towards a Dispute Resolution/Complaints Procedure/Anti-Discrimination Policy [and a better forum Wink ]

After all, IMHO, we already are a 'co-operative community', even with what we now have - worts and all

Step 1

http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=34257

Aitch Smile
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message 
Caneri

Joined: 04 Sep 2007
Posts: 1580
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Thu 09 Oct 2008, 12:01    Post subject:  

Yes..count me in also and sign me up....this could be a good direction for the future growth of the Puppy project.

The puppylinux.ca server project would fit nicely into a co-op with voting for best/fair use policies, use of ads etc. We already have a co-op of sorts now..thanks John,Prit,Tom,MU!

With a defined entity such as a co-op, sponsorship from major contributors/donors (such as http://www.igsobe.com, that holds a mirror for .ca here http://puppylinux.igsobe.com/puppylinux/ and has donated some major hardware to the cause) would be much easier to negotiate and help with the day to day costs that most people do not see.

I hope Barry will chime in on this, as a formal entity is a good first step, and with flexibility, the future is unlimited.

Best,
Eric

_________________
Be not afraid to grow slowly, only be afraid of standing still.
Chinese Proverb

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message 
Pizzasgood


Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 6270
Location: Knoxville, TN, USA

PostPosted: Fri 10 Oct 2008, 19:39    Post subject:  

Coop sounds good to me so far. I grew up on a farm. Many of our local markets and what-not were coops. Gives this a nice agrarian down-to-Earth touch that is appropriate for Puppy.



The biggest thing I wonder about is (this isn't coop specific): what defines a member? Can anybody off the forum join and vote or do the voters need to be "qualified", and if so how do you define qualified?

I think the best route is open membership, but with activity requirements, and with two 'tiers' of votes. A "general" vote for all members about the more general things (theme, some software choices, etc.), and a separate 'core' vote for members of the 'core' groups about the more technical stuff (kernel version, binary compatibility, etc.). I'm not sure how you would prevent people from joining multiple times under multiple persona, without making normal membership tedious.


There would also be generic polls to get the opinion of the community at large, member or not. Polls wouldn't be binding in general, as they're very easy to cheat. Mainly for a rough sense of what the people want.


How does that sound?



I have, of course, ignored the issue of how to you get into the "core" groups. Probably just say, "Hey dudes, can I help?", and if they accept you, you're in as a provisional member (so still no vote yet, but can contribute as directly as the other people without having to go through a middle-man). After a period of time, they hold a basic yea/nea vote on making you a real member based on merit. For impeachment, either have a 3/4 vote within the group, or maybe a 3/4 vote from all the core groups. Or maybe 3/4 of that group with just a 51/100 from the rest of the core groups to "authorize" it. Probably this is best.

_________________
Between depriving a man of one hour from his life and depriving him of his life there exists only a difference of degree. --Muad'Dib

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website 
Lobster
Official Crustacean


Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 15117
Location: Paradox Realm

PostPosted: Sat 11 Oct 2008, 04:46    Post subject:  

Quote:
Coop sounds good to me so far.


The development into a community structure is the second point here
http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?p=238081#238081

The first point is the nature of 4.2 (Deep Thought) - which is our priority
By implementing a cooperative structure in the development of 4.2 we can try the method and develop Puppy.

As the main point of focus and meeting, that more people attend, is the forum, I am experimenting with this 'extended time' meeting.

I am using (I believe) the cooperative formula adapted perhaps for the Internet.
At the moment I am acting chairperson for the meeting and will continue if seconded.
A secretary would be nice as this would involve updating this page or creating a new one. Does anyone have a proposal for secretary?
http://puppylinux.org/wiki/archives/old-wikka-wikki/categorycommunity/puppy-community

What I am trying to suggest is the need (development of Puppy) decides and directs and grows any 'organisation' as required.

_________________
Puppy WIKI
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website 
Display posts from previous:   Sort by:   
Page 1 of 8 [108 Posts]   Goto page: 1, 2, 3, ..., 6, 7, 8 Next
Post new topic   Reply to topic View previous topic :: View next topic
 Forum index » Advanced Topics » Puppy Projects
Jump to:  

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group
[ Time: 0.1470s ][ Queries: 11 (0.0041s) ][ GZIP on ]