[zeromq-dev] C++ assertion failed with Java client

Martin Lucina martin at lucina.net
Sat Feb 4 02:43:55 CET 2012

aj.lewis at quantum.com said:
> What you're not taking into account with your "meritocracy" idea is all
> the quiet users of this library that *aren't* contributing patches, but
> rely on the functionality of the library for their work. 

To clarify what I meant by "meritocracy": An Open Source project, with a
benevolent dictator (or gatekeeper), and a community of contributors. The
standard model, as employed by many successful Open Source projects out

When I started contributing to ZeroMQ in late 2009 [1], I did so on the
understanding that this project followed that model, and that the
benevolent dictator was Martin Sustrik.

It turns out those were false premises; and I only realise that now, *two
years later*, after a long conversation with Pieter Hintjens yesterday. 

The crux of many of my arguments with Pieter comes from this single
misunderstanding from two years ago; according to Pieter this was never the
case, and it was only by his good grace that we (Martin and myself) were
"allowed" to maintain ZeroMQ or parts thereof from late 2009 until mid-2011
in my case, and December 2011 in Martin Sustrik's case.

So, to set things straight, as I was told yesterday in no uncertain terms:

1. Pieter Hintjens claims this community as *his* [2]

2. Martin Sustrik has resigned as the benevolent dictator [3]

To borrow John Skaller's term from another thread, Pieter was the
meta-dictator all along, and I didn't realise that. My bad.

> If we're going to tip zmq on it's head because a couple very vocal
> contributors decide they don't like the way things have been working, it
> makes me very concerned about continuing to use this project.

What you are seeing now is Pieter implementing his vision for the
community. Please note that this is not an attack against Pieter -- this is
being done in consultation with the community, but ultimately rests on
Pieter's power as meta-dictator.

> Is this something that I can rely on, or will it turn into an open
> source project that bounces all over the place depending on the whims of
> the contributor of the week?  I want people to contribute - I'm very
> happy that my fixes for various platforms have been accepted without
> issue - but I am concerned that project could be hijacked by someone
> that has a very specific use case for it and doesn't understand the
> history and philosophy of the proejct and what its current users are
> doing with it.

That depends on where the new process leads the community. I have argued
consistently against the more controversial points, with little success --
my rhetoric is not up to meta-dictator standards :-)

If you care about this, the only way [4] to achieve change today is to be
vocal, and to criticise and argue those points of the process which you
care about. Having known Pieter personally for more than 10 years now, and
spent many many hours arguing with him, I wish you luck!

TL;DR: One last point:

In my humble but correct opinion:

Under Martin Sustrik's lead, we had a mediocre community, and a great

Under Pieter Hintjens' lead, we have a great community, but are rapidly
progressing towards a mediocre product.

Welcome to the Brave New World of software-engineering-as-a-wiki!


[1] At the time we published the LWN article with Martin Sustrik: http://lwn.net/Articles/370307/
[2] Stated by Pieter many times on this mailing list, if not in so few
[3] Private e-mail thread between PH, MS and myself, December 2011.
[4] The other option is a fork (in the formal sense, not the Github sense).
This is an option of *last resort*, and is not something to be taken
lightly. However, it does put you on a fair playing ground; build your own
community and process, and ultimately users will follow the leader with
their feet.

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