Commerical applications (was: Development and validation (fwd)

proff at proff at
Wed Jan 22 01:09:10 PST 1997

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From: Gary Roberts <gdr at>
Message-Id: <199701220818.SAA11281 at>
Subject: Re: Commerical applications (was: Development and validation
To: jkh at (Jordan K. Hubbard)
Date: Wed, 22 Jan 1997 18:18:42 +1000 (EST)
Cc: hackers at FreeBSD.ORG
In-Reply-To: <1045.853896142 at> from "Jordan K. Hubbard" at Jan 21, 97 05:22:22 pm
Organisation: The University of Queensland
Phone: +617 3844 0400
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Jordan K. Hubbard writes:

> But that doesn't even raise the biggest issue, which is:
> > 	Freddy Kruger (Kruger at has submitted the
> > 	following policy topic for discussion:
> > 
> > 	> FreeBSD should move from a.out to ELF.
> > -------------------------------------------------------------------------
> > 	[ ... various amounts of discussion for 5 days ... ]
> Freddy raises the issue and 10 people vote on it, 7 feeling ELF-ish
> enough that the motion "passes."
> Now what?  We've got this as a supposed piece of "FreeBSD Policy" now
> and users will surely expect it to be implemented or there wouldn't be

Actually, I think you'll find he was proposing a two stage process
where the above example only allows a further vote to be taken as to
whether or not it should become `policy'.  This second stage is where
you spend your vote tokens if you want to stop something passing.

You are really alluding to the possibility of things `passing' due to
apathy of the vast majority.  That could be easily fixed.  I imaging
that people with `vote tokens' have them because they are registered
as `adherents' to the FreeBSD religion.  The Votebot could send each
adherent a re-registration slip, say every three months.  No reply
means you are automatically removed from the adherents list and your
voting rights disappear.  You can easily re-instate yourself at any
time and your previous vote tokens (if any) are then restored.
In this way you trim out people who have lost the religion.

At the first stage of voting, a decision to have a real vote on a
policy change will *only* be made if (a) a significant fraction of
adherents take part in the vote AND (b) there is a majority of `yes'
over `no'.  That way, if there is general apathy, the thing dies.

At the second `real vote' stage, you must then decide whether to
spend your vote tokens.  Once again, things `pass' only if a quorum
is involved and there is a majority of `yes' over `no' votes.
The required quorum could be quite different for the first and
second stages of voting.  For example, the quorum to decide whether
or not to put things to a vote could be set at say 20% which would
not stifle the process but the quorum to actually change policy
could be say 40 - 50% to make sure that a vocal minority couldn't
`roll' the silent majority.

Terry did offer to implement the voting system.  Why not take
him up on his offer with the first question to be decided being:-

Q. Should changes in FreeBSD policy be made by an auto-voting system?

and if you get a `yes' on that then the second could be:-

Q. Does the Emperor have some clothes after all??  :-).

Seriously, it might be useful to have the user community vote on
important policy issues (like a.out versus ELF) knowing that there is
really no binding commitment on volunteers to do anything if it
doesn't suit the volunteers.  I'm sure everyone really does understand
and accept that.  It would also be useful to kill off discussion that
has exceeded its use-by date (like this thread) by putting it to a
vote and then getting on with more useful things.

All the above is, of course, IMHO.

Gary Roberts  (gdr at (Ph +617 3844 0400  Fax +617 3844 0444)
4th Floor, South Bank House, 234 Grey St, South Bank  QLD 4101  Australia.

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