Hi, I'm a visitor from OpenRails.org
- an open source volunteer effort that's younger and smaller than blender.
One of the issues we've failed to tackle so far is a formal constitution, so I'm looking for best practice in successful projects like yours.
Who owns blender? How are key decisions taken? Is there a membership?
Is there a constitution for Blender that you could point me to? (Searched but found little.)
Thanks in advance,
I would say, look at several different open-source projects. And note that lots of them work quite well without any kind of formal “constitution”—look at the Linux kernel for example, where you have around a thousand active contributors, with Linus Torvalds and his lieutenants at the top, but with no formal structure to enforce that. People defer to him simply because what he says usually makes sense.
Another project with a similar “Benevolent Dictator For Life” role is Python, where its founder, Guido van Rossum, continues to have the final say, and again people defer to him because of his continuing personal credibility over the years.
In Blender, Ton Roosendaal fulfils the BDFL role. Being a good BDFL involves a fine balance between presiding over ineffectual anarchy and being doctrinaire and controlling like Richard Stallman.
One thing I recommend you do not
do is require contributors to assign their copyrights to the project. Sure, this makes it harder to change the project licensing down the track, but just make sure you choose a good licence to begin with.