Contributing and decision-making

I got it from there (it’s the first thing in the “documents” page). But an HTML version would be nice.

I’ll try and make one when I have the time - I think running OCR on the PDF will do the trick.

Yeah, I don’t blame the Inc for the time they take to address these problems.
Being on the board of several NPOs myself, and raising 2 kids, and having a full time job, I have also been very busy from time to time.
As long as things keep moving forward, even at a limited pace, I’m happy.

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That document is only part of the story. The Inc. should also have a set of by-laws which spell out in more detail the rules concerning meetings and directors, etc…

Furthermore, the Inc. is obliged to make reports periodically in relation to state and federal taxes. As a charity, it is hopefully not liable to taxes, but it is necessary to submit the necessary paperwork as and when required so as to maintain that status.

It would be nice if the Inc. would publish the by-laws and these reports so that the community can know how the Inc. is meant to work, and that it is complying with its reporting requirements.

If it isn’t compliant, charitable status could be lost.

It’s not necessary for the Inc. to appoint more people to the Board. There are people here who have volunteered to help, recently with accounting and legal, and a few months ago with marketing. Such people can do things at the Board’s request without being members of the Board.

Hello all,

A lot to respond to. I guess I am the only one from Haiku, Inc able to respond this weekend, which is kind of sad since I spent many, many hours this weekend working on a house project and it is amazing I even had the time to catch up on this thread. That no one else on Haiku, Inc has been able to respond kind of illustrates the point I guess.

Haiku, Inc. doesn’t intend to be “shadowy”. To be honest, there is not a lot of discussion that takes place. In that sense we probably could use some people like Sebrof, jt15s, and xipehuz involved with Haiku, Inc to help keep the rest of us accountable. Though threads like this can help too.

The only people I would consider “active” in Haiku, Inc are Alexander and myself, though lately he has been busy and it is hard to even call myself active. But that gives you an idea of how little input we get from the others. But maybe that is okay, and people are expecting things from Haiku, Inc that it is not intended for.

On that note I do think there is some misunderstanding about Haiku, Inc, though PulkoMandy has really tried to clarify that in this thread. Haiku, Inc really just holds the money, copyright and trademarks for Haiku, and it pays for things. That is pretty much it. Nothing glamorous. We aren’t benevolent dictators for the project, we can’t force the developers to do anything.

Any private discussions we have tend to happen on a private mailing list, or lately just an email with all the board members CCed on it. We have had basically one private discussion in the past few months. We also have the public Haiku, Inc mailing list which people are aware of. That’s it. I don’t like IRC that much anymore so don’t tend to hang out there. I think we could use another place to discuss things like one of the web-based chat systems (I know they can be bloated but they offer nice features.) I will list this as an action item below.

As for the money Haiku, Inc has: I am the treasurer and my habit is to save. We get about $10,000 in donations a year from private donations, and then in addition we get money from Google if we are involved in GSoC or Google Code-In. That has been an extra 10,000 or so for quite a few years. Our yearly expenses are not too bad, as people can see in our reports. Then we have had some people donate Bitcoin, which has increased in value quite a bit. Our only major development expense recently was for Outreachy.

So, as a result, yes, we have accumulated quite a bit of money. But as PulkoMandy points out, the amount is quite awkward: more than enough to pay our standard expenses for something like 30 years, but barely enough to hire one developer for more than a year. Developers are expensive. Now maybe someone passionate about Haiku would be willing to take a bit less pay, but it seems lately not many people have been willing to do that. As for outside developers: I think the consensus among current developers is that there is too much internal knowledge needed and a particular “culture” within Haiku that makes it harder to hire people outside the community. But maybe we are wrong.

With all that said, as I have mentioned one of the Haiku developers reached out to Alexander earlier this year with some terms to take on a contract. It was a big enough ask that it has been hard for us to make a firm commitment but I am trying to resurrect that now.

As for concerns over Haiku, Inc losing its non-profit status, we are tiny and all the IRS requires is a yearly 990-N, which is a really simple online form. I’ve managed to do that for as long as I’ve been involved. We don’t have stock and we don’t have shareholders and we don’t have any governmental requirement to provide reports. I provide them because people want them and of course we want some transparency on where the donations are going. I intend to work with Sebrof to try and give him the information needed for the upcoming 2020 report. I’ll probably still do my own report as well and we can compare them, and having someone accountable to will keep me motivated.

One last thought about marketing: Maybe people think Haiku, Inc should be involved in marketing, but frankly I don’t think that is the case. If someone wants to help with marketing just ask for what you need, whether that is access to a particular platform, some money, or whatever. There is not really a need for Haiku, Inc to be the middleman there. In fact probably the main sort of “marketing” we need now is people just blogging about Haiku or putting stuff into social media.

Here are some actions items from the above discussion:

  1. We need a better way for Haiku, Inc to discuss things, maybe a chat system. This needs private channels as well as public. Or maybe this forum is fine for public updates and we keep email discussions for private communications?
  2. What else do people want to hear from the Inc? I could see about doing quarterly updates here or on the Haiku website, even if it is “nothing has changed”, and maybe that would help?
  3. Sebrof will help me with the 2020 financial report and that means that it should get done faster and will look more professional.
  4. I will try to follow up about the potential developer contract and try to sort that out this month. In fact I will email some of you above about it to bring you in!

Thanks for your reply!

I think this is a good point - probably just a good idea for people to come up with things and do it themselves (and discuss with others on the forums if needed).

I think it might not be a good idea to have another whole new platform, but if there is a need we could always try Discord - it has built-in capability for text, voice and video communications and you can set both public and private channels. Discord can also be extended using bots which can provide a wide array of functionality such as automated moderation.

Yes, this sounds like a great idea! I think it would be better doing a post on the Haiku website (in line with the monthly activity reports) - quarterly is fine if there isn’t much going on. I don’t mind helping out with the updates if you happen to be busy.

Great to hear! :smiley:

I’ll keep my eyes peeled for that, thanks!

One more thing about the marketing: it would be nice to have someone step up and manage the social media channels (don’t know who currently is responsible or has the logins for those). It wouldn’t be a massive job, they would just need to update the channels’ descriptions with up-to-date information, add Haiku-related graphics, maybe apply for verification, and make a couple of posts whenever they see fit (even every month or so is good enough) to update followers on what’s happening around Haiku.

I’ve made a separate post for things that can be done now related to marketing, in case anyone wants to have a say about that:

I don’t agree. And that’s the point of GSoC and Outreachy, to attract new developers. It takes some mentoring effort but I think it works (remember, without GSoC, I possibly wouldn’t be here). Surely it is not as efficient as hiring one of the core devs in this format, especially with GSoC targetting only students. We will see how this goes next year with the relaxed rules for GSoC applications.

I think reaching out to skilled developers outside Haiku could work just fine. However we’d have to find someone who is interested, and this won’t happen by itself. I know a few opensource contributors that would be very happy to work for a few months or so contributing to Haiku, and could work on things where we could do with some help. But I can’t really pitch the idea to them if the inc says they want to keep the funds for already actiuve developers only.

I may be the old grumpy guy here, but I would prefer tools that are 1) opensource and 2) usable from Haiku. That being said, I’m not part of the inc so, do whatever you want.

An example I have is (in French). Every 15 days they publish essentually a list of active topics in their mailing lists (without any details). I think it takes not much effort to do this (at worst, redacting private data from the subject line), and it helps seeing what’s going on.

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That is an interesting discussion worth having too.
I’m also an old fart and would prefer opensource tools.
But I’ve heard Martin Wimpress (from Cannonical) championing the fact that the young crowd of technical savvy users and potential future contributors are overwhelmingly present on modern platforms like Discord or Twitch and that opensource projects should target this audience if they want to attract young and motivated people.
That is a compelling argument coming from a prominent “opensource” figure.


I’d say both points are very valid: as a FOSS project it’s good to opt for tools made by other FOSS projects. However, proprietary platforms, whether you like them or not, are the most popular currently, and are probably where most younger people hang out (I know I do) and hence are the best place to attract new contributors and users - and where we should put our promotional material too (I’m working on getting more Haiku reviews on YouTube, see here topic I’ve linked in my previous post.)

Anyways, back to discussion platforms. There are many open-source projects that attempt to emulate Discord (as well as Slack, which is also quite similar) - Zulip, Element, Jami, Tox, Wire, and Mattermost. These can also be self-hosted which is a good option too.

The developers currently use IRC and I think it’s unlikely you can move them elsewhere.
Some now use a Matrix bridge to connect to the IRC channel. I’m working on an XMPP client for Haiku, also with IRC bridging and will probably switch to using that as my main IRC client soon.

I don’t think we need a full-blown Discord/Slack-like thing currently for the developer team. We have a small team and only very few IRC channels. The main point of Discord, I think, is having phone notifications, backlog when you connect, and things like that, which I very much do NOT want in the way I work with Haiku. This way, I can easily unplug from it when I’m doing something else. Of course that’s my personal view on things, only.

As for attracting new contributors, yes, right, but not at the cost of making the old ones leave in frustration :slight_smile:
So, advertising on Youtube and maybe twitch is fine. But having a Discord channel with an independant community probably isn’t going to work so well for that. I guess IRC to discord bridge could be a thing to try if we want to go that way.

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We’re talking about chat systems for the Inc. (they could do with a place to hold voice and video discussions) - what we have now for the developers shouldn’t need to change (I think you misunderstood me :sweat_smile:)

In terms of attracting new contributors, a whole new Discord community wouldn’t be worth it unless there is enough demand and activity, so I think that’s out of the question.

Thanks for taking the time to write this, Ryan. It’s been helpful and reassuring.

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My major reason of not using IRC is a lack of history. I don’t want to continuously track discussion and when opening I want to be able to look history of discussion to understand what is going on.

Lack of convenient discussion place for developers can be an issue for inviting new developers.

There is very successful new OS project with is own GUI: SerenityOS. They record development process on YouTube.

They have managed to make OS in modern C++ from absolute zero with it’s own kernel, advanced virtual memory system, GUI system, HTML browser in just 2 years. Their main developer is extremely productive.

Yes, I’m aware of the limitations of IRC and in fact I use a bouncer to get some backlog (about one screen of it). But I think reading all the backlog of everything would be unreasonable (at least with the time I can commit to Haiku, I would be doing only that and nothing else).

XMPP does provide about the same (one screen of backlog) for IRC and can provide more for “native” XMPP channels. I’ll see how I go with the client, before I start talking too much about XMPP, however.

Yes, I’ve heard about it. It’s great to see more alternative systems growing. 10 years ago we had Syllable and SkyOS around and it was nice to see other OS trying different things.

Now we have Serenity and Redox (somewhat similar thing but written in Rust).

Sure it helps when you have someone doing 4000 to 5000 commits a year. What will happen of Serenity when/if Andreas moves on to other things? Will it be the same as SkyOS, or will its opensource nature allow it to survive? We’ll see :slight_smile:

So I got curious about this and ran repostat on Serenity:
For comparison here is the one for Haiku:

So, yes, Andreas is responsible for 60% of commits. The second author has less than 5%. This seems to be slowly changing with people getting more involved in 2020.

Haiku is more balanced (the top author has only 16% of commits in the overall count, and about 1/3 in the year-by-year count).

Our total author count per year is lower, but if you look month-by-month, the numbers are about in the same range (12-23 for us, 15-38 for Serenity). I interpret this as, people who join Haiku are less common, but they tend to stay more, and send multiple commits over several months. Whereas Serenity seems to be getting a lot of people who will send a few commits and move on. I guess this is expected at this early time in the project, over time, a core team of contributors will grow.

In terms of total activity, with more than 8000 commits this year, Serenity gets more than we ever had (our max was 5555 in 2009). This does not say much about the quality of said commits, however.

The project is about 10 times smaller than Haiku. It is even smaller than Haiku was when the sourcecode repository was created in 2002. I guess this makes it easier for new people to find their way in it, too?

It will be interesting to see how this evolves in the next few years.


I do not think that it is a good idea to conduct communications exclusively on a proprietary platform.

This is true, however none of them should be the primary place for communication.

How about this:

  • Haiku Matrix homeserver
  • IRC, XMPP, and Discord bridges to Matrix

This way, the basis of communication will be on an open platform while also making it easy for most people to join in discussions.

On a related note, are there any Matrix clients on Haiku?

Would this require asking our admins to run a Matrix server? Because I’m pretty sure they have more important things to do (not to mention the server has a hard time supporting more than a few hundred users, apparently). And from what I’ve seen of the Matrix/IRC integration, Matrix does not seem to be super reliable, either.

For now we’ll have to start with what we have (IRC) and build up from there, anyway.


Not necessarily. There are hosting services available:

If the admins really don’t have the time to fully manage a Matrix homeserver, then these are alternative options.