Thursday, December 20, 2007

The opensource bureaucracy

I always thought that only post-communist countries like mine can be bureaucratic and not capitalist, civilized countries or the meritocratic internet.

But one may be shocked to notice the kind of bureaucracy open source brings. In a normal "distributed" project where you don't have a sugar-daddy to pay for all the project hosting and other expenses, you need to get some free hosting.

This is the first place where you need to get an approval for your hosting, depending on what you do (you can't expect to have any project approved) or what license you use (you get the free hosting if you give your work under their preferred terms).

And the more "free" stuff you need (like build servers, wikis, email lists) the more you have to wait, accept rules and abide by them. But generally, wait and read a lot of strange disclaimers and terms and conditions.

Don't get me started when you get to the licensing part. Do you want your code into some high-profile codebase ? You need to sign the agreement, which needs to be scanned and emailed or even better faxed. Then you need to wait for the acknowledgment that the fax did arrive and someone is going to give you commit access, in a few days.

Basically the more people you involve the more it takes to do anything, especially since you depend on their goodwill. The more "steps" you have to follow, the more agreements you have to approve of, the more time you have to wait.

I'm waiting for a month now for some approval on a high-rated open-source nexus. I'm not being denied, I'm just waiting for someone to finally get to my item in the todo list.

It almost makes renting my own server seem like a good expense.

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