Presented by

  • Watson


    W. Watson has been professionally developing software for 30 years. He has spent numerous years studying game theory and other business expertise in pursuit of the perfect organizational structure for software co-operatives. He also founded the Austin Software Cooperatives meetup group and Vulk Coop as an alternative way to work on software as a group. He has a diverse background that includes service in the Marine Corps as a computer programmer, and software development in numerous industries including defense, medical, education, and insurance. He has spent the last couple of years developing complementary cloud native systems such as the dashboard. He currently works on the Cloud Native Network Function (CNF) Certification and the Cloud Native Network Function (CNF) Test Suite.


There are multiple types of open source governance models that are suitable for larger institutions, organizations, and communities. In the democratically run open source organization, the question of ‘who is entitled to vote’ arises. This problem is known as the ‘boundary problem’ within political philosophy [Whelan,1983]. The principle of affected interests, loosely stated as “Those who are affected by a decision making process, should have input into that decision making process.” is one way to approach this problem. Given the affected interests principle, the short answer to “Who is entitled to vote” within an open source organization is the contributors and users. But as soon as we answer the voting entitlement question, several other questions concerning the boundary problem arise, such as: 1) Should the votes of contributors be weighted based on contribution size?; 2) Should the vote of the user be implicit, i.e., should the user’s vote be based on consumption or the market?; 3) What constitutes a contributor or user?; and 4) Who gets to initially decide the answers to all of these questions? While discussion of whether to even be a democratically run organization is covered elsewhere [Ellerman, 1990], the difficulty associated with answering questions are used as disincentives against democratizing in general and against democratizing open source organizations specifically, so we will address them here.