Puppy is a DoOcracy?

There is seeming disorder in the way that the Puppy project is run, for which I sometimes get criticized as a weak leader. However, what those people don't understand is that my strategy is deliberate. Although I am also sometimes viewed as the "benevolent dictator", that does not really fit the model -- I like to see individuals empowered to "run with the ball".

A little while ago Jemimah posted to the Puppy Forum about "DoOcracy", which kind of fits how the Puppy project is run. Forum thread:

A page introducing DoOcracy:

Posted on 2 Feb 2012, 8:58


Posted on 2 Feb 2012, 8:13 by BarryK
The "laissez-faire" management style also fits:


Posted on 2 Feb 2012, 8:46 by BarryK
Where are we headed?
Again and again the question comes up in the Forum about where the Puppy Project is headed, usually there are suggestions about implementing some control group or authority or structure.

Yes, it is good to mull over where Puppy is headed, but probably not to change the "chaotic" model.

As nooby commented, the devs are just doing it for fun:

The DoOcracy is very flexible, and any sub-group or person can create a more organized or directed project, just by doing it. They can also fork from the main Puppy Project if their model does not fit, or I ignore/reject it.

For me personally, I live day by day. I work on Puppy because I find it fun. There is no long-term plan for Puppy, I just follow ideas as they come up. Sometimes, interesting ideas or implementations come up all of a sudden, and might entail a spontaneous change of direction.

Apart from myself having new ideas, others do to, and I want to be spontaneously responsive. 01micko for example, suddenly took on Dpup which became our main official release of Puppy, Slacko. More recently, rodin.s presented me with a huge collection of internationalized scripts, and my response is to immediately put them into Woof, transforming Puppy into a truly international distro (currently a work-in-progress).

I hope these comments from me help to clarify my position whenever this topic comes up in the Forum.

Posted on 2 Feb 2012, 15:51 by cthisbear
Head dog from the land of Red Dog
" I live day by day.
I work on Puppy because I find it fun "

Consistent as always.

Long may king Barry rule.


Posted on 2 Feb 2012, 16:23 by timremy
chain of command
if people do not like how Barry runs puppy linux,

leave and start your own os.

for me, puppy linux is outstanding and where

Barry leads, i will follow.

Posted on 2 Feb 2012, 16:35 by adi
no puppy developer school on puppy forum
I use puppy since version 0.6 when a Romanian franchise of an international it magazine presented (now diapered) the project and the iso in its pages. I cannot work on puppy because i do not have the appropriate knowledge. I would like to find a "puppy school" but i didn't find yet.

Posted on 2 Feb 2012, 18:16 by lobster
Puppy School
Puppy School

Posted on 2 Feb 2012, 18:55 by BarryK
"Emergence" theory is something that applies to Puppy. I originally learned of this from Jemimah, had to send her a pm as I had forgotten the name of it and the link. Here is the Forum post where Jemimah mentioned Emergence:

And direct link:


Groups of human beings, left free to each regulate themselves, tend to produce spontaneous order, rather than the meaningless chaos often feared. This has been observed in society at least since Chuang Tzu in ancient China. A classic traffic roundabout is a good example, with cars moving in and out with such effective organization that some modern cities have begun replacing stoplights at problem intersections with traffic circles [2], and getting better results.

There is also the suggestion that a spontaneous order that can emerge out of disorder, can in fact be "greater than the sum of it's parts" -- which is a very interesting thought. It is known as "Strong Emergence":

Posted on 2 Feb 2012, 20:57 by mavrothal
Hopefully you are right
I'm delighted if my post may have triggered such an extensive and illuminating response.
I wonder if they apply to puppy though. Puppy so far has an owner, a gatekeeper and a lead developer. And from what I read, when you attempted to retire none of the DoOcracy, Laissez-faire or Emergence, worked as expected.
May be this was a good teaching experience for the community though and your next (hopefully late to come) retirement will fall within one the above models.

Posted on 2 Feb 2012, 23:00 by Raffy
I guess the true organization of the Puppy project is "make innovations as fast and as fun" as you can.

You simply can't organize a fast-moving group of devs. Only chaos and emergence models can (hopefully) describe them.

(FYI, am a user who tries to follow all the bits of Puppy development but can't.)

Posted on 2 Feb 2012, 24:14 by jemimah
The existence of chaos doesn't guarantee emergence. If the goal is to help things along, the easiest way is to change the environment.

From the wikipedia emergence article:
Wholes produce unique combined effects, but many of these effects may be co-determined by the context and the interactions between the whole and its environment(s)."

One interesting way to do this is called Gamification.


Something like this would be far more effective for puppy than any committee, or bug tracking system.

The points in such games can be bounties of some sort, or recognition and social status advancement. Many elements of status and recognition already exist automatically, but a lot could be done be done to improve the "fitness function" of the puppy linux community. The idea of a fitness function is from genetic programming.


Posted on 3 Feb 2012, 5:33 by mavothal
it is not clear to me what do you mean by "innovations". De novo puppy apps? New builds? New pets? New development approaches? New core functionality? All of the above? Other?
It is possible that we may have different understanding of "innovations" when it comes to software development. Would you mind listing 3 "innovations" the last couple of years that come to your mind (and are not coming from Barry) so I can understand?
Because I would agree that in a truly innovative and "disruptive" process eg where new concepts and paradigms are developed all these would be appropriate.

Posted on 3 Feb 2012, 8:48 by ttuuxxx
The way I look at puppy is that if you have have the passion and you have the free time, then you have a chance of being one of the leaders, Barry will always be the "benevolent dictator" well because he's always bringing new ideas to the desktop, but like he said "They can also fork from the main Puppy Project if their model does not fit, or I ignore/reject it."
or do like what I did with 2,14X, its nothing like 2.14, or 2.14R which it was based on, really its about the vision you have and how others see it, I tend to help out on some main releases but often the leaders and I don't see eye to eye so I walk away and continue working on 2.14X, I can't say that I ever used any puppy 5 version as my daily main distro, I'm very happy with with 2.14X and for now I'll keep supporting it into the far future. Really like I said its about what you want and hard hard you want it, you can't change the world but you can change your puppy versions :)

Posted on 3 Feb 2012, 9:35 by Puppyite
Your Cover Story
There is no such thing as ďspontaneous orderĒ, in human endeavor involving more than one person, any achievement results from an organized group with a strong leader.

Any ďorganizedĒ group, be it ants or honeybees or lions, has a strong leader and a hierarchy with defined positions (jobs?) for its members.

I donít buy the ďchaos is good theoryĒ either, it reads like a cover story or justification. I wonder if your real agenda is to encourage chaos so no hierarchy can ever arise that you might have to recognize and deal with.

In medieval times, a feudal lord would keep his subjects quarrelling amongst themselves so none would be strong enough to rise up and challenge his position.

As it is now everyone comes on bended knee to ask your blessing and as long as there is no infrastructure thatís how it will stay.

Posted on 3 Feb 2012, 10:07 by scsijon
DoOcracy rules!
And since the time that barry released the ability to model builds into it's users and dev's hands it has grown. Not because of it's build lines, but with the width those users have been able to add and update existing build lines, PLUS the ability to allow barry to follow his lateral lines of thought through to points that are satisfactory to him, before starting another rather than being required to follow the existing build lines.

Posted on 3 Feb 2012, 10:31 by Puppyite
DoOcracy is a Ruse
The bit about DoOcracy as it relates to organization versus chaos is a way of dismissing those who want change.

Posted on 3 Feb 2012, 14:58 by Terryphi
Very old debate
This is a very old debate we had in the the 1970's which spilled out from the feminist movement into the wider radical movement. Remember the "Tyranny of Structurelessness" versus "The Tyranny of Tyranny"? If not, Google it.

Posted on 3 Feb 2012, 18:28 by Jota
Listening to the others is the key
The only thing I regret about BarryK being on the command, is that in the past he does not always "listen" to the others, and so, many ideas and good patches that have been out there have been waisted.
That has lead to duplicate efforts, and bugs that take a too long time to disappear.

Posted on 3 Feb 2012, 21:28 by Puppyite
No Rudder
Puppy Linux is a ship without a rudder being taken towards first one distro and then another. First itís based on T2, then Ubuntu, then Slax, and who knows whatís next. The end result is incompatible packages that only run in certain versions of Puppy, duplicate repositories and duplicated effort for no benefit. Thatís not progress, thatís anarchy.

Posted on 4 Feb 2012, 5:17 by pemasu
anarchy with something to read about and create several things
Murga-Linux forum and also puppylinux.info has a lot to read about. Parallel builds produces feedback and a lot user experience which produces new ideas and nice new small Puppy apps and scripts...they give motivation for developers and coders...
Wasting efforts...hmm....I seem to have quite different idea of wasting...I would call it great way to spend your time and learning along all the time.
I think that Barry`s woof and woof2 and the easy way to remaster is the reason for different builds. I was in belief...that was the purpose. There is Puppy Projects and Derivatives sections for that reason...in Murga-Linux. Active forum arises from parallel work. There is cohesion in this anarchy...I Just Like It

Posted on 4 Feb 2012, 5:58 by upnorth
Good points, pemasu, well said.

Posted on 4 Feb 2012, 7:08 by Puppyite
Users Deserve Better
Users want reliability, comparability and stability, not more needless churn.

Posted on 4 Feb 2012, 7:22 by linuxcbon
Why don't you code it
Moaning will bring nothing because coders do what they want, not what people want.
Code it and be happy with it.

Posted on 4 Feb 2012, 8:09 by GCMartin
Chaos being mis-applied
This environment is and has never been "chaos". It is "ordered" around Barry's direction(s).

What happens from that order is where the movement tends to direct. Thus it is NOT and never was chaos.

The chaos term, as applied herein, is being mis-appropriated.

Freedom of direction after an initial introduction is more aligned in what happens in Puppyland. What I have seen is an idea that usually erupts from a mis-understanding, mis-operation, or mis-functionality has driven this community to respond, in kind, with its innovation. This, in and of itself, is NOT chaos.

The community's order has certain other definitions to its behavior that would be more suitable to the overall behavior of this community.

Innovation, though, is alive within this community. This innovation should not be considered as emerging out of chaos; for it is not.

Hope this helps.

Posted on 4 Feb 2012, 8:49 by technosaurus
write 10 to throw away
Re: gamification - see stackoverflow.com for a great example.

It is always good to have choice and we bring in choices from a wide range of sources. Which is worth more, a pile of garbage mixed with precious metal and gemstones or a nice neat stack of paper? I've seen code that has made me say why, what and wow (sometimes all at the same time).

Puppy Chaos

A superheated vapor
We expand into the universe
Till we lose entropy

Posted on 4 Feb 2012, 11:46 by jemimah
"Innovation, though, is alive within this community. This innovation should not be considered as emerging out of chaos; for it is not."

Your average genius linux hacker dislikes arbitrary authority structures with extreme prejudice.

So is not that chaos causes innovation - it just creates an environment where innovation is not stifled.

Regardless of how the users perceive it, the Puppy community is ideal for new or casual devs who mainly want to have fun, make friends, and learn stuff.

The fun, addictive nature of Puppy, and the open, helpful community is largely thanks to Barry's laissez-faire approach.

It is worth the wait to let the system evolve slowly.

Posted on 4 Feb 2012, 20:00 by 01micko
"Puppy Linux is a ship without a rudder being taken towards first one distro and then another. First itís based on T2, then Ubuntu, then Slax, and who knows whatís next. The end result is incompatible packages that only run in certain versions of Puppy, duplicate repositories and duplicated effort for no benefit. Thatís not progress, thatís anarchy"

No, Puppy is not based on any of the aforementioned. There is a difference between "based on" and "compatible with". Puppy is and always will be based on Puppy and I reckon if we can get official releases of Arch compatible, Debian compatible and Mageia compatible out there then that will be a true landmark in the exploration of what is Linux.

Puppy is the ability to boot and run Linux and a reasonaly featured set of applications in RAM. Nothing less. It's in it's own class. No other distro has the ability to install in so many ways.

Why do people leave Windows? Restriction I say. If you want to be restricted don't use Puppy.

Puppy has never claimed to be "safe for everybody". It is a stated goal of Puppy that it's easy to use. By and large that is true. Have you reinstalled Windows lately?

If anyone wants to change Puppy then dig in, learn, create, offer, accept the Benevolent Dictators verdict. How it is, don't like it leave or if you're game .. fork!

It's free.

Posted on 4 Feb 2012, 21:17 by mavrothal
Re: genius linux hacker
Your average genius linux hacker dislikes arbitrary authority structures with extreme prejudice

I think that this is grossly inaccurate as 95%+ of the Linux/FreeBSD world would indicate. But of course they are not "arbitrary" nor anyone suggested them to be, AFAIK.
Linux communities are not binary. Hacking is free and abundant and when/if "mature" enough, makes it into the "structure". Testing > updates > main.
Many times it does not, but is still there available to use for those interested/knowledgeable (see kernel and aufs as an example), or just forks out into a brand new (structured) distro/app/fork (Ubuntu vs Mint is a recent one).

Having said that, I would also guess that this very same 95%+ probably warrants the need for places like Puppy (as long as BK is around).

Posted on 4 Feb 2012, 21:50 by Puppyite
Dev Way or the Highway
I use Puppy Linux, Iíve spent thousands of hours helping others get started using it, but I donít use Puppy because I think itís perfect, I use it in spite of itís flaws.

For example, there is no upgrade path. If users what to go from one version to another their best bet is to delete what they have and install the new version.

This and the other issues with Puppy I pointed out earlier will likely never be fixed under the current absence of management or organization because Barry Kauler and other devs make Puppy Linux the way they like and could careless about what users want. Puppy Linux is all about the devs and users be damned.

The argument favoring doocracy is a red herring, a way to tell people if they donít like how things are done by puppy devs then donít let the door hit you on the way out.

Posted on 5 Feb 2012, 24:50 by SouthPaws
a thought
Does not chaos come from ego; or rather multiple egos, and ego from pride...?