git repo as decentralized, meritocratic governance backbone

Peter Kaminski

I’m always on the lookout for interesting things people are doing with git. Today’s featured thing is Metaflask. One of the problems with open source infrastructure is that sometimes someone abandons their post. They’re the maintainer for some small part of the overall machinery, and for whatever reason — disinterest, apathy, family emergency, graduation, whatever — they stop taking care of their little part of things. Worse, of course, when you’re abandoning your post, is that you’re not likely to name a successor, or even tell anybody you’re gone. Confusion ensues. (github’s otherwise-awesome “just fork it” philosophy exacerbates this problem; it’s hard to tell whether the root or one of many forks is the bandwagon on which you should jump.) Metaflask is sort of a collective “let’s watch each others’ backs” way of making sure someone is actively at every post. (Flask, the campaign for which the Metaflask collective watches out, happens to be a web microframework for Python.) I can personally attest to the need for this sort of solution in open source.

For example, I’m digging into NodeJS and ExpressJS for a new project I’m working on. Node and Express are really fun technologies, and mostly work great — but there are a collection of helper modules, some of them core, where it’s not clear from any centralized place whether you’re supposed to be using the original version, or a fork of it, or a clone of it, or what. A Metanode or Metaexpress, which centralized an ability to make a decentralized judgement and pronouncement of what’s canonical, would be a big help.

Distributed version control — it’s not just for code. What will do you with it today?

    Peter Kaminski

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    Friendly, helpful web technologist and entrepreneur.

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