Throughout the discussion I kept thinking of Talli's question: What is be the goal of the .LRN consortium and how will membership be defined? A related question, as raised by Ben and Neophytus, is: To whom will the Executive Board be accountable? As I interpret it, their concern is that in opensource communities technologists rule. My governance model turns things on its head by letting non-technologists call the shots. And that's definitely not the opensource way no matter which governance model one looks at: Apache, Mozilla, X.
I think that's fundamentally Ben's concern. His interest is to drive innovation and he is right to raise the objection that this type of model seems to be without precedent.
The short answer is that the .LRN consortium will be established primarily to serve the interests of .LRN users. Technology and Ideology will always be subordinate to that aim. We are not terribly interested in developing an eLearning platform for its own sake. If developers and hackers want to be left alone to hack whatever, then fine. We are not going to and cannot get in their way. I am not afraid of saying it plainly. The consortium will *not* exist to serve the needs of hackers. Nor will it exist to serve companies that decide to sell products and services around .LRN. It's in the interest of the consortium to make sure that .LRN developers and vendors flourish. But that's not its primary mission or charge. From the perspective of actual and potential users (e.g. Heidelberg, Berklee, MIT) .LRN is now a product. By having adopted the platform, it's in our interests to ensure that the product continues to evolve in a way that meets our needs.
Similarly, potential adopters of the platform need to know that the governance mechanisms will allow them to influence platform support and platform direction. We will never be at the mercy of vendors.
To whom will the Executive Board be accountable? Organizations that use .LRN. Think of MIT as a placeholder until we can formally organize the user community.
Why should the developer community play? Why should developers contribute code, participate as gatekeepers, serve as members of TAB? It could be for a variety of reasons. You might find particular projects intrinsically interesting or challenging. Or if you work for a vendor, it might be in the interest of your company to advance the platform. I know Sloan will give preference to vendors that contribute back code and resources to the community. That will be a very important criterion in our bid awards.
Neophytus, for example, might decides dotLRN doesn't interest me. He might think, for example: "I don't give a shit about dotLRN and would rather be a pure hacker." Or he might find the governance mechanism too constraining and oppressive. Fine. The world needs people like Neophytus. But the world also needs dotLRN or something like it based on opensource.
Isn't this contrary to the "opensource" way? There is no single way that opensource communities work. Perhaps this doesn't have a precedent. But dotLRN is also unprecedented. We want this to be the killer app in the eLearning space: a vertical application that will be used by universities, schools, non-profits, *and* corporations. I am convinced that dotLRN will not succeed unless we accept as a first principle that Users Rule.