View on project leadership and failures....

simo idra at
Thu Aug 31 16:33:26 GMT 2006

On Thu, 2006-08-31 at 09:12 -0700, Jeremy Allison wrote:
> On Thu, Aug 31, 2006 at 12:00:59PM -0400, simo wrote:
> > 
> > This paper has a very strong emotional impact but I think our situation
> > is not so similar to the NetBSD folks, at least we do not have a
> > Foundation that tries to keep the status quo, which is the biggest
> > problem Hannum evidences out in his mail.
> That's true. But we do have people who "own" areas
> who can slow things down, not so much because they
> are deliberately blocking things, but because they
> are overloaded.
> > I think what we miss is not much a strong Leadership but a way to
> > express a clear direction and a way to set clear priorities so that
> > everybody understand what they really are and where it is best to put
> > efforts.
> I disagree with this. I think that people should put efforts into
> areas that they find fun and interesting. That's the only way
> efforts are sustained in the long run. "Paid" people like you
> and me have to do the boring stuff instead :-).

I think I was not clear,
when I say we do not need strong leadership I mean we cannot dictate
what people will do, but agreeing on a direction is another matter it
just tells people: "hey there is where we want to go, if you like to
work on a piece of code please share your goals so that we can
coordinate efforts when code paths cross"

And yes, paid people will have to do the boring stuff, but here again
knowing this paid people goal will let others know what they are going
to address.
I know for example that you and the whole Suse team are working to make
Winbind a great tool (and I see you're going in the right direction :-)
and as I am exposed deeply in the identity Management market I know very
well what Novell needs to do for its market, and so I expect the things
that are still missing will be done

But for an outsider, it is all a black wall, they just see some commits,
but they do  not know if you are serious with a direction or if it is
just a random commit due to some itch to scratch :-)

> > Collaboration need understanding, and I think that we do not attract
> > other developers also because we are not transparent, from the outside
> > you can't tell who is doing what and even if anybody is really doing
> > anything at all. Sure you can follow the development after it is done by
> > tracking the cvs list, but you don't know why it has been done, where we
> > are heading and if something is worth working on, or if we have a need
> > that nobody can actually fulfill in the team.
> No, I disagree with that also. I think it's pretty easy
> to tell what people are working on, it's just that some of
> the things we do are a little hard to pick up on first
> reading of the code.

Ok I agree to disagree :)
And I want to add that I think my description applies much more to
trunk/samba4 development than the current stable releases where Jerry
does a great job with release notes and other mailing on the technical
list (and where we can't really go frenzy on the code anyway, so the
direction is already implicit in the bugs and features we need to

> But talent makes an incredible difference :-). The cached
> credentials fix I recently added was coded up by someone
> who (as far as I know) hadn't coded on Samba at all before.
> Yet he added an aysnc call to winbindd ! Yeah, we need to
> tidy up the way he used ntlm_auth, but we were dropped
> essentailly working code "as is" - that's very rare.
> Of course he was paid to do it :-). I just want to
> learn from the NetBSD experience so someone won't be
> writing such a letter about us anytime soon :-).

Well I tend to think positively, and the commitment I see from many Team
members makes me think we will not die for inactivity any time soon.
I worry more about other "political" aspects that may influence us from
external actors than internal problems.


Simo Sorce
Samba Team GPL Compliance Officer
email: idra at

More information about the samba-technical mailing list